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CARDIN SAYS CALL TO REBUILD AMERICA’S INFRASTRUCTURE WILL HELP GET MARYLANDERS BACK TO WORK

09.26.11

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 22, 2011

CARDIN SAYS CALL TO REBUILD AMERICA’S INFRASTRUCTURE WILL HELP GET MARYLANDERS BACK TO WORK

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Transportation and Infrastructure, issued the following statement on President Obama’s call for rebuilding America’s infrastructure:

“It makes no sense that America’s infrastructure is crumbling while we have record unemployment in the construction industry. We have to make a change and we have to do it soon. And we have to stop talking and start doing because gridlock does not create jobs, it only worsens the problem. When our country faced economic challenges in the past, we overcame our problems by putting people back to work — rebuilding America’s bridges and roads, schools and airports, and everywhere updated infrastructure can help better our communities for business, tourism and even daily commutes. Investing in infrastructure jumpstarts our economy now while providing a literal foundation for long-term jobs. Like the President, I know there is much work to be done and so many people willing and able to do it.

“Improvements to Maryland’s transportation infrastructure are at a critical point. Freight movement through Maryland is critical to commerce along the entire Eastern Seaboard and BRAC is bringing hundreds of defense personnel, their families and support services to the state. Compounding these challenges is some of the worst traffic congestion in the country. Fortunately, Maryland Department of Transportation has made addressing all of these issues a top priority. Now they need active partners in the Congress and U.S. Department of Transportation to provide the resources necessary to help get Maryland’s more than 10,000 transportation professionals on the job working on these critical transportation initiatives. The President’s American Jobs Act is a sound vehicle to help get hard-working Marylanders to work on critical infrastructure projects that repair and maintain our existing infrastructure, enhance the safety and efficiency of our transportation network and improve U.S. competitiveness in the global economy. Congress needs to act.”

Scranton Mayor Doherty lays-off Police and Firefighters

09.26.11

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

Scranton Mayor Doherty lays-off Police and Firefighters

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, September 3rdt- The Department of Labor (DOL) Rapid Response Team, a group of people affiliated with community organizations that help recent unemployed workers learn about programs available to help them adjust to the job loss such as learning to file for unemployment benefits, and job training, met with the employees laid-off by the City of Scranton.

The meeting was held at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union District Council 87 building on the O’Neill Highway in Dunmore Borough.

On July 29th, Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty announced the city will lay-off 13 police officers, which are members of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Lodge 2, and 8 firefighters, which are members of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Union Local 60.

Scranton will have 135 police officers and 129 firefighters. Because of the lay-offs, firehouses within the city will be out-of-service, meaning each day as many as three fire-houses could be closed.

David Gervasi, President of Local 60 told the newspaper because of the lay-offs on September 2nd three Scranton fire-houses were closed. “Four of the ten companies in the city were out-of-service,” Mr. Gervasi stated.

Because of the shorage of personel, firehouses in East Scranton, Petersburg and on Wyoming Avenue rear downtown Scranton were all out-of-service on September 2nd.

Mr. Gervasi said Mr. Doherty, who is currently serving his third term as Scranton Mayor, told the residents of the city he did not intend to close firehouses, but he has. “Call them brown-outs, but your neighborhood fire-house is still closed,” said Mr. Gervasi.

The DOL Rapid Response Team met with the FOP, and IAFF members on August 24th. The DOL group included William Cockerill Jr., the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) Labor Liaison to the United Way of Lackawanna County and Ronald Vogel Jr., Regional Representative of the Bureau of Workforce Development Partnership, Rapid Response Coordiation Services.

Mr. Gervasi said “effects bargaining” negotiations are being held between the City and Local 60 regarding the laid-off workers. Under the IAFF contract, should the city hire any firefighters in the future, the laid-off workers will be rehire in the senority they were first hire by the city.

State stores privatization not likley without Senator Scarnati support

09.26.11

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

State stores privatization not likley without Senator Scarnati support

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, September 1st- There is a difference of opinions within the Republican party leadership in Harrisburg regarding if the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB), which operates the Pennsylvania Wine and Spirit Shoppes, should be sold to private owners.

The debate of whether Pennsylvania should sell their state liquor stores to private owners resurfaced in 2011 in the General Assembly in Harrisburg and the three labor unions that represent the workers will likely be affected if the stores are privatized.

In early summer, the Pennsylvania Senate held hearings on what impact privatization will have on the public, the business community, and the unions that represent the PLCB employees.

The United Food and Commerical Workers Union (UFCW) represents the majority of the workers employed by the PLCB. The UFCW represents shelf stockers and clerk workers. Most lower tied supervisors of the system are represented by the Independent State Store Union (ISSU) in Harrisburg while the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union represents mainly office employees including auditors.

There are approximately 625 liquor stores throughout Pennsylvania and the LCB also operates liquor stores located in around 50 grocery stores. The retail store system generates millions of dollars in profit including creating $400 million in tax revenue.

Supporters of privatization suggest the selling of the stores would generate $1.5 billion of state revenue yield, but it would be a one-time infusion of funds.

Before a sale can be held legislation would need to be passed in the Pennsylvania General Assembly and signed by Republican Governor Tom Corbett, which supports privatizing the stores.

Pennsylvania House of Representative and Majority Leader Mike Turzai (Republican-28th Legislative District), introduced legislation in July that has been critized by Local 1776.

However, the top Republican in the Pennsylvania Senate, Joe Scarnati (25th Legislative District), indicated he does not support privatizing the system and stated before a sale is contemplated other options should be explored. He suggested reforming the PLCB including having more flexibility in liquor sales, which should include allowing varying prices by region.

Without Mr. Scarnati support privatization is not likely to become law.

IOUE Local 542 amends complaint against Lion Brewery

09.26.11

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

IOUE Local 542 amends complaint against Lion Brewery

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, In the previous edition of the newspaper, it was exclusively reported that the labor union that represents the employees of the Lion Brewery in Wilkes-Barre filed a labor complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia alleging the brewing company violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

The Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge was filed on July 1st, 2011 at the NLRB. However, the newspaper has learned the union amended the complaint on July 29th.

According to the July 1st complaint, which was reviewed by the newspaper, Brett Toomey, Business Representative of the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Union Local 542 in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, filed the ULP.

The amended complaint indicates IOUE Legal Counsel Louis Agre filed the amended ULP.

“The above named Employer, by and through its agents and supervirors violated the act by changing conditions of employment without bargaining with the Employee Representative. The Employer changed shift starting times without bargainng and in violation of the collective bargaining agreement,” states the complaint.

The above named Employer further violated the Act by circumventing the Employee Representative and bargaining directly with employees,” states the amended complaint.

According to the ULP, the number of workers employed by the Lion Brewery is 120. The employer representative named on the ULP to be contacted is Cliff Rissel.

SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania Union files labor complaint

09.26.11

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

SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania Union files labor complaint

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, August 30th- The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Healthcare Pennsylvania Union, North 2nd Street in Harrisburg, filed several labor complaints with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia alleging a local nursing home operator 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. The Union News is the only member of the local media that reviews and publishes information regarding complaints and petitions filed at the NLRB office.

According to the complaint, which was filed on July 28th, 2011, the SEIU/Healthcare Pennsylvania Union filed a Unfair Labor Practice complaint against Brighten and Julia Ribaudo Healthcare Group, LLC, which does business as Julia Ribaudo Extended Care Center, Golf Park Drive in Lake Ariel, alleging the nursing home healthcare operators violated Section 8 (a) and 5 of the NLRAct.

The Union filed a complaint against the Employer on June 22nd, but withdrew the ULP. However, the SEIU’s July 28th complaint uses the same language and alleges the same NLRAct violations occurred.

“Since on or about June 1st, 2011, and at all times thereafter, the above-named employer, by its Officers, Agents, and Representatives, has by unlaterally imposing initial terms and conditions of employment three (3) months after taking control of the facility, failed and refused to bargain collectively and in good faith with SEIU Health 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 complaint.

The Unfair Labor Practice was filed on behalf of the Union by Kevin Hefty, indentified as SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania Vice-President.

The Employer Representative indentified on the complaint to be contacted is Mary Ann Hornack, Administrator of the nursing home.

According to the complaint, the number of workers employed at the nursing home is 140.

The SEIU/Healthcare Pennsylvania also represents nurses at Geisinger Medical Center in Wilkes-Barre, nurses at the former Mercy Hospital in Scranton, and the Lackawanna County nursing home.