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Union’s representing FAA employees blame Republicans for partial shutdown

10.13.11

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

Union’s representing FAA employees blame Republicans for partial shutdown

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, September 21st- A brief funding extension for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was passed by the United States Congress on September 10th, that will protect the jobs and livlihhoods of aviation professionals until at least December, 2011.

The Federal Aviation Administration was partial shutdown in August after Congress in Washington, DC failed to resolve differences between congressional Democrats and Republicans on FAA spending. The shutdown effected tens of thousands of construction jobs across the nation along with modernization projects.

The partial shutdown was caused after members of the 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.

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

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

Congress then agreed to extend the funding of the FAA until December 31st.

“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 were not effected by the stalemate.

However, the union represents nearly 1,200 FAA Engineers and Architects, FAA Airports Division and Aviation Technical Systems Specialists. Those workers were laid-off during the shutdown which stopped the modernization projects throughout the nation.

The Communications Workers of America (CWA) Union, which represents airline employees, including mechanics and stewards, stated Republicans have an double standard on the FAA funding. According to the CWA, the Republican leadership successfully blocked Senator Tom Coburn (Republican-Oklahoma), from shutting down the FAA over his hatred of bike paths sound battiers.

“If Republican colleagues successfully pressured Tom Coburn over his extreme views that could have led to another FAA shutdown, why won’t they do the same to Representative John Mica (Republican-Florida) and his extreme, union-busting views that led to the FAA shutdown,” said CWA Communications Director Candice Johnson.

The union told the newspaper that the shutdown was caused by Mr. Mica’s zeal for union-busting which inserted into the House version of the long-term FAA Reauthorization a provision that would count non-participating voters as “no” voters in union elections for aviation and rail workers, a standard different from every other form of democratic election.

Study shows Lehigh Valley children struggling with hunger

10.13.11

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

Study shows Lehigh Valley children struggling with hunger

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, September 22nd- The Second Harvest Food Bank of Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania and Feeding America released a new study showing that 21.7 percent of children under the age of 18 living in the Food Bank’s six-county service area are struggling with hunger. Second Harvest is an affiliate of Feeding America, serving Lehigh, Northampton, Monroe, Wayne and Carbon Counties of Pennsylvania.

Nationally, one in six Americans overall are food insecure, the rate for children is much higher, nearly one in four children are food insecure.

The study provides data for every county across the nation. The highest rate of child food insecurity in the six-county area is in Carbon County, where the rate is 24.4 percent. There 3,250 children live in households that took access, at times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. In Carbon County, the rate of food insecurity among the general population is 13.9 percent. Children are disproportionately affected by a household’s struggle to put food on the table.

Lehigh County’s rate is 23.2 percent, second only to Carbon County. In Lehigh County, 18,560 children are food insecure. The rates for the other four counties in Second Harvest’s service area are: Northampton County, 20.6 percent, 13,530 children; Monroe, 19.9 percent, 8,090 children; and Pike and Wayne Counties, 21.8 percent, 2,360 children.

“America is failing its families with children. Here in the Lehigh Valley we are doing the best we can, but there is no way our best is enough without effective public policies.

Those who are not getting enough good food to eat are less productive, less able to go about their daily tasks. The risks to their health and well-being have consequences for all of us. We shouldn’t be surprised if, 15 years from now, the children on whom we turned our backs, turn their backs on society,” stated Alan Jennings, Executive director of the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley, whose agency operates the Second Harvest Food Bank.

The Second Harvest Food Bank of Lehigh Valley and Northeast Pennsylvania serves low-income people in a six-county region through its own network of 200 non-profit organizations and churches. More than 66,000 individuals in this region rely on Second Harvest for food that they consume each month. Nearly 45 percent of the people served by these agencies are chilren. In 2011, the Food Bank distruted over 5.9 percent million pounds of food through its member agencies. Second Harvest Food Bank is a program of the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley.

CARDIN STATEMENT ON TRADE AGREEMENTS

10.13.11

CARDIN STATEMENT ON TRADE AGREEMENTS

Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Finance and Foreign Relations Committees, issues the followings statement on the Senate approval of bilateral trade agreement with Korea, Panama and Colombia:

“I strongly believe that international trade is good for America, but it must be done properly. Such international agreements can boost our country’s ties with like-minded nations that share our values, helping to strengthen alliances and advancing American interests abroad. American workers can compete with any other workers in the world, but the playing field must be fair and have enforceable rules. Formal trade agreements between nations must be based international standards and protect workers, both at home and with our trading partners. Trade must not reduce us all to the lowest common-denominator.

“I am disappointed by the passage of the Colombia-U.S. bilateral trade agreement. Colombia’s human rights abuses, as well as intimidation and violence against labor leaders, have been documented by the U.S. State Department as recently as 2010. Trade with America is a benefit for deserving nations that share our values, especially with respect to labor rights. Given Colombia’s history and the weakness of enforcement provisions in this specific agreement, I could not support its approval. As a nation, we cannot condone sacrificing the rights of workers in the name of trade.”