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U.S. Senator Ben Cardin Receives Early Endorsement of Maryland state and d.c. AFL-CIO

03.10.11

Press Release: U.S. Senator Ben Cardin Receives Early Endorsement of Maryland state and d.c. AFL-CIO

Baltimore, MD — U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) has received the unanimous endorsement of the Maryland State and DC AFL-CIO’s Committee on Political Education (COPE), which represents over 300,000 union members and more than 500 local unions.

“Ben Cardin is a champion in the U.S. Senate for working families not just in Maryland but across the nation,” said Fred Mason, president of the Maryland State and DC AFL-CIO. “An early endorsement means local unions can begin to educate their members on why it is important to support Ben Cardin.”

“I have worked hard in the Senate and throughout my career to protect working men and women and their families. My priority, particularly during these tough economic times, is to help create and sustain quality job growth while solving the problems facing middle class families,” said Senator Cardin. “Unions have been a key part of protecting America’s shrinking middle class and have helped to lift up all workers. I will continue to actively support the rights of workers to collectively bargain and I am honored to receive this early endorsement from my friends in labor.

“We need to stop blaming hardworking teachers, nurses, firefighters, and other public sector workers who are essential to the safety and future of our communities. As leaders, we should be working together toward common solutions to the problems hurting American families, rather than placing blame or making scapegoats. We need to restore a sense of balance and civility to the debate, as well as our economy.”

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Teamsters Union Local 773 files labor complaint against school bus contractor

03.10.11

MARCH 2011, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Teamsters Union Local 773 files labor complaint against school bus contractor

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, February 14th- The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 773, Hamilton Street in Allentown, filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia alleging First Student bus company, 1812 South 12th Street in Allentown, violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

According to the Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge, which was discovered by the newspaper while reviewing petitions and complaints filed at the National Labor Relations Board, the Union alleges the Employer, violated Section 8 (a), subsections (1) and subsection (5) of the NLRAct.

The newspaper is the only member of the local media that reviews and publishes the information.

First Student provides bus transportation services for several school districts in the Lehigh Valley and according to the ULP employs around 204 workers in the Allentown unit.

“The above named employer, by and through its agents, has violated the Act by engaging in direct dealing and by unilaterally changing a term and condition of employment after certification of the bargaining representative and prior to negotiating a first contract. The above named employer, by and through its agents, has also violated the Act by failing to bargain in good faith when it assured the bargaining representative that the company would continue to calculate the rate of a pay as it had historically done at this location and then unilaterally implemented a change to the method of calculation,” states the complaint.

The ULP names Don Swift as the company representative to be contacted.

SEIU Local 32BJ files more complaints against Sodexo Inc.

03.10.11

MARCH 2011, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

SEIU Local 32BJ files more complaints against Sodexo Inc.

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, February 14th- The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 32BJ filed more labor complaints with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia alleging a Lehigh Valley employer continues to violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

The SEIU filed several more Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges against Sodexo Inc., which is a food service contractor and provides food service for three Lehigh Valley Hospitals.

The three hospitals, the Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest, Good Shepherd, and Sacred Heart, cafeteria workers are part of a national campaign by the SEIU to gain a national labor agreement with Sodexo Inc. Local 32BJ of New York, NY, is conducting a ten-state organizing campaign of the food service workers. Sodexo Inc. is headquartered in France.

The newspaper has discovered the SEIU filed two additional complaints against the Employer, after filing numerous ULP’s during 2010 against Sodexo Inc.

On January 28th, 2011, the Union filed a ULP alleging the Employer barred employees at the Lehigh Valley Hospital-Cedar Crest in Allentown from wearing Union shirts.

“The Employer participated in, acquiesced in, and/or caused hosptial security officers’ conduct in threatening to call police if employees, who were engaged in Section 7 activity, did not move from the public sidewalk in front of the hospital,” states the complaint.

On February 8th, 2011, the SEIU filed a complaint against the food service contractor alleging the Employer gave service employee Shari Kurtz, who is employed at the Good Shepherd Hosptial in Allentown, a negative employment evaluation based on her concerted, protected activity, including organizing with Local 32BJ, and gave her a lower pay raise as a result of such negative evaluation.

The ULP states there are 32 food service workers at the hosptial.

IBEW Local 1600 files labor complaint against PPL electrical energy company

03.10.11

MARCH 2011, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

IBEW Local 1600 files labor complaint against PPL electrical energy company

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, January 20th- The union that represents employees of the PPL Corporation, which provides electrical energy, 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 International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union Local 1600, Grange Road in Trexlertown, on January 28th filed a Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge against PPL alleging the employer violated Section 8 (a), subsections (1) and (5) of the NLRAct.

“Since on or about July 23rd, 2010, the Employer has failed and refused to bargain in good faith with the Charging Party. The Charging Party and the Employer are parties to a Collective Bargaining Agreement covering the period May 17th, 2010 to May 11th, 2014. The Charging Party is the exclusive bargaining representative for the affected employees of the Employer,” states the complaint, which was reviewed by the newspaper.

The newspaper is the only member of the local media that reviews ULP’s filed at the NLRB and publishes the information.

The labor complaint was filed on behalf of Local 1600 by Allentown Attorney Quintes Taglioli.

According to the ULP, there are approximately 5,000 workers employed by PPL, which is headquatered in Allentown.

“The parties have set forth in the predecessor Collective Bargaining Agreement in Article XIII, Section 2(C) overtime procedures for Field Service.

The Employer has unilaterally determined that it will no longer adhere to the Agreement.

It has thereby refused to bargain in good faith with the Charging Party by unilaterally charging terms and conditions of employment without bargaining in good faith. Further, the Collective Bargaining Agreement has incorporated by reference Memorandum of Agreement and the Employer’s unilateral refusal to comply with that Memorandum of Agreement violates its duty to bargain in good faith,” the Unfair Labor Practice continued.

Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton Region’s unemployment rate decreases to 9.0 percent

03.10.11

MARCH 2011, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Region’s unemployment rate decreases to 9.0 percent

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, February 4th- 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 9.0 percent, decreasing by four-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. 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 9.7 percent.

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

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA has the highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 9.5 percent. The Johnstown MSA has the second highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 9.2 percent.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 8.5 percent, decreasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report, which was released approximately four weeks ago. There are 538,000 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 6,358,000 and 5,819,000 of them have employment. The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was reported to be 9.4 percent, decreasing by four-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. That number also does not include residents that have exhausted their unemployment benefits and stopped looking for work.

There are 14,485,000 residents nationally unemployed but counting workers that have exhausted their benefits or have been unable to find full-time work there are more than 20 million Americans without jobs. After workers have exhausted their unemployment benefits they are no longer counted as unemployed unless they continue to apply for work.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 5.8 percent, decreasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report. The Lebanon MSA and the Lancaster MSA are tied for the second lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 7.2 percent and the Altoona MSA has the third lowest unemployment rate at 7.3 percent. The Harrisburg MSA has the fourth lowest rate at 7.6 percent.

The Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor force in Pennsylvania with 417,000 civilians. The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor force at 2,953,000 with 259,100 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor force at 1,218,400 with 96,500 without jobs; the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA has the fourth largest labor force in Pennsylvania at 282,400 civilians with 26,700 without jobs; and the Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA has the fifth largest civilian labor force at 282,200 with 23,500 without employment.

Lehigh County has the lowest unemployment rate within the MSA at 9.1 percent, decreasing by five-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report and dropping by six-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months ago. Lehigh County has a civilian labor force of 175,300. There are 15,900 Lehigh County residents without jobs, decreasing by 1,100 from the previous report.

Carbon County has the highest unemployment rate in the MSA at 10.4 percent, decreasing by six-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report and decreasing by one full percentage point from twelve months ago. Carbon County has a civilian labor force of 31,000 with 3,200 residents without jobs, decreasing by 300 from the previous report.

Northampton County unemployment rate is 9.2 percent, decreasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report and decreasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months ago. Northampton County has a civilian labor force of 151,000. There are 13,800 Northampton County residents without jobs, decreasing by 300 from the previous report.