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Labor Community getting involve with Counties leadership campaign’s

02.22.11

FEBRUARY 2011 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Labor Community getting involve with Counties leadership campaign’s

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, February 7th- The labor community is getting ready to be involve in both Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties government leadership political campaigns for 2011.

Incumbent Democratic Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O’Brien announced his new running mate would be Blakely Borough Mayor Jeanette Acciare-Mariani, and he told the newspaper if the team is elected the labor community will find a “smooth transition” with the new team.

John Gatto, Assistant Business Manager of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) Union District Council 21, told the newspaper his union will likely support Mr. O’Brien, who is seeking a second four-year term in the commissioner office.

“He has been responsive to our union. When we reached out to him I would say he has at least attempted to help us,” said Mr. Gatto.

Incumbent two-term Democratic Commissioner Mike Washo is not seeking a third term. Mr. O’Brien and Mr. Washo ran as a team during the 2007 campaign season.

“I have an outstanding labor record. My core values are with working familes. Labor will continue to have a friend in County government if we are successful in winning,” said Mr. O’Brien.

Mr. O’Brien told the newspaper that he wants a local workforce on local projects instead of workers from New Jersey and elsewhere. “I won’t shy away from union support, unlike many candidates today. I won’t apologize for supporting labor. People always know where I’m at,” added Mr. O’Brien.

In Luzerne County the labor community wants to form their own “political slate” for the 11 member government council. Luzerne County residents voted in 2010 to replace the current three-commissioner setup with a 11 member home-rule-charter council. Each government council member will be paid $8,000 a year and be elected by the voters in November, and begin their terms in January 2012.

Edward Harry, President of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Labor Council labor federation, and a former American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) District Council 87 Union, Business Representative, told the newspaper the labor organization plans to support at least 11 “pro-labor” candidates including several union members. “Getting people on that council that will support labor is vital,” he said.

Patrick Connors, Secretary-Treasurer/Business Representative and Principal Officer of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 401 in Wilkes-Barre, which has several bargaining agreements with Luzerne County, stated there are around 13 labor contracts, union members on government boards, and Project Labor Agreements (PLA’s) that need to be “watched-out for” and it is very important that labor is represented on the new council.

“We (the labor community) are afraid anti-union people will control the council and they will hire a manager that will be bad for labor,” said Mr. Connors.

Legislators requesting for continuation of health-care program for uninsured

02.22.11

FEBRUARY 2011 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Legislators requesting for continuation of health-care program for uninsured

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 26th- Union member and Pennsylvania House of Representative Eddie Day Pashinski (Democrat-121st Legislative District) joined legislative colleagues at a news conference urging Pennsylvania Republican Governor Tom Corbett to continue the adultBasic program that provides low-cost insurance for about 1,020 uninsured working adults in Luzerne County. Another 16,505 people in Luzerne County are on a waiting list to get in the program. The 121st Legislative District includes the City of Wilkes-Barre in Luzerne County.

“It’s time to man up. It’s time to work together with our new governor and the insurance companies and all participants in the health-care industry to provide a better funding mechanism and reduce the cost by eliminating fraud, inefficiencies and system failures,” stated Mr. Pashinski.

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

Mr. Pashinski, who began his third two-term in Harrisburg in January, stated many of his constituents are in adultBasic program because they have fixed incomes, some earning a median salary of $385.00 a week.

AdultBasic was created by the legislature in 2001 with funding received through the National Tobacco Settlement Agreement. The program provides coverage for the basic health-care needs of people between 19 and 64 who do not have health insurance. They must also meet certain eligibility requirements, and cannot have an income greater than 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

Utility Workers Union files complaint against water company

02.22.11

FEBRUARY 2011 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Utility Workers Union files complaint against water company

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 16th- The labor organization that represents workers of the Pennsylvania American Water Company (PAWC), North Pennsylvania Avenue in Wilkes-Barre, filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia alleging the public water utility company violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

According to the Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge, which was reviewed by the newspaper, the Utility Workers Union of America (UWUA) Local 537, South College Avenue in Washington, PA, represents approximately 160 workers of the utility provider.

The ULP was filed on behalf of the Union by Attorney Samuel Pasquarelli of Pittsburgh.

“Since on or about January 4th, 2011, the employer by discrimination in regard to hire or tenure of employment or any term or condition of employment has discouraged membership with the charging party, a labor organization, which charging party is the certified collective bargaining representative of the employer’s office, clerical, production and maintenance employees, in that on said date the employer threatened members and officials of the charging party with discipline if they exercised rights lawfully available to them under the terms of their collective bargaining agreements and the law, and the employer also threatened legal action against the charging party directly for engaging in activities lawfully protected under the Act and permissible under various collective bargaining agreements extant between the charging party and the employer,” states the ULP.

The employer representative named on the compaint to be contacted is Nellie Murphy. Her position with the company is not identified on the complaint.

NALC Union will conduct annual food drive on May 14th

02.22.11

FEBRUARY 2011 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

NALC Union will conduct annual food drive on May 14th

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 26th- The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Union, which represents city delivery letter carriers of the United States Postal Service (USPS) in all 50 states and United States jurisdictions, will conduct their annual food drive on Saturday May 14th. The NALC has approximately 300,000 members.

According to NALC International President Fredric Rolando, the collection is the largest one-day food drive in the nation. This year will mark the 19th collective year the food drive will be held.

The Campbell Soup Company and the United States Postal Service will jointly provide over 120 million full-color postcard flyers for mailing to homes in participating communities just before the drive to encourage donations. In addition, for the sixth year, Valpak direct marketing systems will promote the drive on more than 44 million envolope packets.

Customers of the mail delivery service will be asked to leave can goods in the area of their mail boxes. The items collected will be collected by the letter carriers on May 14th, seperated and donated to area food banks. The three NALC branches that represent letter carriers in Northeastern Pennsylvania will participate.

In 2010 the postal workers collected 77.1 million pounds of food, the seventh consecutive year above 70 million, and delivered the donations to local community food banks, pantries and shelters. Last year almost 1,500 NALC local branches participated.

The effort began in 1991 when the NALC, with the support of the USPS and the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington, DC, which the NALC is affiliated, conducted a 10-city pilot program as a “first step” in developing a coordinated, same-day nationwide food drive. Over 290 tons of food were collected in those 10 cities. The drive was not held in 1992 as plans were being developed to expand the efford nationwide.

In 1993 the drive expanded to 200 NALC barnches in all 50 states, covering more than 1,000 communities. A record 12 million pounds (6,000 tons) of non-perishable food donations were collected by city carriers, with help from their rural carrier counterparts in many communities.

The effort, called “Stamp Out Hunger,” is a example of organized labor working to advance the common good in communities throughout the United States, stated the NALC.