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Sands Casino employee files three labor complaint’s against employer

10.04.11

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

Sands Casino employee files three labor complaint’s against employer

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, September 22nd- An employee of Sands Casino in Bethlehem filed several labor complaints with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia alleging the gambling resort violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

The newspaper discovered the Unfair Labor Practice’s (ULP’s) while reviewing labor complaints and petitions filed at the NLRB. The Union News is the only member of the local media that reviews the information.

The newspaper discovered Sands Casino employee, George Boner of Birch Street in Easton, filed three ULP’s against the casino operators. Mr. Bonser is a security officer at Sands.

The Law Enforcement Employees Benevolent Association of Catskills, New York, on July 21st won the right to represent all security officers of the casino for the purpose of collective bargaining.

The NLRB conducted a representation election on July 21st and the approximately 92 eligible to vote employees voted 51 to 35 to be represented by the union.

All three ULP’s were filed with the NLRB by Mr. Bonser on September 8th.

Mr. Bonser alleges on a complaint he received a three days suspension for a company policy violation. However, the facts the company provided on the policy conflicts with the written statement he gave to the Pennsylvania Gaming Commission Board (PGCB). The three day suspension is not consistent with other punishments given to other security officers for similiar incidents.

A second ULP alleges that a letter signed by company president Robert DeSalvio, which was handed out by casino supervisors to all security officers before the July 21st union election, offered an additional $750.00 flat payment per year for ten years for the officers 401K pension plan if they vote “no” for union representation.

The third complaint alleges Sands violated Section 8 (a), subsections (1) and (7) of the NLRAct.

“A change in policy set forth by the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem employee handbook was made to start on August 1st, 2011. This policy has to do with overtime hours worked by an employee who also is using flex time during that same week. This change will offer more monetary value to the overtime worked. This change was made available to all hourly employees of the casino with the exception of the security officers,” states the ULP.

Lehigh Valley unemployment rate rises to 8.8 percent

10.04.11

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

Lehigh Valley unemployment rate rises to 8.8 percent

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, September 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 8.8 percent, increasing 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 8.8 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 9.4 percent. The Johnstown MSA has the third highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 8.7 percent with the Williamsport MSA fourth at 8.1 percent.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 7.8 percent, increasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report, which was released approximately four weeks ago. There are 494,000 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 6,303,000 and 5,809,000 of them have employment. The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was reported to be 9.4 percent, increasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report.

There are 13,931,000 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 6.1 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 6.6 percent and the Lansaster MSA has the third lowest unemployment rate at 6.9 percent. The Altoona MSA has the fourth lowest unemployment rate at 7.1 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 2,941,800 with 257,600 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor force at 1,215,100 with 90,100 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 has the fourth largest civilian labor force at 279,800 with 20,300 unemployed and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA has the fifth largest civilian labor force at 278,900 with 26,100 without employment.

Carbon County has the highest unemployment rate in the MSA at 10.4 percent, increasing by four-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report and decreasing by four-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months ago. Carbon County has a civilian labor force of 30,900 with 3,200 residents without jobs, increasing by 100 from the previous report and dropping by 100 from twelve months ago.

Northampton County has the lowest unemployment rate within the MSA at 8.6 percent, increasing by one-tenth 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 151,000. There are 13,000 Northampton County residents without jobs, rising by 200 from the previous report and dropping by 800 during the past twelve months.

Lehigh County has a unemployment rate of 9.0 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. Lehigh County has a civilian labor force of 175,500. There are 15,700 Lehigh County residents without jobs, increasing by 400 from the previous report and dropping by 1,100 from one year ago.

Manufacturing jobs decreased by 300 from the previous report.

There are 334,000 nonfarm jobs within the MSA, increasing by 3,700 from the previous report and dropping by 6,300 from twelve months ago.

Mexican and American labor leaders criticizes NAFTA

10.04.11

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

Mexican and American labor leaders criticizes NAFTA

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, September 20th- Mexico’s independent labor unions on September 13th, which are facing ongoing repression from authorities and corporation’s, many from the United States, while the working people are being driven deeper into poverty through the erosion of their wages and human rights, testified before the United States Congress. The briefing was sponsored by House of Representative Mike Michaud (Democrat- Maine) on behalf of the Congressional Labor Caucus and International Worker Right Caucus.

“More than 15 years ago, we were told that NAFTA would create a thriving middle class in Mexico. Economists and government officials said that the agreement would lead to growing trade surpluses and that hundreds of thousands of jobs would be gained. As our friends from Mexico can attest, NAFTA did not bring these benefits. Instead, workers’ rights are being violated on a regular basis, and both the United States and Mexico are worse off for it,” stated Congressman Michaud.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was passed by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993.

Three Mexican union leaders participated in the caucus and President of the United Steelworkers of America (USW) International Union, Leo Gerard also spoke before the committee.

“It is clear that the agenda of the Mexican government is to keep workers’ wages low and use that as an economic tool, and we are here today so that representatives and their staff have the opportunity to hear the facts. The Fox and Calderon administrations in Mexico have done everything they could to repress the independent unions that were actually raising the standards of living for Mexican workers,” said Mr. Gerard.

The panel of union leaders provided a detailed accounting of the windening threat to the well-being and livlihoods of Mexican workers, increasing violent acts against unions and the growing and detrimental inequality between United States workers and their Mexican counterparts.

“The United States government must condemn this repression and ensure that taxpayer dollars are not used to bust unions in Mexico. It is to our advantage to help Mexican workers expose the kind of oppression and persecution they face every day. And it is very important to workers in America that Mexican workers get an opportunity to raise their standards of living,” Mr. Gerard told the congressional caucus.

The three Mexican union leaders who spoke at the event were: Francisco Hernandez Juarez, General Secretary of the Mexican Union of Telephone Workers (STRM); Marco del Toro, Legal Counsel of the National Union of Mine, Metal Steel and Allied Workers of the Mexican Republic (SNTMMSSRM) also known as Los Mineros; and Sergio Beltran Reyes, Internal and External affairs and Recording Secretary for Los Mineros.

“We are going through very difficult times and are on the receiving end of a high level of aggression and anti-unionism by the Mexican government and business leaders. The attacks on Los Mineros and its elected leader, the dismissal of more than 44,000 electrical workers and the threat of a new labor law all designed to reverse 100 years of rights for Mexican workers. The Mexican government through its spokespeople has been trying to sell the idea that they defend labor and human rights. We’d like to show how they do not,” stated Mr. Hernadez Juarez.

Mr. Reyes said in addition to speaking for Mexican working people at the briefing, the group would also meet with congressional representatives to discuss the worker rights and safety standards. He highlighted the repeated efforts by the Calderon administration to strip Los Mineros of its rights to exist as the union continues a four-year strike by 1,000 copper miners over safety issues against Gruop Mexico.