Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

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.