Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

Apologies for delay in posting Union News (PA) articles and a personal update from the Editor

12.30.11

Please page back a page or two to catch up. My father had heart surgery and my business activities swamped me during late November thru most of December.

College Marketing.com has picked up a couple of new accounts and has strong prospects for more in 2012. Any interest in being a client? Call 443-907-2367 or email collegemarket@aol.com.

Democratic Talk Radio has plans for evolving into a non-profit, college radio brand of shows instead of a single show. We hope to raise enough financial backing to be on college radio stations training a new generation of pro-labor, progressive talk show hosts. Interested? Email me at demlabor@aol.com.

I am now working with AFLAC if your union or business is interested in offering their insurance products to your members or employees. Call me at 443-907-2367 or email me at demlabor@aol.com.

I can help you connect with a pro-union insurance/benefits broker if you want more insurance products or other benefits not directly available from AFLAC. This includes various financial consulting services.

I will try to do a better job posting Union News articles as they come in during 2012.

By the way, my father is doing very well. He has been a member of UAW Local 1183 since 1957 and remains my real life working class hero.

In Solidarity,

Stephen Crockett

Editor, Mid-Atlantic Labor.com
http://www.midatlanticlabor.com

Host & Founder, Democratic Talk Radio
http://www.DemocraticTalkRadio.com

Owner, College Marketing.com
http://www.CollegeMarketing.com

Member, National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981)
Associate Member, USW

Home care workers will receive overtime pay under proposed new rule

12.30.11

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

Home care workers will receive overtime pay under proposed new rule

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, December 22nd- The Obama administration has proposed new rules that would extend wage protections for home healthcare workers.

On December 15th, President Obama and the United States Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, announced the rule change that would extend minimum wage and overtime protections to the workers under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act, that assures most workers in the nation receive overtime after 40 hours and are paid at least the federal minimum wage.

“Extending minimum wage and overtime protections to home care workers has been the Direct Care Alliance’s (DCA) flagship issue since the Supreme Court rules against Evelyn Coke,” stated Leonila Vega, executive director of the Direct Care Alliance.

The DCA is a national advocacy group which lobbies for direct care workers in long-term care. Home care workers are currently excluded from minimum wage and overtime protections because they are considered mere “companions.” The workers provide health and personal care services to the elderly and people with disabilities.

Evelyn Coke was a home care worker who challenged the companionship exemption in court. Her case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court, which ruled in 2007, that the Department of Labor was acting within its authority in upholding the exemption.

President Obama stated in a press released obtained by the newspaper that the workers employed within the home care industry shouldn’t have to wait any longer to be properly compensated.

“The nearly 2 million in-home care workers across the country should not have to wait a moment longer for a fair wage. They work hard and play by the rules and they should see that work and responsibility rewarded,” said President Obama.

The rule was announced at an event at the White House with advocates from across the country attending.

The proposed rule will soon be open for a public comment period, after which the Department of Labor will decide whether or not to issue a final rule. It’s likely Republicans in Washington will oppose the rule change.

“I am so grateful to Secretary Solis and her staff for their support on this issue. I earn less than $8 an hour, so without overtime pay I usually have to work at least 50 or 60 hours a week. If I got time and a half for overtime, I could work less and make a better life for myself and my family,” stated DCA member Elizabeth Castillo.

Sands guards union files additional labor complaints

12.30.11

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

Sands guards union files additional labor complaints

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, December 22nd- The Law Enforcement Employees Benevolent Association (LEEBA) Union, which represents security officers employed at the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, filed at least two more labor complaints with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia alleging the employer violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct), the newspaper has discovered.

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.

During the past four months the union or members of the LEEBA have filed at least seven Unfair Labor Practice’s (ULP’s) against the employer.

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 previously reported that Sands Casino employee, George Bonser of Birch Street in Easton, filed three ULP’s against the casino operators. Mr. Bonser is a security officer at Sands.

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

Mr. Bonser alleged 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.

He also alleged that a change in policy by the Sands Casino Resort employee handbook was made to start on August 1st, 2011. 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, the only unionized workers, states the ULP.

On November 18th, 2011, Peter Luck, identified on the complaint’s as the LEEBA Membership Coordinator, filed two ULP’s against Sands alleging the gambling casino violated the NLRAct.

“Officer Manar Makhoul on July 30th, 2011 following the election and victory by Sands security guards, was disciplined for allowing a patron under 21 to enter the Casino floor, an incident that took place two weeks before the election. Following the write-up Officer Makhoul was scheduled two meetings with Barry Wade for remedial re-training regarding patrons under 21. Sands Casino never held the scheduled meetings with Officer Makhoul,” states one of the latest ULP’s filed.

The complaint states Mr. Makhoul was later terminated and was denied the requested peer-review, which is clearly defined in the Sands employees handbook.

Mr. Makhoul alleges he was terminated for retaliation for being associated with the union considering that Sands policy is to not check every patron, but only individuals entering Sands they believe to be under 30.

The second ULP filed on November 18th, alleges that Sands violated the NLRAct by hiring approximately 12 security guards for the expansion of the shopping mall area without making them members of the bargaining unit. The union contends the only security allowed to function and operate inside the Sands Casino prior to the union election were current LEEBA members.