Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

Pennsylvania union member plan to “educate” Congressman Dent on October 28th

10.21.11

Good morning!

In February of 2009, nearly 400 Labor activists and progressives met at the Hotel Bethlehem to “meet” Congressman Charles W. Dent as he bashed the Employee Free Choice Act to a couple of dozen business leaders at a Chamber Breakfast. As most of you know, EFCA isn’t even on a lit backburner, let alone the top of our priorities, but the Chamber sees fit to stir the pot in an effort to destabilize labor relations with companies while increasing billings for Atty. George Hlavac and the notorious, Tallman, Hudders & Sorrentino firm.

As you will see below, Dent is also taking money from the infamous Koch brothers who apparently have been illegally selling equipment to Iran. I do believe that we need to show the good Congressman that we are fed up with his nonsense!

Dent can fan the flames against labor; take money from American terrorists and yet he can’t find the time, nor the inclination to vote YES on a jobs bill. Worse yet, he has NO plans to encourage companies to hire. Dent needs to hear from us NOW.

Join the Lehigh Valley Labor Council and dozens of other unions and progressive groups on Friday, October 28th at the Hotel Bethlehem, 437 Main Street in Bethlehem Pa. We will begin greeting their honored guests at 10:30 and stay to 1:00 in order to give the Congressman a proper send off. If you recall from Feb. 2009, Dent entered and exited from the employee entrance of the hotel. This is the closest he has ever come to honest work. Let’s see if he has the guts to use the front door!

For questions on the event or if you want to r.s.v.p. respond via e-mail or call me at 610 360-9491.

In unity & solidarity,

Gregg Potter
President, Lehigh Valley Labor Council

610 360-9491
www.lehighvalleyclc.org

Teamsters Union Local 401 ready to begin first-time contract negotiations

10.21.11

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

Teamsters Union Local 401 ready to begin first-time contract negotiations

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, October 4th- The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 401, South Washington Street in Wilkes-Barre, will begin first-time contract negotiations with Alexandria Northeast, Lasley Avenue, Hanover Industrial Estates in Wilkes-Barre.

The union won the right to represent workers of the company for the purpose of collective bargaining in a election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia.

The election was held on June 22nd but the IBT needed to wait until the NLRB made a ruling of whether one challenged vote would count or not. Local 401 won the election 11 for the union to 10 against.

The union won the right to represent all full-time and regular part-time warehouse employees including laborers, forklift drivers, leadmen, and stockers.

The employees were previously represented by the Teamsters, but voted to remove the union several years ago.

According to James Murphy, President and Business Representative of Local 401, who filed the petition requesting the NLRB election on behalf of the union, many of the workers felt management went back on promises made during the campaign when the workers voted to remove the IBT.

Mr. Murphy told the newspaper negotiating meetings are scheduled between the two parties. “We have meetings set-up to begin contract negotiations,” stated Mr. Murphy.

Union member files complaint against postal union

10.21.11

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

Union member files complaint against postal union

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, October 5th- A National Association of Letters Carriers (NALC) Union Branch 115 in Wilkes-Barre member filed a labor complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia alleging his union violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

The newspaper discovered the Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge while reviewing complaints and petitions filed at the NLRB. The Union News is the only member of the local media that regularly reviews the information and publishes their findings.

Jeffrey Steinman filed the complaint on behalf of himself on August 29th, 2011. According to the ULP Mr. Stenman resides in Kingston Township, Luzerne County.

The Employer Representative named on the complaint be be contacted is Mary Tyneway. Ms. Tyneway position with the USPS is not identified on the labor complaint.

The Union Representative named on the ULP to be contacted is Scott Correll. Mr. Correll position is also not identified on the labor complaint.

According to the complaint, the Union represents approximately 200 letter carriers of the United States Postal Service (USPS) in and around the City of Wilkes-Barre in Luzerne County.

“Within the last six months, the above Labor Organization breached its duty of fair representation by processing a grievance concerning the Charging Party’s termination in a perfunctory or careless manner,” states the ULP.

Labor Studies opportunity at Penn State University

10.21.11

The Department of Labor Studies and Employment Relations at Penn State University is offering two-year Graduate Assistantships for labor-oriented students interested in pursuing a M.S. in HRER (Human Resources and Employment Relations) degree beginning Spring or Fall 2012. We are particularly interested in students who are planning to pursue careers working for unions. These assistantships cover all the costs of the degree program, including tuition and living costs, in exchange for 20 hours a week working with a faculty member as a research or teaching assistant. Applicants must meet requirements for admission to the M.S. program. Assistantships will be awarded on a competitive basis.

The Department has a long tradition of sending students on to work for unions and we believe it is important for programs like ours to continue to develop energetic, bright, and well-prepared young people for careers in the labor movement.

Applicants need to apply to the M.S. program and clearly state their interests in the labor movement in the applicant statement. They should also indicate their interest in being considered for financial assistance. More info on the M.S. program and the application process can be found at http://lser.la.psu.edu/students/MSprogram.shtml

Paul Clark, Professor and Department Head
Dept. of Labor Studies and Employment Relations
& Professor of Health Policy and Administration
Penn State University
3 Keller Bldg.
University Park, PA 16802
Ph.: 814-865-0752
Fax: 814-863-4169

Drinks Are on the House (and Senate)

10.21.11


by Walter Brasch

“Got any idea how to make a frozen daiquiri?”

Saturday. 6 a.m. A question no one else would have asked at that hour. I knew it had to be Marshbaum, my faux-friend foil.

“Too early to be drinking,” I mumbled, then hung up. The phone rang again.

“It’s not for me,” said Marshbaum, but since I’m going to own a bar, I should learn how to make drinks.”

“Marshbaum,” I said, reluctantly awake, “you can’t even afford to buy soap to wash your fuzzy navel! How are you going to afford a bar?”

“The government’s going to bankroll me,” he said matter-of-factly.

“New kind of welfare?”

“Old kind of subsidies,” said Marshbaum. “First thing those Santa Clauses in the red ink suits are going to do is to help me find an appropriate location.”

“Something available in Afghanistan?” I asked.

“It’s called exploration subsidy. Thanks to those patriotic pure-bred Republicans who just blocked the President’s proposal to eliminate $2 billion in subsidies a year to oil, gas, and coal companies, all I have to do is say I want to build my bar over a proposed but hidden coal vein. Doesn’t even matter if there’s coal or not. All I have to do is say I think there may be coal. Later, I get a low-interest small business loan, build the bar, and deduct the mortgage interest from my income taxes.”

“That deduction is meant to allow the common person the right of home ownership.”

“And what’s more common than taking someone else’s money? Besides, it isn’t the middle-class that gets most of the benefit.” He explained that almost 100 percent of everyone with at least a $100,000 mortgage takes the interest deduction, while fewer than 20 percent of Americans below the poverty line get federal rental subsidies.

“You’ll still have to pay property taxes,” I reminded him. He reminded me that it didn’t matter.

“Most local and state governments will be so happy to have me build a business and hire minimum-wage bar girls, they’ll probably waive my taxes the first year or two and then give me tax rebates for a couple of more years.”

“O.K., for awhile you have a cheap bar. How are you planning to keep the lights on?”
“Electric companies save about $210 million a year when they buy electricity below cost from the federal dams. I just tap in on some low-voltage energy.”

“Even with cheap utilities, you’ll still have problems keeping it going.”

“Only problem I’ll have is deciding which line on the income tax form is for deductions for advertising, dinners, and research at the country club.”

“I suppose you have other scams?”

“Other subsidies, just like everyone else,” said Marshbaum snippily correcting me.

“The government pays farmers about $20 billion a year to grow feed grains to assure there will be an adequate supply. I plan to get some of those bucks by selling malt liquor. Rye. Barley. Wheat. Corn. It’s the Basic Four food groups. I can even water down my drinks since the government also provides about $400 million a year in water subsidies.”

“The agriculture subsidy program was begun during the Great Depression to benefit poor farmers who—” Before I could finish, Marshbaum interrupted.

“It’s true that the largest 10 percent of the corporate farms get over 75 percent of the subsidies. But, as a poor struggling farmer, I may get $500. That’s still money in the pocket.”

“So, you’re saying that the government wants you to sell more drinks?”

“And less too,” he said. “There’s far too many of those nauseous appletinis. I might be able to get a government subsidy not to grow apples or tinis.” He thought a moment. “Maybe I can feature kahlúas. The government has a minimum price on milk. I may even get NAFTA trade concessions for my Friday Night Margarita promotions. Olé, y’all!”

“Aren’t you just blowing a lot of smoke past me?”

“Smoke,” said Marshbaum, “will fill my bar. It’s the least I can do to help the tobacco cartel, which gets about a billion dollars a year. I’m sure the tobacco growers would want me to have several cigarette machines in my bar.”

“And what happens when the bar fails. Your business record is as bad as cheap vinyl on a 50-year-old 45.”

“I expect to fail,” said Marshbaum. “It’s all part of my business plan.”

“Why would you want to fail?” I naively asked.

“So I can get money to keep from failing even more. Three trillion went to financial institutions. I figure I should get something for being greedy and a failure. That’s the American way!”

“Even if all of what you said is true, President Obama has been trying to reduce subsidies to the rich and to eliminate most of the annual $100 billion in corporate welfare.”

“As long as the Republicans control Congress,” said Marshbaum, “the American way of life will be preserved. Want a drink now?”

[Walter Brasch is author of the social issues mystery, Before the First Snow, and 16 other books. Before the First Snow is available at www.greeleyandstone.com, amazon.com, and other stores.]