Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

IUPAT District Council 21 complaint against Penn Allen Glass amended

11.30.10

DECEMBER 2010, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

IUPAT District Council 21 complaint against Penn Allen Glass amended

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, November 3rd- The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) Union District Council 21, which represents tradespersons within the painting and glaziers industry, amended the labor complaint that was filed against an Lehigh Valley employer.

The IUPAT filed the Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia alleging an signatory contractor with the Union, violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

The newspaper exclusively reported the ULP was filed by the union against Penn Allen Glass Inc. Front Street of Hellertown, in the previous edition.

According to the complaint, which was reviewed by the newspaper, District Council 21 alleges the Employer violated the NLRAct by failing to honor the labor agreement with the IUPAT.

“Since on or about August 16th, 2010, the Employer notified the Union and its bargaining unit employees that it was “cancelling” its contract with the Union, said Collective Bargaining Agreement being in effect until December 31st, 2010. The Employer unilaterally ceased deducting and remitting Union dues after August 16th, 2010,” states the complaint.

The Union alleges Penn Allen Glass, which operates an glass production facility at its regular place of business, 513 North 16th Street, Allentown, violated Section 8 (a), subsection (1) and subsections (a) 3 and (a) 5 of the National Labor Relations Act.

“Since on or about July 1st, 2010, the Employer unilaterally terminated the health care coverage of bargaining unit employees mandated by the Collective Bargaining Agreement,” continues the ULP.

The employer representative indentified on the complaint to be contacted is Tom McNabb. His position with the Employer is not indentified on the ULP.

The complaint was filed on behalf of the IUPAT by Philadelphia Attorney Warren Borish.

Penn Allen Glass principal product or service is the manufacturing of glass, mostly for commercial use.

“The Employer also unilaterally ceased making contractually mandated contributions to the District Council 21 Apprenticeship Fund (FTI), and IUPAT Pension and Annuity Funds.

Since on or about September 10th, 2010, the Employer permanently laid-off all of the members of the bargaining unit covered by its Agreement with the Union. All of the above unilateral actions are in violation of the Act and the Employer’s contractual obligations,” the ULP added.

STATEMENT BY U.S. SENATOR BENJAMIN L. CARDIN ON PROPOSAL TO FREEZE FEDERAL CIVILIAN PAY

11.30.10

STATEMENT BY U.S. SENATOR BENJAMIN L. CARDIN ON PROPOSAL TO FREEZE FEDERAL CIVILIAN PAY

“Our nation is recovering from the most serious recession since the 1930s. Today we face continuing high unemployment and a $1.4 trillion federal budget deficit that threatens our economic security. All Americans have a stake in our economic recovery. President Obama has proposed a two-year pay freeze for federal employees to help address the deficit. I believe any federal employee pay freeze should only be considered as part of an overall deficit reduction package. This is particularly relevant as Congress considers tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, which would add more than 10 times to the federal deficit than the President’s proposed civilian pay freeze.”

Study suggest federal action saved jobs in Pennsylvania

11.30.10

DECEMBER 2010, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Study suggest federal action saved jobs in Pennsylvania
BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, November 15th- A new study by the Keystone Research Center, a economic research organization in Harrisburg, suggest the unemployment rate in Pennsylvania would be double digits absent the federal economic policies.

The Keystone Research Center study states hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania workers would be out of work today had policymakers chosen to do nothing in the face of the worst economic recession in decades.

“Federal policies stopped the economic free fall, and policy choices at the national and state level will powerfully shape the future health of the economy for middle-class Pennsylvania families,” said Dr. Mark Price, Labor Economist for the Keystone Research Center.

According to the study, unemployment rates would be at 15 percent or higher in most parts of the state, with a 20 percent rate in Philadelphia. Even places with traditionaly lower jobless rates like Harrisburg-Carlisle and Lancaster regions, would be saddled with double-digit unemployment rates.

“We have more to do. To get Pennsylvania’s economy going full steam, we need more investment in people and communities, our kids education, roads and bridges, and local economies. If the federal government trims spending too soon, our economy will get derailed again,” stated Dr. Stephen Herzenberg, Executive Director of the Keystone Research Center.

The report suggest across Pennsylvania absent federal involvement with the Great Recession in 2008 and 2009 it would have sent unemployment rates spiraling to:

• 17 percent in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre metropolitan area (15,000 job
saved);
• Nearly 17 percent in Erie County (5,500 jobs saved);
• Nearly 16 percent in Altoona (over 5,000 jobs saved);
• 15 percent in Allenton/Bethlehem/Easton metropolitan region (27,000
jobs were saved by federal intervention);
• 15 percent in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area (76,000 jobs saved);
• 15 percent in Reading metropolitan region (9,000 jobs saved);
• 13 percent in the York/Hanover metropolitan area (nearly 14,000 jobs
saved);
Above 12 percent in the Harrisburg/Carlisle metropolitan area (21,000
jobs saved); and
• Above 11 percent in Lancaster County with (14,000 jobs saved).

According to Mr. Price, the new report, Getting Pennsylvania’s Economy Back on Track, amplifies a key finding of Keystone’s State of Working Pennsylvania 2010 report released last month that Pennsylvania’s economy would have been much worse off without the policy actions taken by the Federal Reserve, the Bush and Obama administrations, and the United States Congress.

The report suggests absent federal involvement, Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate would be at least 15 percent today, nearly 700,000 jobs short of full employment. By comparison, Pennsylvania’s September unemployment rate stood at 9 percent, with a jobs gap of 312,000.

The Keystone Research Center estimates of unemployment rates are derived from a national-level analysis of the impact of federal economic intervention that was co-authored by Republican Arizona Senator John McCain economic adviser Mark Zandi.

Also, Pennsylvania’s economy added jobs faster during the current economic recovery than it did after the two recessions in 2001 and 1991. Fourteen months after the end of the 1991 recession, private-sector employment had declined by 19,300 jobs. At the same point after the 2001 recession, private-sector employment was down 29,800 jobs. In August of this year, 14 months after the recession was said to have ended, private-sector employment in the state had increased by 2,900 jobs.

Gracedale Nursing Home unions fear changes to contracts if facility is sold

11.30.10

DECEMBER 2010, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Gracedale Nursing Home unions fear changes to contracts if facility is sold

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, November 16th- The unions that represent workers at the Gracedale Nursing Home are gaining signitures from the public on petitions requesting that Northampton County not sell the facility.

On October 24th, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union Local 1435 and the United Steelworkers of America (USW) Union Local 2599, held a rally at the facility, located in Upper Nazareth Township, to show support for the nursing home to stay under the ownership of Northampton County.

According to Jerry Green, President of Local 2599, East Lehigh Street in Bethlehem, his union is working hard to gain enough signitures to hopefully influence county officials to reconsider selling the facility to a public operator.

The nine member Northampton County Council voted to seek offers for the 725 bed nursing home which has around 650 residents.

County officials have stated selling the nursing home, which is owned and operated by Northampton County, is about saving taxpayers money. There are approximately 750 workers, 600 full-time and 150 part-time, employed at the nursing home.

Local 1435 represents around 600 workers employed at the nursing home including food service, cleaning and other support employees. Local 2599 represents approximately 50 nurses and social aid workers.

The unions fear should the facility be sold to an outside operator their members will be required to give wage and benefits concessions and contract langugage that protects their members will be changed.

When Voters Find Out They’ve Been Conned

11.21.10

When Voters Find Out They’ve Been Conned

by Robert Creamer

The Corporate CEO’s and big Wall Street Bankers must have been having a good old time celebrating their victories in the mid-term elections.

You can see them now. High-fiving through the cigar smoke in their wood paneled Upper East Side exclusive clubs. Laughing at how easy it was to put one over on so many everyday working people. They are thrilled that they successfully convinced many Americans to vote against their own economic self-interests by playing on their legitimate anger that their economic well-being is under attack.

Of course, the cruel irony is that the people who funded the vicious TV ads and flights of mail urging everyday Americans to throw out the Democrats in order to demonstrate their fury at the economy, are the very people who have made a killing themselves by attacking the middle class.

They are the very same people who have outsourced middle class jobs, siphoned off ever-larger portions of the fruits of middle class labor, and made fortunes speculating with the middle class’ money. And, unbelievably, they are the very same people whose reckless speculation collapsed the economy and cost eight million Americans their jobs.

That’s right, the same people who paid for those ads playing on middle class economic insecurity are the people who made the middle class insecure in the first place.

Those guys who are celebrating how they pulled one over on everyday Americans are like arsonists who set a building on fire and then crow about their heroism organizing the bucket brigade.

As part of their fall campaign, they sent Republicans scurrying around the country in a frenzy about the budget deficit. But what is the very first thing they do after the election? They demand that the country borrow $700 billion more dollars to give millionaires more tax breaks. You’ve got to admire the sheer chutzpa.

And there is more. The Republicans have every intention of refusing to support middle class tax cuts ## of holding middle class tax cuts hostage ## until millionaires get theirs too.

They spent massive amounts of air time promoting cuts in spending. What’s the first thing they want to cut?

Unemployment insurance for millions of unemployed workers who can’t find jobs.

That’s right. New tax breaks for millionaires, and cuts in unemployment insurance for middle class workers whose jobs they destroyed. That doesn’t exactly square with Tea Party talk about how actions should have consequences.

And that contradiction is precisely the Republican’s big problem. It’s one thing to vote against incumbents because you’re furious about your economic situation. It’s another to watch the guys who you elected to replace them vote time and time again to promote the interests of millionaires and billionaires – and to make things worse for you.

It will not be long until millions of Americans begin to realize that the tonic they bought from the sharpies on Wall Street and corporate CEO’s was snake oil.

A lot of voters cast their ballots out of anger this fall. But the Republicans don’t have any clue how angry people will get when they realize they have been sold a bill of goods.

The great con artists are people who first win the confidence of their mark – hence the name “con” men. Con men convince you to trust them – and then betray your confidence and steal your money. When the mark discovers the con, he is likely to be really angry. He is angry not simply because he has lost his money. He’s angry because the con man played him for a chump.

Many voters in this fall’s elections thought that when they cast their ballot for the Republican candidate, they were supporting the dashing young hero who was going to save the middle class heroine from the oncoming train just in the nick of time.

As soon as they start making policy in the new Congress it won’t take long for people to realize that the “dashing young hero” outfit was a disguise. In fact, it will be the greedy villain who is revealed as he gallops up as the train approaches. And instead of untying the knots that prevent our heroine’s escape, he will demand a ransom that must come directly out of her middle class pocket. Not exactly the outcome those middle class voters were expecting, and oh will it make people angry.

Robert Creamer is a long-time political organizer and strategist, and author of the book: Stand Up Straight: How Progressives Can Win, available on Amazon.com.

Gracedale Nursing Home union President believes the facility will be sold

11.19.10

NOVEMBER 2010, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Gracedale Nursing Home union President believes the facility will be sold

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, November 6th- Jerry Green, the President of the United Steelworkers of America (USW) Union Local 2599, which represents approximately 50 nurses and social aid workers employed at the Gracedale Nursing Home in Upper Nazareth Township, believes the decision to sell the facility has already been made.

The nine member Northampton County Council voted to seek offers for the 725 bed nursing home which has around 650 residents.

County officials have stated selling the nursing home, which is owned and operated by Northampton County, is about saving taxpayers money. There are approximately 750 workers, 600 full-time and 150 part-time, employed at the nursing home.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union Local 1435, represents the majority of the employees. Local 1435 represents around 600 workers employed at the nursing home including food service, cleaning and other support employees.

On October 24th, a rally was held in front of the facility with the participants requesting Northampton County not sell the nursing home to a private company.

“We are getting signatures from the public on petitions requesting they not sell. But, I believe they have already made-up their minds, and will sell,” stated Mr. Green.

Local 2599 has “successor clause” language in the contract while Local 1435 contract does not.

The successor clause contract language states should the facility be sold the new owners must recognize the union as the employees bargaining representative and honor the labor contract.

Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton Metropolitan Statistical Area unemployment rate decreases

11.19.10

NOVEMBER 2010, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Metropolitan Statistical Area unemployment rate decreases

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, November 5th- According to labor data provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, Center for Workforce Information and Analysis in Harrisburg, the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 9.3 percent, decreasing by four-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month. The MSA includes Lehigh, Northampton, and Carbon Counties of Pennsylvania and Warren County, New Jersey. Twelve months ago the unemployment rate for the region was 9.4 percent.

There are fourteen Metropolitan Statistical Area’s in Pennsylvania and the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton Metropolitan Statistical Area is tied with the Johnstown MSA for the second highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA has the highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 9.9 percent. The Erie MSA and the Reading MSA are tied for the third highest unemployment rate at 9.2 percent.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 9.0 percent, decreasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report, which was released approximately four weeks ago. There are 570,000 Pennsylvania residents without jobs, but that number does not include residents that have exhausted their unemployment benefits and stopped looking for work.

Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted workforce of 6,365,000, decreasing by 30,000 from the previous report, and 5,794,000 of them have employment. The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was reported to be 9.6 percent, unchanged from the previous report.

There are 14,767,000 residents nationally unemployed but counting workers that have exhausted their benefits or have been unable to find full-time work there are more than 21 million Americans without jobs. After workers have exhausted their unemployment benefits they are no longer counted as unemployed.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 6.1 percent. The Lebanon MSA and the Lancaster MSA are tied for the second lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 7.3 percent.

Northampton County has the lowest rate in the MSA at 9.2 percent. There are 14,100 Northampton County residents without jobs.

Carbon County has the highest unemployment rate in the MSA at 10.5 percent, with 3,300 residents without jobs.

Lehigh County’s unemployment rate is 9.4 percent, and there are 16,800 Lehigh County residents without jobs.

Union opposes liquor vending machines near colleges

11.19.10

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

Union opposes liquor vending machines near colleges

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, October 15th- The union that represents supervisors of the Pennsylvania Wine and Spirits Stores have sent a letter to each member of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania legislature indicating they oppose the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) placement of wine vending machines in supermarkets serving near schools of higher education.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board announced they are placing a wine vending machine for use by students in the Fresh Grocer supermarket that serves the University of Pennsylvania community. Only students over twenty-one will be allowed to use the vending machine.

According to the Independent State Store Union (ISSU) in Harrisburg, which represents 718 first level supervisors in the Pennsylvania State Stores, the University of Pennsylvania is the 16th most dangerous campus in the country, and is it to be assumed the alcohol beverage industry represented by the PLCB will make the campus safer with the addition of a wine vending machine. The union contends the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and the industry are one.

According to Michael Dusak, Vice-President of the Union, a machine was placed outside of a supermarket in Harrisburg in June and the PLCB planned to put 100 machines throughout the Commonwealth including two in Luzerne County and two in Lackawanna County.

Mr. Dusak has worked for the Pennsylvania Wine and Spirits Stores in Allegheny County for more than 29 years. He was represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union before becoming a supervisor for the system. The UFCW represents most of the state store employees including shelf stockers and clerk workers. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union also represents some workers.

Mr. Dusak told the newspaper the system announced plans in 2009 to install 100 vending machines throughout Pennsylvania, mostly in the populated counties.

He stated the union opposes the move. The Independent State Store Union would likely loss members because of the move, but the jobs created by the action would result in hiring workers that would be represented by the UFCW.

Under the plan, before a individual can purchase a bottle of spirits from a vending machine, they must scan their drivers license, stand before a camera to assure the persons identity and pass a breathing test to assure the person is not intoxicated. The worker overseeing the process will be represented by the UFCW.

“The day before Fresh Grocer received a permit to obtain a wine vending machine, the PLCB issued a press release touting the nearly $1 million in grant money it awarded to local communities and college/university campuses to fight underage and dangerous drinking among Pennsylvania’s youth. The placement of a wine vending machine at the University of Pennsylvania’s Fresh Grocer makes a cynical joke of the PLCB/Industry hypocritical alcohol education/prevention program,” stated David Wanamaker, ISSU President.

Pennsylvania public employee pension legislation passes

11.19.10

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

Pennsylvania public employee pension legislation passes

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, October 15th- The Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) Union supports the legislation that was approved by the Pennsylvania Senate, 41 to 8 on October 14th.James Testerman, President of the PSEA, the state’s largest school employee union, urged representatives to pass the Senate-amended version of House Bill 2497 as soon as possible.

“The House needs to return to session and pass pension reform legislation. The bill will save taxpayers $20 million more than the House version, while keeping the promise of a secure pension for current and future school employees. I can’t think of a better way to end this legislative session,” said Mr. Testerman.

House Bill 2497 is supported by the PSEA and other affected unions. The legislation passed the House of Representatives in June but now the measure must return to the House for a final vote because of the changes made in the Senate version.

“This is a responsible solution. It protects the retirement security of school employees, preserves a defined benefit pension, and addresses the needs of taxpayers.

It establishes a manageable payment plan for the Commonwealth and school districts to fund their debt to Public School Employees’ Retirement System for past investment losses and discourages underfunding of the plan,” added Mr. Testerman.

By restructuring the debt payments the legislation reduces the so-called “pension spike” of 2013-13, and relieves pressure on school districts budgets. It also introduces changes to benefits for new employees that will result in a cost savings of more than $20 billion over 30 years.

Mr. Testerman, who is a middle school science teacher in the Central York School District, stated given the concerns about the current state of the Fund, the PSEA supports the concept of “shared risk” in the legislation. Under the provision, the employers and employees share the burden in case Pennsylvania State Education Association members dies and does not meet its investment earnings assumption. This provsion will strengthen the long-term security of the Fund, Mr. Testerman believes.

The Pennsylvania State Education Association is affiliated with the National Education Association (NEA), which is not affiliated with the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington, DC.

The bill requires new workers to pay an increased rate (equivalent to 10.3 percent of pay) to receive the current defined benefit pension, or receive a reduced benefit by contributing 7.5 percent of their pay to Pennsylvania State Education Association members. The measure also would double the period that new employees must work to 10 years, from the current five, before they would be eligible to receive a pension. New school employees would also have to work longer in order to retire without penalty.

“PSEA has consistently pledged to be part of the solution to this problem. We are honoring that commitment by supporting this legislation,” added Mr. Testerman.

Mr. Testerman added that a new report shows that 82 percent of Pennsylvania schools met all of their Adequate Yearly Progress targets in 2010, up from 78 percent of schools last year. Adequate Yearly Porgress targets are defined through the federal No Child Left Behind law. Pennsylvania students have exceeded state academic goals and achieved double-digit gains since 2002.

Mr. Testerman said the new results from Pennsylvania’s standardized tests show that the investment in the Keystone State’s public schools is paying off.

Commissioner O’Brien pledges to hire union workers even if stadium is renovated

11.19.10

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

Commissioner O’Brien pledges to hire union workers even if stadium is renovated

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, October 17th- Should the current baseball stadium in Moosic be renovated rather than replaced, the construction would still result in jobs being gained for members of the building trade unions.

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.

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.

According to John Gatto, Assistant Business Manager of the Painters and Allied Trades International Union (PATIU) District Council 21 in Drums, his members would likely get as much work should the current stadium be renovated.

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.

Kevin McHugh, Business Manager of the Iron Workers Union Local 489 in Yatesville, said should the stadium only be renovated his members would still receive work.

Mr. McHugh indicated one of the options being discussed about renovating the stadium is removing the upper deck. Should the upper deck be removed Local 489 members would be hired for the construction.

Jack Figured, Field Representative of the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Union (BAC) Local 5, told the newspaper the new stadium would be a “great community development project.”

Member files petition wanting to remove her Union

11.19.10

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

Member files petition wanting to remove her Union

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, October 14th- A member of the union that represents security employees at federal buildings throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia in a attempt to remove the union as the bargaining representative for the workers. The petition was later withdrawn because not enough of the employees supported the action.

According to the petition, discovered by the newspaper while reviewing petitions and labor complaints filed at the NLRB Regional Office, union member Patricia Denise Sauerwine of Shickshinny in Luzerne County filed the petition on September 27th, requesting the agency conduct a election to determine if the employees still wanted the National Union of Protective Services Associations of Washington, DC, to represent them for the purpose of collective bargaining.

The union has represented the employees since 2009, when the employer, Knight Protective Services Inc. and the Union, agreed to a one year contract, which expired on May 31st, 2010. The company provides security services for federal buildings including the Social Security office and the Department of Labor and Industry throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania. There are approximately 28 people in the bargaining unit.

The petition was withdrawn several weeks later after the NLRB began investigating whether it was support by enough of the workers.

IUPAT files complaint against Lehigh Valley employer

11.17.10

NOVEMBER 2010, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

IUPAT files complaint against Lehigh Valley employer

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, October 14th- The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) Union District Council 21, which represents tradespersons within the painting and glaziers industry, filed a labor complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia alleging a Lehigh Valley employer and an signatory contractor with the Union, violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

According to the Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge, which was reviewed by the newspaper, IUPAT District Council 21 alleges the employer, Penn Allen Glass Inc. Front Street of Hellertown, violated the NLRAct. “Since on or about September 10th, 2010, the Employer has continued to conduct its regular business and perform work covered by its Collective Bargaining Agreement with IUPAT, District Council 21, at its regular place of business, 513 North 16th Street, Allentown, but has disavowed the Collective Bargaining Agreement and permanently laid-off all of the members of the bargaining unit covered by its Agreement with the Union in an effort to avoid its statutory and contractual obligations.

The Employer also unilaterally ceased making contractually mandated benefit fund contributions to the Union, Pension, Annuity and Apprentice Funds, terminated the contractually mandated Company health plan and ceased deducting and remitting Union dues,” states the ULP.

The complaint was filed on behalf of the IUPAT by Philadelphia Attorney Warren Borish.

The Union alleges Penn Allen Glass violated Section 8 (a), subsections (1) and subsections (a) 3 and (a) 5 of the NLRAct.

Penn Allen Glass Inc. principal product or service is the manufacturing of glass, mostly for commercial use.

The employer representative indentified on the complaint to be contacted is Tom McNabb. His position with the Employer is not indentified on the ULP.

Labor supported Dan Onorato defeated by Republican Tom Corbett

11.17.10

NOVEMBER 2010, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Labor supported Dan Onorato defeated by Republican Tom Corbett

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, November 4th- Despite the support of the labor community, Democratic gubernatorial nominee Dan Onorato was defeated by Pennsylvania’s current Attorney General and Republican gubernatorial nominee Tom Corbett by more than 8 percentage points on November 2nd.

Dan Onorato was endorsed by the Pennsylvania American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) in Harrisburg and the labor federation’s conducted their political program throughout Pennsylvania and the Lehigh Valley attempting to convince union members to support him.

The Pennsylvania AFL-CIO is the largest labor organization in the state, representing more than 900,000 union workers and their families.

With the Republican party controlling the Pennsylvania House of Representatives by at least 18 seats and having a 10 seat majority in the Senate it is likely many anti-union intiatives will be introduced during the 2011-2012 legislative term.

Mr. Corbett’s running mate Jim Cawley stated during the campaign that he supported the banning of union security clauses in Pennsylvania. Such legislation is often referred to as “right-to-work.”

“Right to work legislation is something whose time has come for Pennsylvania,” stated Mr. Cawley.

Also, the Pennsylvania Wine and Spirits Stores may be sold. The system employees are currently represeented by three labor organizations.

Legislation to eliminate the Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act will also likely be introduced.

Former Lehigh Valley Republican Congressman Pat Toomey elected to Senate

11.15.10

NOVEMBER 2010, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Former Lehigh Valley Republican Congressman Pat Toomey elected to Senate

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, November 3rd- Former House of Representative from the Lehigh Valley Pat Toomey (Republican-15th Legislative District) defeated Congressman Joe Sestak (Democrat-7th Legislative District) 51 percent to 49 percent and will join the United States Senate from Pennsylvania in January. Democrat Bob Casey Jr. is the other Senator from Pennsylvania.

Mr. Toomey will replace Democratic Senator Arlen Specter in Washington. Mr. Specter was defeated for his party nomination by Mr. Sestak in May.

On August 12th the Pennsylvania American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) in Harrisburg announced the labor federation endorsed Mr. Sestak and through their political program knocked on local union members home doors, and visited workplaces, requesting they vote for Mr. Sestak including in the Lehigh Valley.

In the spring the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO endorsed incumbent Democratic Senator Arlen Specter but he was defeated by Mr. Sestak.

“Joe Sestak has compiled a 97 percent voting record in support of Pennsylvania workers on issues that matter most: economic recovery, protecting and creating jobs and helping unemployed workers,” said Richard Bloomingdale, President of the labor federation at the endorsement announcement.

In Lehigh County, Mr. Toomey received around 10,000 more votes than Mr. Sestak while in Northampton County Pat Toomey received approximately 8,000 more votes than Joe Sestak.

Legislation passed to combat fly-by-night contractors

11.15.10

NOVEMBER 2010, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Legislation passed to combat fly-by-night contractors

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@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. The legislation passed the Republican controlled Pennsylvania State Senate by a 34-13 margin.

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.

“The road to get here today was a long one, but we are thankful that Governor Rendell and lawmarkers on both sides of the aisle finished the job. Carpenters know a thing or two about getting the job done right. This new law accomplishes our long-sought goal of cracking down on rogue contractors, and leveling the playing field for the good guys out there,” said Ed Coryell, President of the Pennsylvania Council of Carpenters in Philadelphia.

Local 600 in Bethlehem represents Carpenters Union members throughout the Lehigh Valley and is affiliated with the Pennsylvania Council of Carpenters.

“This three year journey was truly a bipartisan effort. We could not be more gratified with the end result,” added Mr. Coryell.

Congressman Charlie Dent defeats labor supported John Callahan

11.13.10

NOVEMBER 2010, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Congressman Charlie Dent defeats labor supported John Callahan

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, November 5th- Incumbent House of Representative Charlie Dent (Republican-15th Legislative District) defeated Bethlehem Democratic Mayor John Callahan and Independent candidate Jake Towne on November 2nd and will begin a fourth two-year term in Washington, DC in Janaury.

According to unofficial election results, Mr. Dent defeated Mr. Callahan by more than 14 percentage points and Mr. Towne by 37 percentage points.

The Republican party has won the right to represent the Lehigh Valley in the nation’s capitol in the last seven elections. Republican candidate for the United States Senate Pat Toomey defeated the labor supported Democratic nominee Joe Sestak on election day and will represent Pennsylvania in Washington beginning in January. Mr. Toomey held the 15th Legislative seat for three terms before Mr. Dent.

Mr. Callahan received the endorsement of the Pennsylvania American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) in Harrisburg after he submitted the labor federation’s election questionnaire. Mr. Callahan stated on the questionnaire, if elected he would support the labor community.

The newspaper attempted to interview Mr. Callahan during the campaign, however, he did not respond to our numerous request and his campaign staff was unco-operative leading-up to November 2nd.

Mr. Dent’s labor voting record has decreased each term since first being elected. During his first two-year term in Washington, Mr. Dent supported labor legislation 35 percent of the time. In 2007 his labor voting record dropped to 27 percent and now is below 20 percent. Mr. Toomey’s labor voting record was around 7 percent when he decided not to seek a fourth term.

Congressman Dent voted against HR 7321, the Auto Industry Financing and Restructuring Act that provided loans to the American automakers including General Motors and Chrysler. Because of the loans, both companies have survived and still employ thousands of workers including members of the United Auto Workers of America (UAW) Union.

Mr. Dent stated in November 2009 he opposed the legislation because it “failed to implement the reforms that domestic automakers must embrace to ensure limits on executive compensation, and additional substantial concessions by the UAW members.” However, since the legislation was passed General Motors has repaid the loans from the federal government and Chrysler financial situation has improved.

Mr. Dent voted against the Employee Free Choice Act/Card Check (EFCAct). Also, Congressman Dent voted against raising the federal minimum wage and funding extentions of unemployment benefits for American workers that have been without jobs for an extended period.

Jerry Green, President of the United Steelworkers of America (UAW) Union Local 2599 in Bethlehem, is disappointed Mr. Dent won and has seen a change in his attitude toward the labor community during the past several terms and not for the better.

Corporations are not People bumper stickers

11.11.10

Tea Party Republicans Own Broken Economy and Government

11.05.10

Tea Party Republicans Own Broken Economy and Government

The Republican political machine spent over 30 years rigging both our economy and government in favor of corporations and the Super Rich. The result has been a badly broken economy with constantly dropping standards of living for the formerly large middle classes and a democracy severely undermined by corporate money.

After the 2010 Republican tide, corporatism hiding behind a fake “Tea Party populist image” runs everything. Expect things for working Americans to get much worse real fast.

The Republican Party blamed the economic collapse under Bush on Obama. The republicans drove the car (economy) in the ditch. Using their filibuster power in the Senate (along with “Democrat in Name Only” Ben Nelson), they stopped the Obama White House and the Democratic majorities in Congress from making all the fundamental changes needed to fix our economy.

While the Democrats were trying to fix our economy (pull the car out of the ditch and get it going), Republicans were busy cutting the tires on the tow truck and sugaring the gas tank so the engine would not run. Their goal was not to make things better for the vast majority of Americans. It was to regain power to protect corporations and the Super Rich.

It worked. The Republicans played the American public for suckers!

It took another crazy ruling from their Right Wing Extremist Majority on the Supreme Court to make it happen. Secret but legal corporate money flooded the airwaves and mailboxes of millions of angry, confused American voters with corporate, pro-Republican spin blaming government for the problems created by corporations and their lackeys in government (overwhelmingly Republicans) while corporate political media machines like Fox News abandoned all reasonable claims to fair coverage.

It looks like Fox News is trying to hire every Republican candidate for President as a “news commentator” to me. It should be required to register as a Republican political action committee. Nobody who wants an honest debate on real issues or a real understanding of our economy and government should watch it. All Americans should boycott their advertisers because of their extreme bias. No other news organization including MSNBC is so blatantly biased and political in news coverage, hiring of on-air personalities and making campaign donations with corporate money.

The Tea Party Republicans have already vowed to block any attempts to curb corporate spending on politics or to require that the spending be publicly revealed. They have vowed to keep shareholders from having to approve the political spending. Basically, they are on record favoring the corrupting influence of corporate money in politics.

Yes, the Tea Party Republicans elected at every level of government are completely corrupt going into office. They do not want us to have a functioning honest American democracy where the majority has the major say in our government. They want moneyed interest to run both the economy and the government.

These Tea Party Republicans gave Obama and the Democrats less than 6 months to fix decades of Republican mismanagement and intentional abuse. We should give them the same.

By July 4th, the Tea Party Republicans should end the recession and give all Americans who want to work jobs. If they do not, then we should start demonstrating against them and their policies at town halls, Republican events and Tea Party gatherings. Every “conservative” organization event should be picketed.
Fire up the computer and start writing letters to the Editor. Complain to friends and co-workers. Demand an end to corporate money in politics now and start the 6 month countdown to full employment under Tea Party Republican rule.

Obama should get out his veto pen. Senate Democrats need to learn that filibusters work for both parties.

I predict the newly elected Republican tide will be much worse than the Bush Administration in terms of giving us a fair, sound economy or honest, effective government. They have 6 months to prove me wrong.

Written by Stephen Crockett (Host of Democratic Talk Radio http://www.DemocraticTalkRadio.com) . Mail: 698 Old Baltimore Pike, Newark, Delaware 19702. Email: demlabor@aol.com. Phone: 443-907-2367.

Feel free to publish or print copies without prior approval.