Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

Striking Verizon workers return to their jobs while negotiations continue

09.03.11

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

Striking Verizon workers return to their jobs while negotiations continue

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, August 24th- On August 7th members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) went of strike against Verizon Communications because of the failure of reaching a successor labor contract with the communications company and returned to their jobs without new pacts on August 23rd. The previous contract expired at mid-night August 6th. The two union’s and the company agreed that the workers would return to their jobs under the “terms and conditions” of the previous contract for thirty days while negotiations continued. Should a new contract not be reached within the thirty days, the two sides could agree to extend the pact for yet another thirty days. Meaning, the return-to-work agreement does not include a fixed date that negotiations for new pacts must be completed.

The strike involve approximately 45,000 workers across the Northeastern part of the nation, including the Lehigh Valley. It was the first strike by the union’s against Verizon since 1998, when the dispute lasted 13 weeks.

In the region strikers picketed the company’s building on Linden Street and picketed Verizon stores regularly. The company was successful in gaining a court injuction banning mass picketing by the union members at Verizon sites.

The CWA represents around 35,000 of the workers that were strike which included members of Local 13000 and Local 13500, which represented regional workers. The IBEW represents around 10,000 of the employees that were involved in the strike which included Local 1944.

The two sides were unable to reach an agreement because of Verizon’s insistence of “give-backs” despite the company making $3 billion in profits during the first half of 2011.

The concessions included work-rules, cuts in employee pensions and forcing workers to pay toward their health insurance premiums.

The unions agreed to return to work after the two sides were able to narrow the issues prohibiting them from reaching an agreement. However, many of the major issues, including healthcare and pensions, are still unresolved. The union’s stated the strike occurred because Verizon came to negotiations with an extreme set of contract proposals and would not move off of them.

During the strike Verizon spend tens of thousands of dollars placing full-page advertisements in daily newspapers throughout Pennsylvania and New York, including the Lehigh Valley which appeared to be an attempt to buy the mainstream media’s news coverage. Should Verizon management disagree with any of the newspaper’s news coverage of the strike they could withdraw their full-page advertisement.

The Allentown Morning Call ran several full-page ads paid for by Verizon stating that the contract concessions proposed by the company were needed to better serve their customers. One advertisement stated sales and tech-support representatives have inflexible work rules while another stated the union’s were claiming Verizon was asking union-represented employees to contribute to their own health care premiums. “They’re right,” stated the advertizement. “We think that’s fair,” it added.

Allstate Insurance agents vote to join OPEIU

09.03.11

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

Allstate Insurance agents vote to join OPEIU

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, August 18th- Members of the National Association of Professional Allstate Agents (NAPAA), on August 16th voted overwhelmingly to affiliate with the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU).

Secret ballots were mailed to all 1,200 members of the National Association of Professional Allstate Agents and according to the OPEIU when the ballots were tallied, more than 94 percent has voted in favor of affiliating with the Union. The vote was administered by the American Arbitration Association (AAA) and was counted on August 17th at the AAA’s New York City office.

“Our members have sent a message and we hear them loud and clear. Now we will work closely with OPEIU to finalize an affiliation agreement that establishes NAPAA as a guild,” stated Jim Fish, NAPAA executive director.

The NAPAA Board of Directors is expected to meet in the near future to formally approve the affiliation. Once the agreement is approved, NAPAA members will be granted membership in the OPEIU. OPEIU is affiliated with the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington, DC.

“Affiliating with OPEIU is the first step toward ensuring that Allstate agents are treated as true independent contractors instead of employees. Currently, agents are subjected to unachievable quotas, the specter of reduced compensation and an ever-present threat of contact termination. Many companies today are circumventing IRS precepts regarding employees status and are now classifying these same people as independent contractors. This practice has to stop,” stated OPEIU President Michael Goodwin.

NAPAA is based in Mississippi and is a non-profit organization, whose members are predominantly insurance agents under contract with Allstate Insurance throughout the nation.

The OPEIU represents more than 125,000 members throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and Canada. The Union represents employees and independent contractors in banking, insurance, higher education, shipping, hospitals, medical clinics, utilities, transportation, hotels, and administrative offices.

Allegheny County Labor Council will host its 30th consecutive parade downtown

09.02.11

Join Your Friends and Neighbors in the Labor Day Parade
by Pat O’Malley

On Monday September 5, Americans will observe the 130th Labor Day celebration. The Allegheny County Labor Council will host its 30th consecutive parade downtown.

Pittsburgh’s parade is one of the largest Labor Day events in the United States, with nearly 200 groups and 80,000 people participating. Everything good about your standard of living came to you through the organized labor movement. First celebrated by the Knights of Labor in 1882, Congress proclaimed a national holiday in 1894.

While labor unions have always celebrated Labor Day, many people are still confused about their purpose. The first unions arose in the middle ages, as artisans from the various skilled trades formed “guilds” to represent their common interests. They were stonemasons, carpenters, weavers, teamsters, and others. The old guilds gradually disbanded, but the idea didn’t die. Unions resurfaced in the mid nineteenth century, after the American Civil War.

They continued to grow, especially during the 1930s. By 1960, one-third of all American workers belonged to a union. Union membership declined from the late 1970s through the 1980s due to national political, economic, and social conditions. Now, only about 13% of working Americans belong to a union. You can trace the rise and fall of the American middle class with the rise and fall of labor union membership…..

Click on link below to read the rest of this article:

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/8362111/join_your_friends_and_neighbors_in.html?image=1414532&cat=8

DELAWARE LABOR DAY PARADE & RALLY

09.02.11

DELAWARE LABOR DAY PARADE & RALLY

Monday, September 5, 2011

Public Welcome

Parade Starts at: 10:00 A.M.

Assembly begins at 8:30A.M.

Where:12th 8c King Street, Wilmington

Free Parking-Bus Station Lot

Rally: After Parade

Tubman-Garrett Parks

Contact: 302-283-1330