Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

DOL creating data tool to combat job discrimination

09.13.11

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

DOL creating data tool to combat job discrimination

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, August 18th- The United States Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program is considering the development of a new data tool to collect information on salaries, wages and other benefits paid to employees of federal contractors and subcontractors. The DOL wants to use the tool to improve their ability to gather data that could be analyzed for indicators of job discrimination, such as disparities faced by female and minority workers. To provide an opportunity for the public to submit feed back, the department published an advance notice of proposed rulemakeing in the August 10th, edition of the Federal Register.

The DOL’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program enforces Executive Order 11246, which prohibits companies that do business with the federal government from discriminating in employment practices, including compensation, on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin or religion.

Last year, the agency announced plans to create a compensation data tool in the department’s fall 2010 regulatory agenda. In addition to providing the Office of Federal Contract Compliance program investigators with insight into potential pay discrimination warrenting further review, the proposed tool would provide a self-assessment element to help employers evaluate the effects of their compensation practices.

“Today, almost 50 years after the Equal Pay Act became law, the wage gap has norrowed, but not nearly enough. The president and I are committed to ending pay discrimination once and for all,” stated DOL’s Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis on August 10th.

According to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2010 women were paid an average of 77 cents for every dollar paid to men. In addition to the gender gap, research has shown that race, and ethnicity based pay gaps put workers of color, including men, at a disadvantage. Eliminating compensation based discrimination is a top priority for the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program.

“Pay discrimination continues to plague women and people of color in the workforce. This proposal is about gathering data, which will allow us to focus our enforcement resources where they are most needed. We can’t truly solve this problem until we can see it, measure it and put dollar figures on it,” stated Patricia Shiu, Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program.

The notice poses 15 questions for public response on the types of data that should be requested, the scope of information the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program should seek, how the data should be collected, how the data should be used, what the tool should look like, which contractors should be required to submit compensation data and how the tool might create potential burdens for small businesses. The proposal will be open to public response for 60 days, and the deadline for receiving comments is October 11th, 2011.

The DOL stated anyone interested reading the proposal or submitting a comment, visit e-rulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov.

In addition to Executive Order 11246, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program’s legal authority exists under Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974.

As amended these three laws hold those who do business with the federal government, both contractors and of sex, race, color, religion, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran. For general information call the agency toll-free helpline at (800) 397-6251. Additional information is also available at http://www.gov/ofccp/.

Carpenters file complaint alleging Lehigh Valley contractor violated NLRAct

09.13.11

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

Carpenters file complaint alleging Lehigh Valley contractor violated NLRAct

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, August 15th- The Metropolitan Regional Council of Carpenters, Southeastern Pennsylvania, State of Delaware and Eastern Shore of Maryland, filed a labor complaint against a construction company in the Lehigh Valley.

The Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge was filed with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia. The Union alleges ICS, (doing-business-as), Commercial Services, in Bethlehem, violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

Local 600 represents Carpenters Union members throughout the Lehigh Valley. Local 600 is affiliated with the Metropolitan Regional Council of Carpenters in Philadelphia.

According to the labor complaint, which was discovered by the newspaper while reviewing ULP’s and petitions filed at the NLRB Region Four office in Philadelphia, Metropolitan Council of Carpenters office is located on Spring Garden Street in Philadelphia.

“On or about July 18th, 2011, and at times continuously thereafter, it, by its officers, agents and representatives, has discriminated against and is discriminating against Felix Roman in retaliation for his membership in and activities in support of the Metropolitan Regional Council of Carpenters by discharging him from employment,” states the labor complaint, which was filed on July 28th, 2011.

The Unfair Labor Practice alleges Commercial Construction Services violated Section 8(a), subsections (1) and (3) of the National Labor Relations Act.

The complaint does not indentify the employer representative to be contacted or indicates how many employees Commercial Construction Services employs.

The ULP was filed on behalf of the Union by Philadelphia Attorney Stephen Holroyd of the lawfirm of Jennings Sigmond, Walnut Street in Philadelphia.

Lehigh Valley unemployment rate rises to 8.7 percent

09.13.11

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

Lehigh Valley unemployment rate rises to 8.7 percent

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, August 15th- 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 8.7 percent, increasing by three-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 9.3 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 9.2 percent. The Johnstown MSA has the third highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 8.6 percent with the Williamsport MSA fourth at 7.8 percent.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 7.6 percent, increasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report, which was released approximately four weeks ago. There are 480,000 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 6,327,000 and 5,848,000 of them have employment. The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was reported to be 9.2 percent, increasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report.

There are 14,087,000 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 19.4 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 5.7 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 6.4 percent and the Lansaster MSA has the third lowest unemployment rate at 6.7 percent. The Altoona MSA has the fourth lowest unemployment rate at 6.9 percent.

The Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor force in Pennsylvania with 416,800 civilians. The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor force at 2,941,000 with 258,300 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor force at 1,219,100 with 88,500 without jobs; the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA has the fourth largest civilian labor force at 279,400 with 25,600 without employment. The Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA is tied with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA for the fourth largest civilian labor force and has 20,200 without employment.

Carbon County has the highest unemployment rate in the MSA at 10.0 percent, increasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report and decreasing by eight-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months ago. Carbon County has a civilian labor force of 30,900 with 3,100 residents without jobs, increasing by 100 from the previous report and dropping by 200 from twelve months ago.

Northampton County has the lowest unemployment rate within the MSA at 8.5 percent, increasing by three-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report and decreasing by five-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months ago. Northampton County has a civilian labor force of 151,300. There are 12,800 Northampton County residents without jobs, rising by 400 from the previous report and dropping by 800 during the past twelve months.

Lehigh County has a unemployment rate of 8.7 percent, increasing by four-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report and decreasing by seven-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months ago. Lehigh County has a civilian labor force of 175,400. There are 15,200 Lehigh County residents without jobs, increasing by 700 from the previous report and dropping by 1,300 from one year ago.

Manufacturing jobs have increased by 500 from the previous report while mining, logging and construction jobs also rose by 500.

There are 341,000 nonfarm jobs within the MSA, increasing by 1,700 from the previous report and rising by 2,800 from twelve months ago.

There are 335,900 nonfarm jobs in the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA, decreasing by 1,100 from the previous report and rising by 1,800 from twelve months ago. The Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA is ranked third in nonfarm jobs in the Commonwealth.

Over the past twelve months government jobs was the biggest loser, dropping by 2,600 to 42,200. Local government jobs decreased by 1,400 to 37,100, federal jobs dropped by 900 to 2,300 and state government jobs decreased by 300 during the past twelve months to 2,800.