Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

“Sam Bianco Memorial Golf Tournament” to be held on August 20th

07.31.11

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

“Sam Bianco Memorial Golf Tournament” to be held on August 20th

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, July 2nd- The “Sam Bianco Memorial Scholarship Golf Tournament” will be held at the Sugarloaf Golf Club in Sugarloaf, Luzerne County.

The Greater Wilkes-Barre Labor Council labor federation recently created the tournament to honor Mr. Bianco, who died last fall.

Ed Harry, President of the labor organization who replaced Mr. Bianco following his death, stated the event will be held annually with the financial proceeds going toward helping sons and daughters of union members pay for college tuition.

The first tournament will be held on August 20th at noon with registration beginning at 11:00 am. The cost is $75.00 per golfer, with the price including golf, food and prizes.

Anyone wanting to attend the event or wishing to sponsor a hole can contact Mr. Harry at (570) 823-6716 or make a check payable to the Sam Bianco Memorial Scholarship Fund and mail to the Greater Wilkes-Barre Labor Council at 501 E. Main Street in Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702.

Also anyone with any questions can call Mr. “big John” Rusak at 1-(800) 635-6994, extension 305.

Mr. Bianco served as President of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Labor Council, which is affiliated with the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) in Washington DC, from 1978 to September 28th, 2010 when he passed away from complications related to cancer. He was 88 years old.

Mr. Bianco was a retired District Manager of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU).

Also, Mr. Bianco represented labor on numerous boards and committees throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania.

SEIU files labor complaints against nursing home operator

07.31.11

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

SEIU files labor complaints against nursing home operator

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, July 5th- The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Pennsylvania, North 2nd Street in Harrisburg, filed multiple labor complaint’s with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia alleging a nursing home operator in Northeastern Pennsylvania violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

The SEIU filed a Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) complaint on May 26th, 2011 and again on June 22nd, 2011 against a nursing home operator in Lake Ariel.

The SEIU filed the ULP’s against Brighten & Julia Ribaudo, Golf Park Drive in Lake Ariel, alleging the nursing home operator violated Section 8 (a)(5) of the NLRAct.

According to the complaints, which were reviewed by the newspaper, the SEIU represents approximately 140 workers employed at the nursing home facility.

“Since on or about March 22nd, 2011, and at all times thereafter, the above named employer, by its officers, agents, and representatives, has by refusing to execute a negotiated Collective Bargaining Agreemnt, failed and refused to bargain collectively and in good faith with SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, a labor organization, designated or selected by a majority of the employees of said employer in an appropriate unit for the purposes of collective bargaining in respect to rates of pay, wages, hours of employment, and other conditions of employment,” states the May 26th complaint.

The ULP’s were filed on behalf of the Union by Kevin Hefty, indentified on the complaints as a union official in Harrisburg.

The complaint filed on June 22nd, 2011 alleges the nursing home operator imposed terms and conditions of employment on union members several months after taking control of the facility.

“Since on or about June 1st, 2011, and at all times thereafter, the above named Employer, has by unilaterally imposing initial terms and conditions of employment three months after taking control of the facility, failed and refused to bargain collectively and in good faith with SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania,” the ULP states.

Sheet Metal Workers Local 19 files several complaint’s

07.31.11

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

Sheet Metal Workers Local 19 files several complaint’s

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, July 15th- Labor complaints were filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia by the International Association of Sheet Metal Workers Union Local 19 alleging several Lehigh Valley employers violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct) .

The newspaper discovered the Unfair Labor Practice’s (ULP’s) while reviewing complaints and petitions filed at the NLRB office in Philadelphia.

Local 19, Columbus Boulevard in Philadelphia, which represents Sheet Metal Workers Union members throughout the Lehigh Valley, filed a ULP against Accelerate Business Resources, of Macungie, alleging the company violated section 8 (a)(1) and 8 (a)(3) of the NLRAct.

“On or about July 1st, 2011, the above named employer, by its officers, agents, and representatives, failed to consider for employment William Dorward because of his membership in, and activities on behalf of, Sheet Metal Workers Local Union #19. At all times since said date and for the afore said reasons, the said employer has failed to, and does now fail to, consider William Dorward for employment,” states the complaint.

The ULP was filed on behalf of the union by Andrew Gniewek on July 11th, 2011. Mr. Gniewek position with the Sheet Metal Workers is not indentified on the ULP.

According to the ULP, Accelerate Business Resources operates a employment service agency. The company representative named to be contacted on the complaint is Denise Oxford.

The second ULP was also filed by Mr. Gniewek on July 11th, 2011. The union filed the complaint against Meisner Services, North Penn Street in Allentown.

The union alleges the same violations of the NLRAct was proformed by Meisner Services as Accelerate Business Resources.

The company representative to be contacted was not indentified on the
labor complaint. Meisner Services provides electrical, heating and air conditioning installation services, states the complaint.

Mr. Dorward is a union organizer for Local 19 and resides in the Lehigh Valley.

‘Pssst. Hotdogs. Ten Bucks Each’

07.29.11

by WALTER BRASCH

“Pssst.”

I walked straight ahead, looking neither right nor left in a darkened alley illuminated by a half-moon.

“Pssst.”

I quickened my pace, but there was no avoiding the shadowy figure.

“Ain’t gonna harm ya. Jus’ wanna sell ya somethin’.”

I hesitated, shaking. Stepping in front of me, he shoved a hotdog under my nose. “Ten bucks each,” he whispered ominously through his throat.

“Ten bucks?!” I asked, astonished at the cost.

“You want it or not?”

With Michele Obama (who chose to attack obesity rather than poverty, worker exploitation, or even hunger and malnutrition), supported by publicity-hungry legislators, hotdogs were the latest feel-good food to come under assault. A medical association whose members are vegans had spent $2,750 to place a billboard message near the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The picture showed four grilled hot dogs sticking out of a cigarette box that had a skull and crossbones symbol on its face. An oversized label next to the box informed motorists and fans of the upcoming Brickyard 400, “Warning: Hot dogs can wreck your health.” The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine claimed that just one hot dog eaten daily increased the risk of colorectal cancer by 21 percent.

The Committee isn’t the only one destroying Americans’ rights to eat junk food. The Center for Science in the Public Interest, which seems to come up with a new toxic food every year, once declared theatre popcorn unhealthy. Many schools banned soda machines. Back in 2011, McDonald’s reduced the number of french fries in its Happy Meal and substituted a half-order of some abomination known as applies. Even cigarette company executives, trying to look professorial at a Congressional hearing, once said that smoking cigarettes wasn’t any worse than eating Twinkies. However, smoking a Twinkie could cause heart and lung diseases, cancer, and diabetes.

Nevertheless, in Michele Obama’s second term as First Anti-Fat Lady, I was desperate for my daily fix of hot dogs, and my would-be supplier knew it. I leaped at my stalking shadowy figure with the miracle junk.

“Not so fast!” he growled, pulling the hotdog away. “Let’s see your bread.”

“I don’t have any bread,” I pleaded. “Not since a zoologist at Penn concluded that hummingbirds that ate two loaves of bread a day got constipation.”

“Not that bread, turkey! Bread! Lettuce!”

“I haven’t eaten lettuce in three years since the government banned it for having too many pesticides, and the heads that remained were eaten by pests.”

The man closed his trench coat and began to leave.

“Wait!” I pleaded, digging into my pockets. “I’ve got change.”

He laughed, contemptuously. “That’s not even coffee money.”

“I don’t drink coffee,” I mumbled. “Not since the government arrested Juan Valdez and his donkey for being unhealthy influences on impressionable minds.”

I grabbed for his supply of hotdogs, each disguised in a plain brown wrapper, each more valuable than a banned rap record. He again pulled them away.

“I ain’t no Salvation Army. You want ’dogs, you pay for ’dogs. I got thousands who will.”

“I need a fix. You can’t let me die out here on the streets.”

“If it was just me, I’d do it. But there’s the boys. They keep the records. If I give you a ’dog and bun, and don’t get no money, they’ll break two of my favorite fingers. I don’t cross nobody. And I don’t give it away.”

“Please,” I begged. “I need a ’dog. It’s all I have left to live for. I don’t care about colorectal cancer. Without hotdogs, my life is over. You can’t let me die out here on the streets.” He shrugged, and so I suddenly got bold. “Give me a ’dog,” I demanded, “or I’ll tell everyone you have the stuff. You won’t be able to meet the demand. The masses will tear you apart like a plump frank.”

“You wouldn’t do that to a guy just trying to make a buck, would you?”

“Two ’dogs with mustard and onions, and I keep my mouth shut. No ’dogs and I scream like a fire engine.” He had no choice.

Walking away, he stopped, turned back, and called after me—“Tomorrow. This corner. This time. Two ’dogs. Twenty bucks. I’ll see you every night.”

I didn’t reply. He knew he had me.

[Rosemary Brasch, who likes hotdogs, assisted on this column. Walter Brasch says he prefers hamburgers, but will defend to the death the right of Americans to eat what they want. His latest book is Before the First Snow, a look at a part of America, as seen by a “flower child” and the reporter who covered her story for more than three decades, beginning in the 1960s.]

IBT Union Local 401 unsure if they represent Luzerne County workers

07.26.11

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

IBT Union Local 401 unsure if they represent Luzerne County workers

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, July 2nd- The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 401, South Washington Street in Wilkes-Barre, is not yet sure if they were successful in organizing workers of a Luzerne County employer.

The newspaper reported in the previous edition that Local 401 filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia requesting the agency conduct an election to determine if employees of Alexandria Northeast, Lasley Avenue, Hanover Industrial Estates in Wilkes-Barre, wanted to be represented by the union for the purposed of collective bargaining.

The union requested on the petition that all full-time and regular part-time warehouse employees including, but not limited to, laborers, forklift drivers, leadmen, and stockers by the employer be allowed to participate in the election.

Workers of the company were previously represented by the Teamsters Union until several years ago.

According to James Murphy, President and Business Representative of Local 401, who also filed the petition on behalf of the union, approximately 30 percent of the current workforce were employed by the company when the union represented the workers.

He stated the employees indicated company officials renegeed on several verbal commitments made after the union was removed.

The NLRB conducted the election on June 22nd. The workers voted 11 for the union to 10 against. However, there was one vote challenge therefore, the vote is considered undetermined pending a ruling by the NLRB on the challenged vote.

A labor organization must receive 50 percent plus one of the participating eligible to vote employees to become their bargaining representative.

Carpenters Union officer wins labor community award

07.26.11

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

Carpenters Union officer wins labor community award

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, July 5th- The United Way of Lackawanna County awarded the International Brotherhood of Carpenters Union Local 645 in Scranton Representative Drew Simpson the 2011 William Cockerill Sr. award.

According to Bill Cockerill Jr., son of the late labor leader and the United Way of Lackawanna County Labor Liaison, the go-between the labor community and the community organization, Mr. Simpson is a fine example of the partnership organized labor and the United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties have for people of the community.

“The Carpenters Union has been a partner of the United Way for many years, cooperating with the building trades they help students having an interest in the building trades for the pre-apprenticeship program administered by the Northeast Pennsylvania Labor Management Committee.

Mr. Simpson has been active with the Annual Campaign for over 10 years, and has acted as team captain for the General Contractors Division, Labor Co-Chair and as a Labor Representative on the United Way’s Board of Directors,” stated Mr. Cockerill.

Mr. Cockerill added that Drew Simpson’s commitment and the commitment of the Carpenters Union to the United Way is “true and real.”

“As a Local Union, they continue to support the United Way, continue to support our member agencies and continue their community involvement. It gives me great pleasure to add Mr. Simpson to our list of distinguished labor volunteers,” addded Mr. Cockerill.

Union Proposes Hot Dog Sale to Protest Tax Breaks

07.26.11

Union Proposes Hot Dog Sale to Protest Tax Breaks

By Kristina Peterson

A pair of union leaders in West Virginia announced their own plan to help cut the budget deficit and protest at the same time – by selling hot dogs.

The AFL-CIO’s West Virginia President Kenny Purdue and Secretary-Treasurer Larry Matheney announced the “Help the Really Rich Hot Dog Sales” in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio) this week. The stunt is to protest GOP efforts not to raise taxes as part of any deficit-reduction deal.

In the wrangling over the debt ceiling, Democrats and Republicans have clashed repeatedly over whether to end the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest taxpayers, and over narrow tax breaks for owners of corporate jets and yachts, among other proposals….

Read the rest of this article at the link below

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2011/07/21/union-proposes-hot-dog-sale-to-protest-tax-breaks/?fb_ref=article_top&fb_source=profile_oneline

“Sam Bianco Memorial Golf Tournament” to be held on August 20th

07.24.11

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

“Sam Bianco Memorial Golf Tournament” to be held on August 20th

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, July 2nd- The “Sam Bianco Memorial Scholarship Golf Tournament” will be held at the Sugarloaf Golf Club in Sugarloaf, Luzerne County.

The Greater Wilkes-Barre Labor Council labor federation recently created the tournament to honor Mr. Bianco, who died last fall.

Ed Harry, President of the labor organization who replaced Mr. Bianco following his death, stated the event will be held annually with the financial proceeds going toward helping sons and daughters of union members pay for college tuition.

The first tournament will be held on August 20th at noon with registration beginning at 11:00 am. The cost is $75.00 per golfer, with the price including golf, food and prizes.

Anyone wanting to attend the event or wishing to sponsor a hole can contact Mr. Harry at (570) 823-6716 or make a check payable to the Sam Bianco Memorial Scholarship Fund and mail to the Greater Wilkes-Barre Labor Council at 501 E. Main Street in Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702.

Also anyone with any questions can call Mr. “big John” Rusak at 1-(800) 635-6994, extension 305.

Mr. Bianco served as President of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Labor Council, which is affiliated with the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) in Washington DC, from 1978 to September 28th, 2010 when he passed away from complications related to cancer. He was 88 years old.

Mr. Bianco was a retired District Manager of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU).

Also, Mr. Bianco represented labor on numerous boards and committees throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania.

SEIU files labor complaints against nursing home operator

07.24.11

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

SEIU files labor complaints against nursing home operator

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, July 5th- The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Pennsylvania, North 2nd Street in Harrisburg, filed multiple labor complaint’s with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia alleging a nursing home operator in Northeastern Pennsylvania violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

The SEIU filed a Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) complaint on May 26th, 2011 and again on June 22nd, 2011 against a nursing home operator in Lake Ariel.

The SEIU filed the ULP’s against Brighten & Julia Ribaudo, Golf Park Drive in Lake Ariel, alleging the nursing home operator violated Section 8 (a)(5) of the NLRAct.

According to the complaints, which were reviewed by the newspaper, the SEIU represents approximately 140 workers employed at the nursing home facility.

“Since on or about March 22nd, 2011, and at all times thereafter, the above named employer, by its officers, agents, and representatives, has by refusing to execute a negotiated Collective Bargaining Agreemnt, failed and refused to bargain collectively and in good faith with SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, a labor organization, designated or selected by a majority of the employees of said employer in an appropriate unit for the purposes of collective bargaining in respect to rates of pay, wages, hours of employment, and other conditions of employment,” states the May 26th complaint.

The ULP’s were filed on behalf of the Union by Kevin Hefty, indentified on the complaints as a union official in Harrisburg.

The complaint filed on June 22nd, 2011 alleges the nursing home operator imposed terms and conditions of employment on union members several months after taking control of the facility.

“Since on or about June 1st, 2011, and at all times thereafter, the above named Employer, has by unilaterally imposing initial terms and conditions of employment three months after taking control of the facility, failed and refused to bargain collectively and in good faith with SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania,” the ULP states.

Offset Paperback employee files labor complaint’s

07.24.11

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

Offset Paperback employee files labor complaint’s

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, June 28th- A member of the union that represents workers at a Luzerne County employer filed several labor complaints with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia alleging both her Employer and Union have violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

The newspaper discovered the Unfair Labor Practice’s (ULP’s) while reviewing complaints and petitions filed at the NLRB office in Philadelphia.

On May 23rd, 2011, Bobbie Jo Stonier of Tunkhannock, a member of the Graphic Communications Conference/International Brotherhood of Teamsters (GCC/IBT) Union Local 137C, which represents approximately 250 workers of Offset Paperback Manufacturers in Dallas, Luzerne County, filed a complaint against Local 137C alleging the Union has retaliated against employees because she filed a charge against the Union on March 25th, 2011. Offset operates a paperback book printing facility on Route 309 in Dallas.

The ULP alleges the Union by its agents has coerced employees in the exercise of their rights under the NLRAct by:

(a) telling employees that only union officials could talk about union business;
(b) prohibiting employees from discussing union business;
(c) polling employees in the prepress department in a coercive fashion concerning their support for union officials;
(d) threatening that employees would get themselves fired for raising complaints and filing grievances concerning the Employer’s alleged ongoing practices in the Digital Print Services department.

Ms. Stonier alleges her “Union has knowledge that the Employer has been in violation of the contract in Digital Print Services. However, the Union has taken no action despite employees’ complaints, and has condoned the Employers’ violation of the contract, and has made derogatory comments about women who have raised complaints,” states the ULP.

On June 8th, 2011, Ms. Stonier filed a ULP against Offset Paperback Manufacturers alleging her Employer violated the NLRAct because she requested that her Union get involved with her grievance with the company.

“On or about May 27th, 2011, the Employer issued a written warning to Bobbie Jo Stonier because she sought assistance from GCC/IBT Local 137C and from the NLRB,” states the complaint.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA’s unemployment rate increases and remains the highest

07.24.11

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

MSA’s unemployment rate increases and remains the highest

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, June 30th- According to labor data provided by the Pennsylvania, Department of Labor and Industry, the region’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 8.7 percent, increasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report, which was released approximately four weeks before. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wyoming Counties. Twelve months ago the unemployment rate for the region was 9.8 percent.

The unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 7.4 percent, decreasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted civilian labor force of 6,344,000 with 471,000 not working and 5,873,000 with employment. The national unemployment rate is 9.1 percent, increasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report.

The unemployment rate does not include civilians who unemployment benefits have expired and stopped looking for work.

There are 13,914,000 civilians in the nation reported to be unemployed. That number does not include civilians that have exhausted their unemployment benefits and have stopped looking for work. There are actually at least 18,000,000 civilians in the nation without jobs.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA has the fourth largest labor force in Pennsylvania with 280,600 civilians. The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor force at 2,944,300 with 246,800 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor force at 1,218,200 with 84,900 without jobs; the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor force at 417,800 with 35,200 not working; and the Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA has the fifth largest civilian labor force at 278,100 with 19,200 without employment.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA continues to have the highest unemployment rate among the 14 MSA’s within Pennsylvania. There are 24,500 residents, increasing by 900 from the previous report and dropping by 2,500 from twelve months ago, reported to be not working in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA.

The Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA and the Philadelphia MSA are tied for the second highest unemployment rate at 8.4 percent with the Johnstown MSA the third highest unemployment at 8.2 percent.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 5.5 percent. The Lebanon MSA has the second lowest unemployment rate in the state at 6.1 percent. The Lancaster MSA has the third lowest unemployment rate at 6.4 percent with the Altoona MSA fourth at 6.6 percent.

Lackawanna County has the lowest unemployment rate within the MSA at 8.6 percent, increasing by two-tenths of the percentage point from the previous report and dropping by six-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months ago. There are 9,200 civilians in Lackawanna County without employment, increasing by 300 from the previous report. Lackawanna County has a civilian labor-force of 106,700.

Wyoming County has the highest unemployment rate in the MSA at 9.1 percent, decreasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report and dropping by two-tenths of a percentage point during the past twelve months. Wyoming County has 1,300 civilians of the labor force without employment, unchanged from the previous report and during the past twelve months.

Luzerne County has a unemployment rate of 8.8 percent, increasing by three-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report and dropping by one and two-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months before. Luzerne County has the largest civilian labor-force in the MSA at 159,500, increasing by 800 from the previous report and rising by 100 during the past twelve months.

Goods producing industries increased 400 jobs during the past four-weeks while leisure and hospitality jobs gained 1,100 due to the seasonal hiring at restaurants and outdoor recreational businesses.

‘10 Commandments Judge’ Running for the Presidency

07.23.11

by Walter Brasch

The chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who was removed from office for defying the Constitution and a federal court order is one of 14 major candidates running for the Republican nomination for the presidency.

Alabama’s Court of the Judiciary unanimously had ordered Roy S. Moore removed from office in November 2003 after he refused to remove from the judiciary building rotunda a 5,280 pound granite monument to the Ten Commandments. Around its base were extracts from the Declaration of Independence, quotes from the Founding Fathers, and the National Anthem. The three foot square by four foot tall monument was funded by private contributions.

As circuit judge, Moore had placed onto the wall of his courtroom a wooden Ten Commandments plaque he had carved, and opened each court session with a Protestant prayer. He also had defied a Circuit Court ruling to remove the plaque and to cease prayers. A suit filed in the Alabama Supreme Court was dismissed for technical reasons, and Moore said he would continue to hold prayers before court.

His campaign for Chief Justice, supported by the Christian Family Association, was to return “God to our public life and restore the moral foundation of our law.” On July 31, 2001, about six months after he was inaugurated as chief justice, Moore personally supervised the installation of the granite monument, stating that the Supreme Court needed something grander than the wooden plaque in the Circuit Court. In the subsequent lawsuit, Glassroth v. Moore, the chief justice, using the words of the Alabama Constitution, argued “in order to establish justice we must invoke ‘the favor and guidance of almighty God.’” The Ten Commandments, he said, are the “moral foundation” of American law; the presence of the monument recognizes “the sovereignty of God.” What Moore didn’t state is that Exodus and Deuteronomy have different versions, and subsequent Christian religions have at least three versions. It is a Protestant version that was carved into the granite.

The federal court ruled that placement of the monument, and Moore’s repeated statements that the monument represented God’s sovereignty over all matters judicial and moral, violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. That decision was upheld by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

With strong popular support, Moore said not only were the courts’ rulings illegal, but that he would continue to defy them. Moore frequently cited the Alabama Constitution that justice was determined by “involving the favor and guidance of Almighty God.” The message sent to the citizens was that it’s acceptable to disregard two centuries of legal history that gave the federal constitution supremacy over states, and to violate federal law if you disagree with it. For a citizen to do so carries penalties; for a judge to do so carries removal from office.

Reflecting upon the case, Moore told rockthecapital.com that even eight years after his removal from office, he “would still make the same decision.” The role of government, says Moore, “is to secure those rights that [a Christian] God has given us.”

He says that while he supports religious diversity, the “source of our morality stems from our belief in a god, and a specific god.” However, in his Dec. 13, 2006, column for WorldNetDaily, Moore stated that Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), a Muslim, should be denied the right to hold office because “in the midst of a war with Islamic terrorists we should not place someone in a position of great power who shares their doctrine.”

Roy Moore says he is running for the presidency because “there’s a need for leadership in the country,” and neither President Obama nor the leaders of both parties in Congress are providing that leadership. “Petty politics,” he says, are taking precedence over the needs of the country. “We can’t get anything done,” he says, “because decisions are [made] not what’s good for the country but what is good for the party.”

Moore identifies a weak economy as “the foremost problem today.” The nation “is going the wrong way,” he says. He acknowledges that much of the problem came under the Bush–Cheney Administration, “but was increased by Obama.” Although the Republicans propose cutting critical social programs rather than raising the debt ceiling, every Congressional leader, Democrat and Republican, voted to increase the debt ceiling during the past decade, with the highest increases under Republican presidents: Ronald Reagan (189%), George H.W. Bush (55%), and George W. Bush (86%). In Bill Clinton’s two terms. The debt ceiling was increased only 37 percent; Barack Obama is asking for a 35 percent increase.

Moore, a “states’ rights” advocate, shares the views of most conservative candidates for the Presidency. Among those views are:

● the federal income tax should be abolished.

● Abortion, for any reason, should not have federal funds because not only does it “contradict the right to life contained in the organic law of our country,” it violates the 14th Amendment.

● People should “have the right to choose their own employment,” instead of having to join unions. Therefore, says Moore, all states should have “right-to-work” laws. If Moore’s vision is enacted, these laws would effectively cripple unions from representing the workers.

● Same sex marriage, says Moore, violates the will of God. In one case, while he served as chief justice, he argued that homosexual behavior is “a crime against nature, an inherent evil, and an act so heinous that it defies one’s ability to describe it.”

However, on a couple of issues, his views lean closer to those of liberals. He opposes the nation’s entry into war without Congressional authorization. Moore is a graduate of West Point, who became an MP company commander at the end of the Vietnam War, and then graduated from the University of Alabama law school. He opposes the U.S. intrusion into Libya on both military and legal grounds. “It’s very easy for a president to be sucked into global wars,” he says, “but it’s not our goal to go over there [Libya] and take out a leader just because we don’t like him.” Unlike many Republicans, he acknowledges that the Libyan attack, like the U.S. invasion of Iraq under the Bush–Cheney Administration, should have had Congressional approval under the War Powers Act of 1973.

Moore, who owns horses—he once spent a year as a cowboy in Australia working for a fundamentalist Christian—believes that the dwindling population of wild horses and burros in the Southwest, and all wild animals, should be protected. Both the Bush–Cheney and Obama administrations have failed to do so, often influenced by the cattle and meat industry.

Moore, near the bottom of the pack in the polls, probably won’t become the Republican nominee. But, unlike some conservative candidates, he doesn’t parade his religious beliefs to gain votes. He lives the life of his religious convictions, and isn’t afraid to make sure everyone knows what they are, especially when they provide the base for his political and judicial views.

[Brasch is an award-winning social issues columnist. His current book is Before the First Snow, a look at the nation’s counterculture and social problems, as seen through the eyes of a “flower child” and the reporter who covered her story for more than three decades.]

Posting this Blog

07.21.11

If interested in posting this blog, please send me an email that tells me about yourself and your association with or attitudes toward the labor movement. Send emails to demlabor@aol.com.

Sorry but robot registrations from spammers got out of control.

In Solidarity,

Stephen Crockett

Editor & Founder, Mid-Atlantic Labor.com

Our Hope for Change is Still Not Fulfilled

07.15.11


By WALTER BRASCH

After significant compromise with the recalcitrant Republicans who want to continue to give the wealthy tax advantages while cutting significant social programs, President Obama has finally taken a stand on debt ceiling negotiations. However, in labor, wildlife management, and the environment he is still compromising rather than coming out forcefully for the principles he and the working class believes.

The Republican presidential candidates have torn into the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for a recent decision supporting organized labor. Mitt Romney claimed President Obama packed the NLRB with “union stooges.” Newt Gingrich wants Congress to remove all NLRB funds and President Obama to stop the NLRB actions. Tim Pawlenty called the decision “preposterous.” Michele Bachman not only said the NLRB is “way out of bounds,” but declared if she were president she would appoint “free-market conservatives who believe in job growth,” thus making the NLRB a political arm of her beliefs rather than the independent agency that was created to protect workers from management exploitation.

Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who isn’t a presidential candidate but is strongly anti-union, declared the decision “is nothing more than a political favor for the unions who are supporting President Obama’s re-election campaign.” Other Republican senators have claimed they will block the nomination of NLRB acting general counsel Lafe Solomon to a permanent post.

At issue is an NLRB decision that Boeing violated federal law by trying to stop a production line in its Seattle-area plant that manufactures the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and opening a new facility in South Carolina, an anti-union “right-to-work” state. The NLRB agreed with a complaint filed by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) that Boeing’s decisions was retaliation for the actions of the Seattle workers. In both public and internal memos, Boeing stated it didn’t wish to deal with unionized workers in Seattle. The NLRB suit is currently in federal court.

At a recent press conference, President Obama sidestepped support for both the NLRB and unions by claiming, “I don’t know all the facts,” and that he didn’t wish to interfere in the process. However, he did state that corporations “need to have the freedom to relocate . . . . and if they’re choosing to relocate here in the United States, that’s a good thing.”

When Barack Obama was campaigning for the presidency, he promised to support the working class. If there was a picket line, or if the workers were being threatened, he promised to “put on a comfortable pair of shoes” and walk side by side with them.

That has not happened. He never spoke out in defense of the workers in Seattle during their two year fight against Boeing, nor after they filed their complaint in April. Nor has the President given support to the millions of of citizens in several states where conservative governors and legislatures have launched campaigns to break unions, while giving special benefits to the business and executive classes.

Giving Mr. Obama the widest possible excuse, perhaps the Secret Service declared it would be dangerous for a president to be in a crowd of protestors, no matter how peaceful it is.

But, there is no excuse for President Obama’s weak record on environmental and wildlife protection, something he placed high on his list as a candidate, but failed to defend as president.

Strong words as a candidate turned to “compromise” and then near-abandonment when confronted by extremists who refuse to read or understand any of thousands of studies about the effects of global warming.

To please the oil lobby, the same one that dominated the previous administration, President Obama approved deep-water drilling – just weeks before the BP oil disaster in the Gulf coast. And then, months after the disaster approved continued deep water drilling.

His wildlife management policies, while based on good intentions, are not something he has rolled upon his sleeves to fight for.

Confronted by the cattle industry lobby, which believes 10,000 wild horses and burros are threats to the existence of more than 92 million cattle, President Obama has virtually abandoned protection of the few wild horses and burros left in the country.

And now his Department of the Interior is about to allow Wyoming to begin the wanton killing of gray wolves, including pups in dens, outside of Yellowstone national park.

The plan yields to extremists who see wolves as threats to cattle. But, numerous research studies show that wolves seldom attack cattle. And, when they do, the government pays the rancher, even if the steer is new born or headed to a slaughterhouse the next day. But the cattle industry is as dominant in American politics as is the NRA.

And that leaves hunters. Wolves cull the weakest animals from the herd. And that’s the problem. There are only 5,000 wolves in the continental United States. But a few million hunters see the wolf as competitors for 20 million deer, 250,000 moose, or any animal that can be killed and then mounted as a trophy in someone’s den.

Although the mean-spirited and uncompromising vindictiveness of the ultra-right has blocked much progress, it is the President’s own actions in labor, environment, and wildlife that have deteriorated into compromise and retreat. His inability to defend the principles he believes and campaigned for threatens any chance he will be remembered as a great president.

[Walter Brasch is an award-winning syndicated social issues journalist. His current book, Before the First Snow, looks at an energy company that lures citizen consent because of jobs in a depressed economy, but which may threaten health, safety, and environment.]

Utility Workers Union files complaint against UGI

07.13.11

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

Utility Workers Union files complaint against UGI

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION- June 24th- The Utility Workers of America (UWUA) Union filed a labor complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia alleging a Luzerne County employer violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

According to the Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge, which was reviewed by the newspaper, the Union alleges UGI Penn Natutal Gas company, 1 UGI Center in Wilkes-Barre, violated Section 8 (a), subsections (1) and (5) of the NLRAct.

According to the ULP, which was filed on behalf of the union by Thomas Shorts, who is indentified on the complaint as President of the UWUA Local 406, which represents workers employed by UGI in and around Luzerne County, the company is a public utility that provides natural gas to customers throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The Employer representative named on the ULP to be contacted is John Bederus, Vice President of the Human Resources for UGI.

UGI Penn Natural Gas workers employed in and around Lackawanna County have a separate contract agreement with UGI and are represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union.

The complaint alleges UGI violated the NLRAct by failing to respond to request by the Union for information regarding possible disciplinary action against a member of the bargaining unit.

The ULP was filed because of UGI’s “failure to supply information related to possible disciplinary action relating to employee Wayne Hetzel,” states the complaint.

The complaint was filed on May 22nd, 2011 and is currently under investigation by the NLRB.

SEIU member files complaint against his Employer

07.13.11

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

SEIU member files complaint against his Employer

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, June 25th- A member of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Healthcare Pennsylvania Union in Harrisburg, filed a labor complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia alleging his Employer violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

The Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge was filed on June 9th, 2011 at the NLRB office.

According to the complaint, which was reviewed by the newspaper, Peter Demarco, North 3rd Street in West Hazleton, filed the Unfair Labor Practice on behalf of himself alleging his employer, Mountain City Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Hazle Township Boulevard in Hazle Township in Luzerne County, violated the NLRAct after they suspended and later terminated him.

“The Employer violated the NLRA when it suspended employee and SEIU Health PA Secretary Peter Demarco on April 25th, 2011, when it violated Demarco’s Weingarten rights on April 25th, 2011, and when it discharged Demarco on May 16th because Demarco engaged in union and protected concerted activities,” states the complaint.

According to information Mr. Demarco provided on the ULP, the SEIU represents approximately 240 workers employed by Mountain City Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, which operates a nursing home at the Hazle Township facility.

The Employer representative named on the ULP to be contacted is Mary Ann Chaklos. Her position with the Employer is not indentified on the labor complaint.

The NLRB told the newspaper the ULP is under investigation.

Attempt to ban project labor agreements and hurt prevailing wage laws fails

07.10.11

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

Attempt to ban project labor agreements and hurt prevailing wage laws fails

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, June 20th- The House of Representatives in Washington DC, voted on June 13th to reject the banning of Project Labor Agreements (PLA’s) being signed with labor unions that represent building and construction workers on federal projects.

A PLA is a comprehensive agreement signed by a builder and local craft unions under which a defined construction project is agreed to be completed by workers from local union halls, in return for the union’s guarantee of no strikes, a steady labor supply, and general labor peace. Under a PLA, a nonunion contractor could still be hired for a project, however, if they are selected, local unionized workers must be hired.

The June 13th vote was the third time the House of Representatives rejected the attempt of anti-union legislators, mostly Republicans, to prohibit the federal government from considering the use of a PLA’s.

According to Mark Ayers, President of the Building and Construction Trades Department of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) in Washington, DC, for the third time in three months, the misguided legislators were defeated in their attempt to prohibit PLA’s.

“The United States House of Representatives voted to reject a misguided attempt to prohibit the federal government from even considering the utilization of project labor agreements as a means to achieve increased productivity and cost efficiencies, while also dismissing a move to strip prevailing wage protections for American construction workers,” stated Mr. Ayers.

The legislation was defeated after a bi-partisan majority emerged to support PLA’s and Davis-Bacon Prevailing wage standards. There were 27 Republican representatives that voted to reject the legislation and 54 GOP members that voted to support Davis-Bacon, which did not include Congressman Charlie Dent.

Lehigh Valley unemployment rate drops to 8.2 percent

07.10.11

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

Lehigh Valley unemployment rate drops to 8.2 percent

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, June 16th- 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 8.2 percent, decreasing by one-tenth 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 9.4 percent.

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

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA has the highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 8.4 percent. The Johnstown MSA has the third highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 8.1 percent with the Erie MSA fourth at 7.6 percent.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 7.5 percent, decreasing by three-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report, which was released approximately four weeks ago. There are 477,000 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 5,879,000 of them have employment. The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was reported to be 9.0 percent, increasing by two-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 13,747,000 residents nationally unemployed but counting workers that have exhausted their unemployment benefits or have been unable to find full-time work there are more than 19.1 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 5.5 percent, increasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. The Lebanon MSA has the second lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 6.1 percent and the Lansaster MSA has the third lowest unemployment rate at 6.3 percent. The Altoona MSA has the fourth lowest unemployment rate at 6.4 percent.

The Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor force in Pennsylvania with 419,200 civilians. The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor force at 2,929,400 with 240,000 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor force at 1,209,900 with 82,700 without jobs; the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA has the fourth largest civilian labor force at 279,500 with 23,600 without employment. The Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA has the fifth largest civilian labor force at 278,700 with 18,900 without employment.

Carbon County has the highest unemployment rate in the MSA at 9.3 percent, unchanged from the previous report and decreasing by one and six-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months ago. Carbon County has a civilian labor force of 31,000 with 2,900 residents without jobs, unchanged from the previous report and dropping by 500 from twelve months ago.

Lehigh County and Northampton County are tied for the lowest unemployment rate within the MSA at 8.0 percent.

Northampton County’s unemployment rate decreased by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report and dropped by one and five-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months ago.

Northampton County has a civilian labor force of 152,300. There are 12,200 Northampton County residents without jobs, unchanged from the previous report and dropping by 1,800 during the past twelve months.

Lehigh County has a civilian labor force of 176,100. There are 14,100 Lehigh County residents without jobs, decreasing by 100 from the previous report and dropping by 2,800 from one year ago.

There are 338,400 nonfarm jobs in the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA, increasing by 4,900 from the previous report and rising by 4,200 from twelve months ago. The Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA is ranked third in nonfarm jobs in the commonwealth.

There are 6,000 private jobs in the MSA, decreasing by 300 during the past twelve months.

Retail jobs decreased by 1,500 during the past twelve months. Government jobs declined by 2,100 during the past year with the largest drop coming in local government at 1,300 jobs lost.

The Philadelphia MSA has the most nonfarm jobs in Pennsylvania at 2,704,700 and the Pittsburgh MSA is second at 1,138,700 jobs.

The Lebanon MSA has the fewest nonfarm jobs in Pennsylvania at 50,300 followed by the Williamsport MSA at 52,600 jobs.

Proposed rule changes by NLRB would speed-up union elections

07.10.11

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

Proposed rule changes by NLRB would speed-up union elections

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, June 21st- New stanards proposed by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Washington, DC is being praised by the labor community.

On June 21st the NLRB issued a proposed rule that would potentially remove some of the frivolous litigation that employers use in union elections that often delay when the employees get to vote on whether they want to be union represented for the purpose of collective bargaining.

“In just the first six month of this year, we have witnessed unprecedented assaults of workers’ rights in states across the country. Now, the NLRB is taking a positive step for workers who want to exercise their fundamental right to decide for themselves whether to form a union,” stated Mary Kay Henry, International President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in Washington, DC.

“When Americans want to make their voices heard, whether in state capitols or at work, they should be able to without fear of retaliation.

Don’t be surprised when right-wing politicians and corporate interest groups make outrageous claims about what this rule change would do. They are the same politicians who are attacking workers’ rights around the country and the same corporations that are reaping record profits. America’s economic and tax policies are making them rich and they want to keep them that way,” added Ms. Henry.

Under the new rule, representation elections conducted by the NLRB would be held more quickly from the time a petition is filed requesting the agency hold a election.

Before a labor organization can file a petition requesting a election be conducted by the NLRB at least 30 percent of the employees must support the union.

A labor organization must receive 50 percent plus one of the eligible to vote employees in a NLRB election to win the right to represent them in collective bargaining.

“Although we are still reviewing the proposed new changes from the NLRB, they appear to represent a common sense approach to clean up an outdated system and help ensure that working women and men can make their own choice about whether to form a union.

With the proposal of these new standards, the board is taking a modest step to remove roadblocks and reduce unnecessary and costly litigation, and that’s good news for employers as well as employees. The proposed rule does not address many of the fundamental problems with our labor laws, but it will help bring critically needed fairness and balance to this part of the process,” said Richard Trumka, President of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington DC.

The NLRB stated it will attempt to restructure virtually the entire manner in which representation election cases are handled.

The proposal will substantially reduced the amount of time employees and employers may communicate prior to the election and will limit the hearings on voter eligibility, appropriateness of the unit, and election misconduct.

“It’s time to restore some measure of balance and fairness to the system, starting with making sure workers have the right to vote whether to form a union without unnecessary delay,” added Ms. Henry.

Union continues attempt to represent Casino workers

07.10.11

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

Union continues attempt to represent Casino workers

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, June 22nd- The Law Enforcement Employees Benevolent Association of Catskills, New York, which filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia requesting the agency conduct an election to determine if approximately 84 security guards employed at the Sands Casino in Bethlehem want to be represented by the union for the purpose of collective bargaining, is waiting for a date for the election.

In the previous edition of the newspaper, it was a reported that the union filed the petition on May 10th, 2011, which was discovered by the newspaper during it’s monthly review of petitions and labor complaints filed at the NLRB Region Four office in Philadelphia, the Law Enforcement Employees Benevolent Association requested that all full-time and part-time security guards employed at Sands Casino participate in the election.

Before a labor organization can file a petition with the NLRB, at least 30 percent of the employees in the unit must support the attempt of the union to organize the workers.

The NLRB will then investigate the petition and if found that enough employees support the union the agency will schedule a representation election.

The labor organization must receive 50 percent plus one of the eligible to vote employees during the election to become their bargaining representative.

The petition was filed on behalf of the union by Kenneth Wynder, indentified as the President of the Law Enforcement Employees Benevolent Association Union on May 10th, 2011.

However, the Employees Benevolent Association is not affiliated with the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) in Washington, DC, and the newspaper discovered the union does not yet have any members.

The NLRB conducted hearings after Sands Casino challenged the petition. However, the agency ruled the union can continue with their attempt to organized the workers but one of the employees the union wanted to participate in the election was ruled to be management and will not be able to vote on the unionization issue. The employee is a lock-smith at the casino.

The NLRB will schedule the election within 25 to 30 days after the decision is signed by the NLRB Director, which was on June 22nd.