Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

Activist added a new issues-based blog


The site at is designed to help student activists connect with organizations including the Labor Movement.

Of course sponsoring unions and other organizations will be able to post the blog.

The program needs labor financial support to fund an outreach college bulletin board campaign.

Activist College Bulletin Board Postering - FALL 2011
Alabama – 500
Arizona – 600
California – 2,000
Colorado - 750
Delaware- 250
District of Columbia - 500
Florida - 1,000
Georgia – 1,000
Illinois - 750
Maryland – 750
Massachusetts - 750
Michigan – 750
Mississippi – 400
New Hampshire - 350
New Jersey – 650
New Mexico - 350
New York (outside NYC & Long Island) – 1,500
North Carolina – 500
Ohio – 1,000
Pennsylvania – 1,500
Rhode Island - 300
Tennessee – 750
Texas – 1,000
Vermont - 350
Virginia – 1,000
Washington – 750

The postering for this first round will us 20,000 posters. If successful, it will be followed by a full national campaign in the Spring 2012 Semester of 50,000 posters.

It will cost $1 per poster for distribution plus printing/shipping. We need to raise a total of less than $25,000.00 for the first effort and around $60,000.00 for the Spring 2012 effort.

Sponsors can help pay for the effort in their states only or be fully national. They will all get hotlink buttons to their respective websites on the Activist landing page for each semester they sponsor. Additionally, they will get the data collected for those students who indicate an interest in the issues in which they are involved for every geographic area they sponsor.

By acting in conjunction with other progressive, issue, labor or reform organizations to share costs, it should be very inexpensive to sponsor efforts in selected states. This should be very helpful for state-based organizations with limited budgets.

Depending on how much money that can be raised, we may only post posters to drive traffic to Activist in certain states on the proposed list.

National organizations that are major sponsors and help pay for printing can have their logos added to the posters and have a say in the poster copy/artwork.

It is our intention to use an 8 ½ “ by 11” color poster with perforated tear-off tabs. The tabs will have the website address on them and effectively act as poster multipliers since the first interested students will not remove the posters to get the contact information (at least until all the tabs are removed.)

We will be targeting all 2 year and 4 year college and university in the selected states that we can reach with the poster quantities assigned.

Please contact Stephen Crockett at or 443-907-2367 to work out details.

Full details on the all 50 states Spring 2012 campaign are available to potential sponsors.

SAG and AFTRA Union’s formally meeting to discuss merging


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

SAG and AFTRA Union’s formally meeting to discuss merging


REGION, July 16th- The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Union and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) Union are holding formal discussions to create one Union.

The two groups began face-to-face meetings beginning on June 20th after the sides formed groups to discuss merging.

The AFTRA New Union Commitee and the SAG Merger Task Force met together at the National Labor College in Silver Spring, Maryland on June 20th and will meet again on August 27th in New York to facilitate the creation of one successor union.

The Screen Actors Guild, headquartered in Los Angeles, California, is the nation’s largest labor union representing working actors. Established in 1933, SAG was created to standup to studios to break long-term engagement contracts in the 1940’s to fighting for artists’ rights amid the digital revolution sweeping the entertainment industry in the 21st century.

With 20 branches nationwide, SAG represents more than 125,000 actors who work in film and digital television programs, motion pictures, commercials, video games, music videos, industrials and all new media formats.

The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists has 32 locals across the country. Their members work as actors, broadcasters, singers, dancers, announcers, hosts, comedians, disc jockeys, and other performers across the media industries including television, radio, cable, sound recordings, music videos, commercials, audio books, non-broadcasters, and recording artists.

The two committees have established a series of work groups to discuss six key areas that rank-and-file members identified as important. The six workgroups are:

• Governance and Structure
• Finance and Dues
• Collective Bargaining
• Pension, Health and Retirement
• Operations and Staff
• Member Education and Outreach

The work groups will meet throughout 2011, formulate recommendations for how the successor union should address each area and bring those recommendations back to the members for approval.

These recommendations will work to create the Merger Agreement, National Constitution and uniform dues structure that will be required for review by both unions by January 2012.

Partial shutdown of FAA effected area airport tower project


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

Partial shutdown of FAA effected area airport tower project


REGION, August 2nd- The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was partial shutdown after Congress in Washington, DC failed to resolve differences between congressional Democrats and Republicans on FAA spending. The stalemate may effect a project underway at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport in Luzerne County.

Workers were sent home from constructing the new $20 million eight-story high air traffic control tower at the local airport because of the federal government stalemate. Republican House of Representatives sought to eliminate $16.5 million in federal subsidies for 13 rural airports that would have been forced to stop providing service on routes that do not make money for airline carriers.

Senate Democrats refused to support the cuts and legislation on the FAA’s operating budget was stalled. Congress took their August recess without resolving the issue.

However, a bipartisan compromise was reached on August 4th that ended the partial shutdown of the FAA. Congress suspended their August recess to vote on the measure on August 5th.

“We had people at the airport,” said John Gatto, Assistant Business Manager of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 21 in Drums.

The National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) Union in Washington, DC urged lawmakers to pass an FAA extension before recess.

The agreement will extend the FAA’s operating authority through mid-September. The legislation includes the rural airports subsidies.

“This FAA extension is a jobs bill and it directly impacts the lives of real people, skilled aviation professionals who play a vital role in the safety critical function of the FAA,” stated Paul Rinaldi, President of the NATCA, which represents 4,000 FAA employees including air traffic controllers. Air traffic controllers are still working and are not effected by the stalemate.

The union represents nearly 1,200 FAA Engineers and Architects, FAA Airports Division and Aviation Technical Systems Specialists. Those workers were laid-off which had caused the shutdown of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Airport tower construction project.

The lack of funding restoration effected tens of thousands of construction jobs across the nation along with modernization projects which includes the area airport.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Region’s unemployment rate increases to 9.2 percent


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

Region’s unemployment rate increases to 9.2 percent


REGION, July 30th- According to labor data provided by the Pennsylvania, Department of Labor and Industry, the region’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 9.2 percent, increasing by five-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 9.7 percent.

The unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 7.6 percent, increasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted civilian labor-force of 6,327,000 with 480,000 not working and 5,848,000 with employment. The national unemployment rate is 9.2 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 14,087,000 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 is tied with the Harrisburg-Carlisle MSA with the fourth largest labor force in Pennsylvania at 279,400 civilians. There are 25,600 civilians in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA unemployed and there are 20,200 civilians without jobs in the Harrisburg MSA.

The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor force at 2,941,000 with 256,300 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor force at 1,219,100 with 88,500 without jobs; and the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor force at 416,800 with 36,300 not working.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA has the highest unemployment rate among the 14 MSA’s within Pennsylvania.

The Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA and the Philadelphia MSA are tied for the second highest unemployment rate at 8.7 percent with the Johnstown MSA the third highest unemployment at 8.6 percent.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 5.7 percent. The Lebanon MSA has the second lowest unemployment rate in the state at 6.4 percent. The Lancaster MSA has the third lowest unemployment rate at 6.7 percent with the Altoona MSA fourth at 6.9 percent.

Lackawanna County has the lowest unemployment rate within the MSA at 9.1 percent. Lackawanna County has a civilian labor-force of 106,200 with 9,600 without jobs, unchanged from the previous report.

Wyoming County has the highest unemployment rate in the MSA at 9.4 percent. Wyoming County has 1,300 civilians of the labor force without employment, unchanged from the previous report.Luzerne County has a unemployment rate of 9.2 percent. Luzerne County has the largest civilian labor-force in the MSA at 158,800, with 14,600 without employment.

Geisinger faces relationship with another labor union


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

Geisinger faces relationship with another labor union


REGION, August 3rd- On July 18th the Community Medical Center (CMC), Mulberry Street in Scranton, and Geisinger Health Systems in Danville announced plans to merge that will provide CMC with about $158 million in capital improvements.

With the merger, Geisinger Health Systems will need to have a relationship with another labor union that represents hospital employees.

The Geisinger Hospital employees in Wilkes-Barre are represented by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Pennsylvania Healthcare Union in Harrisburg.

The Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP) Union of Conshohocken, Pennsylvania represents nurses employed at the CMC. The contract between the parties expired on December 6th, 2010. The two sides have been negotiating for a successor contract agreement.

PASNAP represents all full-time and regular part-time registered nurses (RN’s) employed by the Community Medical Center.

PASNAP also represents approximately 440 nurses employed at the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, River Street in Wilkes-Barre.

Community Health Systems (CHS) inc. of Tennessee owns and operates the Wilkes-Barre General Hosptial medical center and owns and operates the former Scranton Mercy Hosptial in Scranton. Employees of the hosptial are represented by the SEIU/Pennsylvania Healthcare Union. Mercy Hosptial was renamed Regional Hospital of Scranton.

Before the merger can take place it must be approved by the court system. Lackawanna County Judge Carmen Minora approved the $150 million sale of Mercy Health Partners’ hospitals to CHS in March. The sale included Scranton Mercy Hosptial, hospitals in Tunkhannock and Naticoke.

On July 19th Community Health Systems announced it wants to purchase Moses Taylor Hospital in Scranton and the Mid-Valley Hospital in Peckville. Moses Taylor Hospital nurses are nonunion. Geisinger plans to make investments in the CMC infrastructure including expanding services to include organ transplants, a wider range of cancer treatment and the emergency care trauma center.

With the merger Geisinger Health Systems will have a medical center located in Lackawanna County. Previously, the closest medical center operated by the healthcare group was in Wilkes-Barre Township in Luzerne County.