Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

Labor community requesting their members vote for Paul Kanjorski

10.31.10

NOVEMBER 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Labor community requesting their members vote for Paul Kanjorski

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, October 17th- Incumbent House of Representative Paul Kanjorski (Democrat-11th Legislative District) is being challenged by Hazleton Republican Mayor Lou Barletta and the labor community is making phone calls and visiting union members homes attempting to mobilized them to vote for Mr. Kanjorski on election day, November 2nd.

The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) in Washington, DC endorsed Mr. Kanjorski’s attempt to gain a 14th two-year term representing residents of the 11th Legislative District in Washington. The district includes the three major cities of Northeastern Pennsylvania; Scranton, Wilkes-Barre and Hazleton.

Meanwhile, the AFL-CIO through the policital program designed to educate and mobilize union members are conducting phone banks and labor walks from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union District Council 87 building in Dunmore for Lackawanna County and the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Union Local 542 building in Plains for Luzerne County.

The labor federation is also distributing fliers regarding how Mr. Kanjorski has supported the labor community while serving 26 years in Washington.

According to one flier obtained by the newspaper, the AFL-CIO suggest Mr. Barletta wants to privatize Social Security. “Lou Barletta’s position on Social Security is all over the place. But the truth is, when President Bush proposed privatizing Social Security, Lou Barletta said he supported putting workers’ retirement savings into risky private accounts. Barletta repeatedly denied this is “privatization,” stated the flier.

Mr. Barletta has denied he supports privatizing Social Security. His campaign did not contact the newspaper during the fall campaign regarding his political views with labor issues.

The flier states Mr. Kanjorski opposes any scheme that would privatize Social Security, stating he also is committed to ensuring the cost-of-living adjustments for beneficiaries reflecting the costs that seniors occur. In 2011, Social Security beneficiaries will not receive an cost-of-living-adjustment (COLA) and Mr. Kanjorski supports seniors receiving a $250.00 check from Washington during 2011.

Some labor leaders are concerned that their members enthusiasm to participate in voting on November 2nd is lacking and it could result in a lack of involvement of a constituency group important to the re-election of Mr. Kanjorski.

Mr. Kanjorski visited the AFSCME building on October 14th to greet phone bankers and union members. He thank them for their support and was hopeful of a victory on November 2nd.

Labor involved with mid-term election in Pennsylvania

10.31.10

NOVEMBER 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Labor involved with mid-term election in Pennsylvania

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, October 18th- Since Labor Day the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation has made more than 500,000 member-to-member telephone calls throughout Pennsylvania, including in Northeastern Pennsylvania, requesting their members support “pro-union” political candidates in the midterm elections on November 2nd.

According to the AFL-CIO, union members have knocked on 140,000 fellow member doors; distributed 750,000 pieces of political information at more than 2,000 separate work sites; during the past eight weeks mailed members pro-worker information regarding races in the Pennsylvania Senate race, for Pennsylvania Governor and six targeted United States House of Representatives races; deployed 350 full-time campaign workers released from national unions to work on the Pennsylvania Labor 2010 program; and more than 5,000 volunteers to date have worked phone banks and knocked on doors.

The effort by Democrats to match record fund raising by conservative organizations has come up short, leaving the political party more reliant than usual on the campaign efforts of labor unions.

According to America’s Families First Action Fund, a pro-Democratic political group, the party hoped to raise $10 million to help Democrats on November 2nd get elected in Congress, while Republican groups will spend $50 million to help the GOP in dozens of House races.

The United States Chamber of Commerce, and two other conservative groups could spend more than $300 million on TV advertisements, campaign mailings and other political efforts to elect Republicans in their attempt to regain control of Congress.

Locally, the AFL-CIO is conducting their political program from the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union District Council 87 building in Dunmore and the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Union Local 542 building in Wilkes-Barre.

According to Roxanna Pauline, Field Representative for the Northeastern Area Labor Federation, as of October 15th, labor phone bankers have made 86,937 calls to union member homes and have visited 12,457 member homes throughout Zone 4, which includes Northeastern Pennsylvania.

“We had more than 45 volunteers (on October 16th) on Saturday that knocked on doors throughout Scranton and Wilkes-Barre area,” said Ms. Pauline.

The AFL-CIO is attempting to convince union members to support pro-labor political candidates which is mostly Democratic party nominees. Many political observers have stated it is likely the Republican party will gain the majority in the House of Representatives but is likely Democrats will continue to have the majority in the United States Senate. However, Democratic party nominee Joe Sestak is trailing in most polls to former Republican Representative (15th Legislative District) Pat Toomey. Mr. Sestak is being supported by most of the unions that have made endorsements for the November 2nd election.

According to Bill Herbert, Recording Secretary of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Labor Council labor federation in Wilkes-Barre, American workers have no reason to vote for Republican candidates on November 2nd. “So far we have learned that the trickledown theory is nothing more than a pyramid scheme. After thirty years of giving tax breaks to the top 1 percent they have not created good paying jobs. Today CEO’s make 263 dollars for every dollar the average worker makes,” stated Mr. Herbert.

Because of lack of benefits, restaurant workers serve sick

10.31.10

NOVEMBER 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Because of lack of benefits, restaurant workers serve sick

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, October 15th- According to a study released by the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United ROC United, a national organization with more than 6,000 members which includes seven restaurant worker groups across the country that is dedicated to improving conditions for industry workers, the majority of restaurant workers serve while sick.

The ROC United revealed their findings on October 1st, and indicated the high rates of injury and illness puts the workers and consumers at risk and was caused because of a lack of health insurance and paid sick days within the industry. The jobs sector is mostly nonunion.

The study was based on 4,323 surveys of restaurant workers in cities nationwide, including New York, Chicago, Detroit, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, and Miami.

The organization findings include that restaurant workers largely lack paid sick days and health insurance to cope with high rates of injury and illness.

Highlights from the study include:

• Nearly 90 percent of workers said they did not receive paid sick days. As a result, two-thirds of respondents said they had worked while sick in the previous year, preparing, cooking and serving food.

• Around 90 percent of people reported not having insurance through their employers, and 61 percent reported not having health insurance at all.

Almost one quarter (22.7 percent) reported that they or a family member had gone to the emergency room without being able to pay last year.

• Health and safety violations reported by restaurant workers include: fire hazards; missing mats on the floor to prevent slipping; and missing guards on cutting machines. Fourty-six percent of respondents have been burned on the job and 49 percent reported being cut on the job.

With more than 10 million workers, the restaurant industry is one of the largest and fastest growing sectors of the economy.

“Restaurants should offer workers safer places to work, and workers should have access to benefits including health insurance, paid sick days and workers’ compensation insurance. Without these improvements, the industry will continue to put both workers and consumers at risk,” stated ROC United Director Saru Jayaraman.

Tastykake Bakery workers vote to become union members

10.31.10

NOVEMBER 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Tastykake Bakery workers vote to become union members

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, October 12th- Tastykake Bakery workers voted on August 11th to be represented by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTWGM) International Union Local 492 in Philadelphia and contract negotiations are underway for a first-time labor agreement between the parties.

Tastykake Bakery was founded in 1914 and last year had gross sales of more than $280 million.

According to Attorney Mike Kopac, legal counsel of Local 492, while the maintenance employees are represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union Local 98 in Philadelphia, and despite numerous organizing drives, the company has always made their product with nonunion workers. The drivers of Tastykake are represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 115.

The Tastykake Bakery is located in the Philadelphia Yard in South Philadelphia and has around 240 employees. The company employs approximately 870 workers overall.

Local 492 President John Lazar stated the organizing drive was sparked by a move to a new plant that aroused concerns about seniority and employment security among the workers. Workers had received an “employee handbook” that said that they were employees at-will.

The workers voted 149 for to 72 against to be represented by the union for the purpose of collective bargaining in the election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia.

Under NLRB rules, fifty percent plus one of the eligible workers to participate must cast a ballot in favor of unionization before the labor organization can represent the workers.

Mr. Lazar told the newspaper the Union held a meeting on September 19th to discuss bargaining proposals and elected shop stewards.

One of the issues important to the Union is placing the union label on company products, which includes cupkakes and other bakery goods.

“Considering that you loose more than you win, the improtant thing is to keep plugging along, and eventually the high fives will come. It is a fantastic feeling,” Mr. Lazar stated regarding union organizing in general.

Complaint filed against Lackawanna County nursing home

10.31.10

NOVEMBER 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Complaint filed against Lackawanna County nursing home

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, October 14th- The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Healthcare Pennsylvania, North Second Street in Harrisburg, has filed multiple labor complaints with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four in Philadelphia that alleges an employer in Lackawanna County violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

On September 23rd, 2010, the Union filed a Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge against Lackawanna Healthcare Center, Sturges Road in Olyphant Borough, alleging the Employer violated Section 8 (a)(5) of the NLRAct.

Lackawanna Healthcare Center is a nursing home and is owned and operated by Millenium Management LLC of Miami, Florida.

The nursing home was owned and operated by Lackawanna County until March 2010 when the facility was sold to Millenium Management for $13.4 million. The funds from the sale is being used to fill a budget hole in Lackawanna County for 2010.

The 272 bed facility was sold by Lackawanna County after bids were accepted to purchase the nursing home. Since the purchase of the facility by Millenium there has been several ULP’s filed by the SEIU regarding the nursing home.

On March 9th, 2010, the Union filed a complaint against the Employer alleging they have failed and refused to bargain collectively in regardss to hours of employment and other conditions of employment.

The ULP stated the Employer has refused to talk to the Union, process grievances or meet with the Union to discuss changes in employees working conditions. Such as changing member’s job, changing the medical plan, assigning union jobs to managers (erosion of the bargaining unit), failure to provide information requested in the attempt to investigate a possible grievance and change direct deposit procedure without discussing with the Union.

Before Millenium took over the operation of the nursing home, company officials stated they would honor the “terms and conditions” of the bargaining agreement signed by the SEIU and Lackawanna County. However, according to the Union, company officials have made unilateral changes to the bargaining agreement without meeting with them. Under the NLRAct, an employer must negotiate with a union before making changes regarding working conditions.

According to the March 9th complaint, the SEIU represented approximately 295 workers at the facility, But, according to the ULP filed on September 23rd, the Union now represents around 247 workers at the nursing home.

The September 23rd complaint was filed against Lackawanna County, 200 Adams Avenue in Scranton.

“Since on or about July 27th, 2010, and at all times thereafter, the above-named employer, by its officers, agents, and representatives, refusing to process grievances and arbitrations. Failed and refused to bargain collectively and in good faith with SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, a labor organization, designated or selected by a majority of the employees of said employer in an appropriate unit for the purpose of collective bargaining in respect to rates of pay, wages, hours of employment and other conditions of employment,” states the ULP.

The Unfair Labor Practice charge was filed on behalf of the Union by Carlos Rivera, indentified on the complaint as Organizer of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania.

SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania Union for many years was called SEIU 1199P and changed the name several years ago.

The Employer Representative named to be contacted on the ULP is Nancy Pearson, indentified as Lackawanna County, Deputy Director of Human Resources.

FORMER DELAWARE UNION PRESIDENT SEEKS MARYLAND JUDGESHIP

10.29.10

Press Release: FORMER DELAWARE UNION PRESIDENT SEEKS MARYLAND JUDGESHIP

For more information contact: Herbert Welch 410-920-4011

A former union President at the General Motors Boxwood plant near Wilmington and child advocate with deep ties to Delaware is seeking a Judgeship position in nearby Cecil County. Herbert “Herb” W. Welch is running for Cecil County Judge of the Orphans’ Court. He served in this position 32 years ago.

Welch served as President of UAW Local 435 in the 1970’s. At the time, he was the youngest union local president ever elected. He had only been working in the factory for 7 years when elected.

Since retiring, Welch has been very active in his community. Among the groups he has been very active with are the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Moose Lodge 851 and the Cecil County Democratic Party. He has served as manager of the Kiwanis Little League team. Recently, Welch was elected to the Cecil County Democratic Central Committee.

Welch is a well known as an advocate in Annapolis for children’s rights. One of the main themes in his campaign has been to “eliminate inheritance taxes for children.”

Welch stated, “I will use my position to lobby in Annapolis to change inheritance tax laws. The State of Maryland needs to help preserve the inheritance of children in order to take care of their material and educational needs.”

Legislation passed to combat fly-by-night contractors

10.28.10

NOVEMBER 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Legislation passed to combat fly-by-night contractors

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, October 13th- Legislation was signed into law by Pennsylvania Democratic Governor Edward Rendell that was praised by members of the Building and Construction Trades Unions. The law will enable the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, as well as county district attorneys and the State Attorney General, to crack down on construction firms that classify their employees as “Independent contractors,” thereby avoiding responsibility to pay Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation and Workers Compensation taxes.

House Bill No. 400 was amended by the Pennsylvania Senate on September 21st, and was signed by Mr. Rendell on October 13th.

Under the legislation, no employer shall require or demand that an individual enter into an agreement or sign a document which results in the improper classification of that individual as an independent contractor.

A violation shall be punishable by an administrative fine of not less than $1,000 and not more than $2,500. Each violation shall be considered a separate offense under the law.

“It shall be unlawful for an employer, or an officer or agent of an employer, to discriminate in any manner or take adverse action against any person in retaliation for exercising rights protected under this act. Rights protected under this act include, but are not limited to, the right to file a complaint or inform any person about an employer’s noncompliance with this act,” states the legislation.

Twenty other states, including Delaware, New York, New Jersey and Maryland, have passed similar laws in the past eighteen months.

“For too long, the state was powerless to act against these fly-by-night firms that skirted Pennsylvania law to the detriment of everyone else. With the governor’s signature on House Bill 400, honest firms will no longer be outbid and undercut simply because they obey the law and pay their taxes,” stated Jack Brooks, Secretary-Treasurer of the Pennsylvania State Council of Carpenters.

Teamsters Local 401 members unanimously supported Duryea contract

10.28.10

NOVEMBER 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Teamsters Local 401 members unanimously supported Duryea contract
BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, October 12th- Members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 401 in Wilkes-Barre ratified a first-time labor agreement with Duryea Borough.

According to James Murphy, President and Business Representative of Local 401, and lead negotiator for the Union, the contract has been approved by both his members and the Duryea Borough Council.

On September 11th, 2009, Local 401, South Washington Street in Wilkes-Barre, filed a petition with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB), requesting the agency conduct an election to determine if Duryea Department of Public Works employees wanted to be represented by Local 401 for the purpose of collective bargaining.

On January 9th, 2010, the parties filed a Joint Request for Certification with the PLRB. The Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board did not receive an objection to the Request for Certification therefore Teamsters Local 401 became the bargaining representative of the employees.

Mr. Murphy told the newspaper the the union represents five full-time and regular part-time blue collar nonprofessional employees of the Department of Public Works of Duryea.

“The finishing language was done over the phone with the Borough’s labor attorney,” said Mr. Murphy. The Borough of Duryea labor negotiator is Scranton labor attorney Robert Ufberg.

“The guys wanted protection and their working conditions in writing. We were able to get contract language in the contract that protects them and gets them raises every year of the agreement,” added Mr. Murphy. The contract will not expire until 2014.

The two parties met for the first negotiating session on March 2nd, 2010.

NLRB finds merit in nurses union complaint, more filed

10.27.10

OCTOBER 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

NLRB finds merit in nurses union complaint, more filed

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, September 27th- The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia found merit in a labor Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge filed by the union that represents nurses at the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital in Wilkes-Barre and issued a complaint against the operators of the medical facility.

The Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Professionals (PASNAP) Union of Conshohocken Pennsylvania, represents approximately 440 nurses employed at the medical center. The Union also represents nurses employed at the Community Medical Center (CMC) on Mulberry Street in Scranton.

PASNAP and Community Health Systems (CHS) Inc., which operates the medical center, have been negotiating for more than sixteen months attempting to gain a successor contract agreement. The previous pact expired on August 30th, 2009. The two sides agreed to work under the terms and conditions of the previous contract while negotiations continue for a new pact but the employer has changed several conditions of work including forcing union officials to collect monthly union dues rather than having them collected through employees pay-checks.

The Tennessee based CHS Inc. is the largest owner of for-profit hospitals in the United States.

The Union filed multiple labor complaints with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four in Philadelphia in the spring however the Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges were dismissed by the agency ruling the complaints lacked merit.

The union filed a ULP charge on March 11, 2010 alleging CHS Inc. was negotiating in bad faith and violated the NLRAct. On May 14th, the union filed another ULP charge alleging the Employer has withdrawn its agreement to specific bargaining proposals and has done so because of ULP’s filed by the Union.

On July 15th, 2010 the Union filed another ULP alleging the Employer violated the NLRAct.

The NLRB found merit in the July 15th ULP and has scheduled an hearing on the matter for November 8th.

On September 2nd, the Union filed another ULP with the NLRB alleging the Employer violated the NLRAct.

PASNAP alleges in the ULP that the Employer, “by its officers, agent and representatives has initiated meritless litigation designed to harass or otherwise interfere with the Union’s ability to represent its members.”

Almost two-thirds of workers doubt they’ll be able to retire

10.27.10

OCTOBER 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Almost two-thirds of workers doubt they’ll be able to retire

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, September 13th- According to a recently released public opinion poll, most American workers are satisfied with their jobs, but nearly two in three have strong doubts about being able to eventually stop working and retire.

The poll was conducted and released by StrategyOne, which operates offices in Atlanta, Chicago, London, New York, Paris, San Mateo, and Washington, DC. According to StrategyOne, the company employs custom public research and secondary research methodologies to provide strategic counsel to corporate, organizational and governmental clients globally.

The survey of 1,043 American workers included 613 who work either full-time or part-time.

The vast majority of 613 employed Americans who were surveyed describe themselves as satisfied with their jobs (82 percent) and report they get satisfaction from their work (80 percent). About three out of four (72 percent) also said they enjoy where they work and look forward to coming to work every day.

The poll suggest that an equally high percentages of workers said they feel respected by their bosses (83 percent) and feel their boss respects their work (82 percent). Co-workers also got high marks, with three out of four American (74 percent) saying their colleagues are among the best things about where they work.

However, the survey shows workers don’t have a rosy picture regarding the unsettled economy.

Nearly two in three (64 percent) believe that realistically they won’t ever be able to stop working and retire, and the uncertainty of the long-term picture may help explain the divide among American workers over whether they believe they labor at a job (52 percent) or in a long-term career (48 percent).

The economic downturn has produced a situation where almost half (46 percent) of workers have had their wages or salaries reduced over the past couple of years and a similar segment are concerned about losing their jobs (44 percent) or having their hours cut back (48 percent).

About four in ten workers (37 percent) describe themselves as underemployed and say they are not working as many hours as they would like because there is not enough work available at their current jobs. Meanwhile, a similar percentage of workers (40 percent) say that their bosses expect them to work extra hours without raises or additional compensation.

“While employed Americans on the whole enjoy their work and get satisfaction from it, there is a real sense that the retirement light at the end of the tunnel may not be there for them,” said Bradley Honan, Senior Vice-President of StrategyOne.

The survey also found that a great number of workers are disconnected from the mission of their company. One-third of American workers (35 percent) report not caring much about their company and say they are mainly there to get a paycheck, and 38 percent report not knowing what the main mission of their organization is, other than making money. More than half (58 percent) say they would be interested in leaving their job if they could get the same compensation elsewhere.

“With extensive market competition in every industry, it’s imperative that companies engage their entire workforce in their mission to achieve their business goals and objectives. Employees must see their jobs as more than just collecting a paycheck, and it’s up to their employers to make sure that’s the case,” Mr. Honan added.

Former NLRB member complaining about current Board

10.27.10

OCTOBER 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Former NLRB member complaining about current Board
BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, September 20th- Former Chairman and Board Member of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Washington, DC, Peter Schaumber, predicted that if given the opportunity, many of the NLRB significant Bush Board rulings are likely to be reversed under President Barack Obama’s administration. Mr. Schaumber, appointed by President George W. Bush, told corporate in-house counsel of the potentially dramatic changes to American labor law during his Keynote Address at the National Labor Law Symposium in Chicago, Illinous on September 16th.

Mr. Schaumber specifically pointed to the NLRB’s most recent decision in Independence Residences, which have effect to a pre-empted state statute to restrict an employer’s anti-union activities and Eliason, which reversed of Board law and opened the door to increased union secondary boycott activity.

In in statement sent to the newspaper by the labor lawfirm of Fisher & Phillips, which resents employers nationally in labor, employment, civil rights, employee benefits and immigration and has more than 225 attorneys in 23 offices across the nation, Mr. Schaumber stated; “The Board is taking startingly aggressive positions aimed at augmenting union power in an effort to make unionizing easier. The new majority appears prepared to take American labor law into uncharted waters.” Mr. Schaumber term on the five-member Board ended in August.

During a panel discussion following the presentation, Charles Caulkins, Managing Parnter of the Ft. Lauderdale office of Fisher & Phillips, said; “The loud and clear message that we got from Mr. Schaumber is that significant changes are coming that will handcuff employers. It’s important that we have methodologies in place that will enable employers to effectively operate in a rough field.”

Mr. Schaumber lamented the politicization of the NLRB that has resulted from the change in the appointment process away from selecting a Board of “impartial government employees” as originally contemplated by Congress. That remark was in reference to President Obama’s recess appointment of former union attorney Craig Becker to the NLRB, which the Republicans successfully blocked from getting a full-term on the Board earlier in 2010.

AFSCME member files complaint against medical center

10.27.10

OCTOBER 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

AFSCME member files complaint against medical center

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, September 12th- A member of the union that represents workers employed at Hazleton General Hosptial on East Broad Street in Hazleton filed a labor complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia alleging the employer violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union District Council 87 represents workers at the medical center.

Ms. Linda Labert, of Tresckow, Pennsylvania, a Hazleton Hospital employee and a member of AFSCME, filed a Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge against her employer on September 3rd, 2010 alleging they violated Section 8 (a), subsections (1) and (3) of the NLRAct.

According to Kerry Gallagher, Business Representative of AFSCME District Council 87, which represents AFSCME Union members throughout nine counties of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Ms. Labert filed the complaint on behalf of herself without the knowledge the union. “I’m aware of the complaint now, but I didn’t have any knowledge of it until the Employer sent me a copy,” stated Ms. Gallagher.

“On or about May 11th, 2010, the Employer suspended its employee Linda Labert because she had previously refused to act as a witness for the Employer in an arbitration concerning the discharge of another employee; and the Employer by its agent Liz Perrong told Linda Labert not to contact anyone from the Union (AFSCME) or any other worker concerning the suspension,” states the ULP.

Ms. Labert believes the Employer has interfered with, restrained, and coerced her in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in Section 7 of the NLRAct.

The employer representative named on the ULP to be contacted is Liz Perrong, indentified as the Vice President and Human Resources of the Hazleton Hospital.

The newspaper discovered the Unfair Labor Practice while reviewing complaints and petitions filed at the NLRB office. The Union News newspaper is the only member of the local media that reviews and publishes the information.

Representative Pashinski announces funds for area revitalization projects

10.27.10

OCTOBER 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Representative Pashinski announces funds for area revitalization projects

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, September 18th- Union member and Pennsylvania House of Representative Eddie Day Pashinski (Democrat-121st Legislative District) announced on September 16th nearly $2.5 million in state grants have been approved for four district revitalization projects in Luzerne County through the state’s Commonwealth Financing Authority.

“The projects will help to promote economic development in the region. I am pleased to secure funding for these major redevelopment projects,” Mr. Pashinski said.

Mr. Pashinski stated the four projects are as follows:

• $1 million for the East Side Landfill Development to construct a parking lot on top of a landfill across from the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Casino;
• $500,000 for expansion of the Innovation center at Wilkes-Barre. The expansion would create an additional 225 jobs and invest $3.6 million at the downtown Wilkes-Barre corporate office;
• $680,000 for restoration of the former First National Bank building in Wilkes-Barre; and
• $290,000 for renovation of the Hotel Sterling building in downtown Wilkes-Barre.

The Commonwealth Financing Authority is an independent agency that evaluates and adminsters funding for projects that create jobs and invest in the state’s financial growth.

Mr. Pashinski is a retired member of the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) Union and a member of the American Federation of Musicians Union (AFMU) Local 140.

Teamsters near in gaining first-time contract in Duryea

10.27.10

OCTOBER 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Teamsters near in gaining first-time contract in Duryea

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, September 20th- According to James Murphy, President and Business Representative of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 401, the union is close in gaining a tentative agreement for a first-time labor contract with the Borough of Duryea in Luzerne County.

On September 11th, 2009, Local 401, South Washington Street, in Wilkes-Barre, filed a petition with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) in Harrisburg, requesting the agency conduct an election to determine if Duryea workers wanted to be represented by Local 401 for the purpose of collective bargaining.

On January 29th, 2010, the parties filed a Joint Request for Certification with the PLRB. The PLRB did not receive no objections to the Joint Request for Certification therefore the IBT Local 401 became the bargaining representative of the employees.

According to Mr. Murphy, the union represents all full-time and regular part-time blue collar nonprofessional employees which includes the Department of Public Works employees.

Patrick Connors, Secretary/Treasurer and Principal Officer of Local 401, told the newspaper the two parties met for the first negotiating meeting for a first time contract on March 2nd, 2010.

Mr. Murphy said progress for a contract agreement has been slow but the two sides are close in reaching an tentative contract.

“Hopefully one or two more meetings we will have an agreement. Then the membership will need to approve it,” stated Mr. Murphy.

The two sides have agreed on most major contract issues like wages and healthcare. “There is a few contract lauguage issues to be resolved,” added Mr. Murphy.

The Borough of Duryea labor negotiator is Scranton labor attorney Robert Ufberg.

Local 401 represents several units of municipal workers in Luzerne County including the City of Wilkes-Barre.

Rick Bloomingdale, Awards Presented at Philadelphia AFL-CIO Council Meeting

10.23.10

October 14, 2010

Rick Bloomingdale, Awards Presented at Philadelphia AFL-CIO Council Meeting

by John O. Mason

Pennsylvania AFL-CIO President Rick Bloomingdale addressed the monthly delegates’ meeting of the Philadelphia Council AFL-CIO, held in Salon 10 on the Sheridan Hotel, 17th and Race streets, on Wednesday, October 13, 2010.

Also at this meeting, awards were presented for participants in the Philadelphia Labor Day parade, held on September 6, as well as certificates for trade union activists who took courses in the Comey Institute, a labor –education program held at Saint Joseph’s University.

Bloomingdale spoke to the delegates, commending the work of his predecessor William George, and, saying of himself and the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO’s new Secretary-Treasurer Frank Snyder, “We want to build on that. Too often, we’ve seen Labor being attacked and attacked, and we know that there are two ways to get into the middle class in this country, joining a union, and there’s education, and a lot of the time, both work hand in hand.”

Bloomingdale spoke of the need for workers to attain political power, “which helps us get things done” Union density has declined over the years, he warned, “ and as a result, we’ve seen our political power decline.” In spite of getting labor-friendly congress members elected, “we could not get labor law reform passed, we could not get the Employee Free Choice Act (passed), because (congress-people) from states that don’t have strong unions went (against) us.” That means, Bloomingdale added, “that in states where we do have strong unions, those politicians continue to support us, and as we grow our density, hopefully that will go out in other parts in the country.” Bloomingdale urged that the labor movement continue to work for its allies and against its enemies in Congress.

Comey Students Who Received Certificates for Spring 2010 Classes Graduation

Certificate for completing 16 classes (to complete the course)
Sean P. McLaughlin

Costing Out a Labor Contract
Patricia Abraham
Daniel Duffy
Jether Freeman
Linda Gibson
Gerald Hunley
Joseph Lilly
James S. Matthews
Beverly Orange
Joseph Rispo

Grievance & Arbitration
Patricia Abraham
John W. Brown
Kay Buffamonte
Mary Foxworth
Thomas A. Gallagher
Gerald Hunley
Michelle Jamison
Heather Lane
Charmaine E. Lutz
Charles Moore
Joseph Rispo
Margaret Snead
Jim Whitehead

Legends of Labor
Patricia Abraham
Steve Chervenka
Mary Foxworth
Jether Freeman
Thomas A. Gallagher
Joseph Jacoby JR.
Joseph Lilly
James S. Matthews
Sean P. McLaughlin
Charles Moore
Joseph Rispo
Jim Whitehead

Public Speaking
Andre Butler
Matthew Fink
Mary Foxworth
Allen Hasara
Ann Kirkpatrick
James S. Matthews
Charles Moore
Nadina Patterson
Jim Whitehead

Representations of Labor in Popular Fiction & Film
Matthew Fink
Mary Foxworth
Jether Freeman
Joseph Lilly
James S. Matthews
Sean P. McLaughlin
Charles Moore
Nadina Patterson
Joseph Rispo
Jim Whitehead

Survey of Labor Law
Patricia Abraham
Andre Butler
Vanessa Fields
Jether Freeman
Ann Kirkpatrick
Joseph Rispo
Steven H. VanDuyne


Winning for our Members and Building Union Power: The Art & Science of Contract Campaigns

Michelle Jamison
Joseph Lilly
Charmaine E. Lutz
Sean P. McLaughlin

Workers’ Compensation
John E. Johnson
Sean P. McLaughlin
Angela K. Miller
Charles Moore
Joseph Rispo

Computer Applications for Trade Unionists
Joseph Jacoby Jr.
Sean P. McLaughlin
Celestine R. Stanford

Our Worse Fears Confirmed: Reports by Social Security Actuary, Others, Show Republican Congress Would Mean Social Security Benefits Slashed in Half

10.21.10

www.americansunitedforchange.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Lauren Weiner, 202-470-5870
October 21, 2010

Our Worse Fears Confirmed: Reports by Social Security Actuary, Others, Show Republican Congress Would Mean Social Security Benefits Slashed in Half

· Social Security Actuary: Republican Proposals Claiming to “Save” Social Security Result in Deep Cuts in Retirement Income for Middle Class Seniors

· CBPP: Ryan Plan Makes Deep Cuts in Social Security

· Joint Economic Committee: Perils of Privatizing Social Security

Washington, DC – A trio of reports detailing the actual cuts Social Security would incur with Republicans in power should put all Americans on edge. Americans United for Change, the group formerly known as Americans United to Protect Social Security and led the national campaign to defeat President Bush’s attempt to privatize Social Security in 2005, blasted plans from Republicans to try this risky scheme again, which these reports show would lead to a 50% percent cut in benefits, eliminating retirement security for future generations.

Tom McMahon, Executive Director, Americans United for Change: “These studies confirm our worse fears about what Republicans, with Paul Ryan at the helm of the budget committee, would do to our guaranteed retirement benefits – slash and burn. For the millions of seniors that have been lifted out of poverty by Social Security, putting Republicans in power would mean that future generations no longer have that protection. Subjecting our retirement to the whims of Wall Street was an awful idea years ago, and we now have more evidence about just how bad it would be this time around. This is not how we treat our seniors in this country and for Republicans to even think of proposing privatizing show just how out of touch they are with middle-class Americans.”

What If Bush Had Succeeded in Privatizing Social Security?

DPC: “Someone who invested in a recommended 401(k) account indexed to the S&P 500 the day before President Bush was sworn into office in 2001 would have lost money if they withdrew those funds when President Bush left office in 2009: When adjusted for inflation, the S&P 500 had actually declined by 47.73 percent between January 19, 2001 and January 16, 2009. A $1000 investment would have been worth only $522.72.” [CPI Inflation Calculator,S&P 500 Historical Prices]

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Lauren Weiner

Deputy Communications Director

Americans United for Change

Stadium construction would create hundreds of union jobs

10.21.10

OCTOBER 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Stadium construction would create hundreds of union jobs

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, September 24th- Corey O’Brien, Democratic Lackawanna County Majority Commission, told the newspaper if a new stadium is built to house the New York Yankees Triple A affiliate baseball team, it would help put local unionized building and construction trade workers to work. “This project would create hundreds of jobs for union construction workers from our area,” said Mr. O’Brien.

The issue of building a new stadium has been discussed and New York Yankees officials recently attended a press conference in which they indicated they would purchase the franchise from Lackawanna County.

Under an agreement negotiated by former Republican Lackawanna County Commissioner Robert Cordaro, the New York Yankees could have purchased the franchise from Lackawanna County for $13 million through October 1st. However, they did not exercise the option.

Pennsylvania Democratic Governor Edward Rendell pledged $20 million of state funds to help build a new facility. A new stadium is estimated to cost $40 million, however, Lackawanna County Majority Commissioners, Mr. O’Brien and Mike Washo, have indicated without selling the franchise achieving the $40 million would not be possible. They have “ruled out” raising taxes for Lackawanna County residents to build the facility.

On September 22nd, commissioners from Lackawanna and Luzerne County met with officials of the area building trades unions in Wilkes-Barre to discuss the building of the new stadium. Luzerne County Commissioners have filed a lawsuit against the selling the franchise claiming they are owed half of the proceeds from the purchase.

Mr. O’Brien stated Lackawanna County Commissioners signed a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) with the Scranton Building and Construction Trades Council labor federation that would assure local union construction members would be hire for the project.

“This project would put many of the local construction workers to work. It would be a great community development project,” said Mr. O’Brien.

“Right now all the big construction projects are in Lackawanna County, and this will keep things going.”

Drew Simpson, President of the Scranton Building and Construction Trades Council, attended the September 22nd meeting and stated the building of the project would put hundreds of tradesmen and tradeswomen to work. Mr. Simpson said all three of the Lackawanna County Commissioners have shown their support for the hiring of union workers for construction projects in Lackawanna County.

Of the fifteen unions affiliated with the Scranton Building and Construction Trades Council only the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union does not represent construction workers in both Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties.

Workers continue to protest nonunion workers being hired for Scranton project

10.21.10

OCTOBER 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Workers continue to protest nonunion workers being hired for Scranton project

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, September 23rd- The Tobyhanna Federal Credit Union expansion project is continuing in downtown Scranton and despite protest by union building trade members, without local union tradesmen.

In the previous edition of the newspaper, it was exclusively reported union members affiliated with the Scranton Building and Construction Trades Council labor federation have conducted informational picketing at the construction site of the new Tobyhanna Credit Union on Franklin Avenue.

The Federal Credit Union is currently located on Mulberry Street in Scranton but the organization is expanding and is constructing their own building.

The newspaper contacted officials of approximately eight of the fifteen local unions that are affiliated with the labor federation, and found no contractors that are signed with them were hired for the project.

“We will be out there picketing in a few more weeks,” said Kevin McHugh, Business Manager of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Union Local 489. The first stage of the construction project that Local 489 members should have been hired went to nonunion workers.

“We won’t get the iron erection work either,” said Mr. McHugh.

Members of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters Union Local 645 in Scranton are continuing to picket the site.

According to Vern Johnson, Northeast Manager of Local 645, representatives of the Occupational Safety and Health Adinistration (OSHA) Office in Wilkes-Barre visited the construction site because of unsafe working conditions for workers.

IAFF Local 2655 files complaint against Nanticoke

10.21.10

OCTOBER 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

IAFF Local 2655 files complaint against Nanticoke

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, September 24th- The union that was successful in winning the right to represent workers of the Nanticoke Fire Department Community Ambulance in Luzerne County filed a labor complaint alleging the employer violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Union Local 2655 won the right to represent the employees of the Nanticoke ambulance presonnel after successfully winning an election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia on July 16th. The 15 eligible to participate to vote workers voted 7 for representation to 3 against.

The union won the right to represent all land transport and emergency medical service personnel including paramedics and EMT’s employed by Nanticoke.

On September 21st Local 2655 filed a Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge alleging the employer violated Section 8 (a), subsections (1) and (3) of the NLRAct.

“Since on or about July 2010, and at all times thereafter, the above named employer, by its officers, agents and representatives, has, by threats, surveillance and impression of surveillance and other acts and conduct, interfered with, restrained and coerced its employees in the exercise of the rights guaranteed in Section 7 of the Act. On or about July 9th, 2010 and August 30th, 2010, respectively, the above named employer, by its officers, agents and representatives, suspended and subsequently terminated Larry H. Saltz because he engaged in concerted activities with other employees of said employer for the purpose of collective bargaining and other mutual aid and protection. In order to discourage said concerted activities at all times and said dates, and for the aforesaid reasons, the said employer has refused, and does now refuse, to employ the above named employee,” states the ULP.

More complaints filed against PPL by IBEW Local 1600

10.21.10

OCTOBER 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

More complaints filed against PPL by IBEW Local 1600

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, September 29th- The labor organization that represents employees of the PPL Corporation in Allentown filed another complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia alleging the employer violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union Local 1600, Grange Road in Trexlertown, represents approximately 5,000 PPL workers throughout northeastern Pennsylvania.

The newspaper reported in the August edition, Local 1600 filed multiple Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges against PPL alleging the employer violated the NLRAct.

According to the ULP filed on June 25th, PPL by and through its agents, failed and refused to provide relevent information to Local 1600. The June 28th complaint alleges PPL since on or about April 8th, 2010 failed and refused to bargain in good faith with the Union. Also, Local 1600 filed a complaint against PPL on June 28th, 2010 alleging the Employer violated labor law.

The ULP’s were discovered during the monthly review by the newspaper of complaints and petitions filed at the NLRB office. The newspaper is the only member of the local media that reviews the information.

On September 22nd the union filed a ULP alleging the employer has failed and refused to bargain in good faith by failing and refusing to provide information, despite a request. “In particular, since on or about July 20th, 2010, the Employer has delayed/failed to provide the Union with requested information regarding the failure to call or canvass troublemen on the 15ATL roster for storm duty and trouble calls and the use of outside contractors to perform work in connection therewith.

By its delay/refusals to provide the Union with the requested information, the Employer is refusing to bargain and deliberately impeding the processing of certain grievances and otherwise undermining the bargaining process,” alleges the September 22nd filed Unfair Labor Practice complaint.