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Former union member Vito DeLuca seeking Luzerne County Judicial seat

05.06.11

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

Former union member Vito DeLuca seeking Luzerne County Judicial seat

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 30th- Attorney Vito DeLuca told the newspaper he was raised in a union household, was a member of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 401 while employed as a part-time public defender for Luzerne County, and is hopeful the labor community will support him in the judicial race for one of the six open seats on the Court of Common Pleas.

Mr. DeLuca told the newspaper he was a member of Local 401, which represents the approximately 50 Luzerne County assistant district attorneys and public defenders, for more than three years.

“Many in my family are union members,” said Mr. DeLuca.

He stated his father was a union member of the International Brotherhood of Carpenters Union for more than 30 years. He was also a member of the Cement Masons and Plasterers Union Local 592. His grandfather was a member of the Laborers’ Union Local 215 for more than 40 years. He said his uncle, brother of his father, was a member of Carpenters Union Local 645, formerly Local 514 in Wilkes-Barre.

Mr. DeLuca, 43, was born and raised in Nanticoke and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law in 1993.

He has served as a solicitor for several municipal governments throughout Luzerne County and has his own lawfirm in Nanticoke.

Vito DeLuca is the chief solicitor for the Luzerne County Commissioners, which is currently led by three elected officials, however beginning in January 2012, because of the new home-rule charter, there will be 12 part-time county council members.

Mr. DeLuca was one of the individuals that campaigned against the passage of the home-rule charter.

Utility Workers Union files complaint against Water Company

05.06.11

APRIL 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, March 14th- The labor organization that represents workers at the Pennsylvania American Water Company, 100 North Pennsylvania Avenue in Wilkes-Barre, filed a labor complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia alleging the 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 of Washington, Pennsylvania represents approximately 160 production and maintenance workers of the public utility company that provides water service to customers in Pennsylvania, including Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties.

The Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge was filed on February 22nd, 2011 by Pittsburgh Attorney Samuel J. Pasquarelli.

“Since on or about December 29th, 2010, the employer has refused to bargain collectively with the charging party, which charging party is the certified collective bargaining representative of the employer’s production and maintence employees for the employer’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pennsylvania operation, in that on and after said date, the employer, through its designated representatives, has refused to provide requested information to the charging party, which is needed for the charging party to engage in collective bargaining negotiations with the employer relative to a labor contract existent between the employer and the charging party,” states the complaint.

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

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EDITOR’S NOTE: I apologize to our readers for the delay in getting these April stories posted. A close friend and business associate passed away suddenly and I have been very distracted dealing with the aftermath. Besides the emotional loss, this has created a serious cash-flow crisis in my business until the estate gets settled. I had to deal with this immediately. Over the next few days, I will get all these April Union News stories posted.

Researcher finds right-to-work laws also jeopardize workers safety on the job

05.06.11

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

Researcher finds right-to-work laws also jeopardize workers safety on the job

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, April 14th- According to a University of Michigan researcher, right-to-work laws not only hurt labor unions financially, they also jeopardize worker safety.

Right-to-work laws are found predominantly in the southern and western United States but recently the legislation has become an issue because former Lehigh Valley House of Representative and current United States Republican Senator from Pennsylvania Pat Tooney announced he supports passage of national right-to-work legislation.

Right-to-work legislation would prohibit contract language in labor agreements that makes joining a union a condition of employment. Often, after an employee serves a probationary period usually between 30 and 90 days, the employee must join the union or be dismissed.

There are 22 states that prohibit any contract language that forces union membership as a condition of employment.

New research by Richard Zullo of the University of Michigan Institute for Research of Labor, Employment and Economy shows that right-to-work laws result in the underfunding of safety training and accident-prevention activities.

“Several states are currently considering adopting right-to-work laws, (including Pennsylvania) but passing these laws may have the unintended consequence of elevating workplace fatalities. States attempting to reduce worker fatalities should consider encouraging trade union growth and repealing right-to-work laws,” stated Mr. Zullo.

Mr. Zullo explained that right-to-work laws enable workers at union companies to forgo paying union dues if they object. These workers, however, still enjoy the same benefits and protections that dues-paying members receive.

Mr. Zullo examined construction industry and occupation fatality rates in all 50 states and the District of Columbia from 2001 to 2009. Industry fatality rates include people who are not usually members of the building trades, such as drivers, while occupational fatality rates include people in the building trades who are not employed in the construction industry, for example in local government.

He found that the rate of industry fatalities is 40 percent higher and the rate of occupational fatalities is 34 percent greater in right-to-work states. Mr. Zullo acknowledges that these numbers alone fall short of testing whether right-to-work laws are responsible for the relatively high fatality rates.

Using statistical analysis, Mr. Zullo tested whether state-level unionization is related to industry or occupational fatality rates and if so the extent to which the association between unionization and fatalities relate to right-to-work laws.

According to the results higher union density in a state equals higher worker safety, a finding consistent with the view that unions act to protect member safety. A 1 percent increase in union density equates with a 0.12 percent decline in the industry fatality ratio and a 0.22 percent decline in the ratio of occupation fatalities.