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Teamsters Local 229 announce College Scholarship winners

02.02.12

JANUARY 2012 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Teamsters Local 229 announce College Scholarship winners

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, December 26th- The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 229, North Main Avenue in Scranton, recently announced the winners of the 2011/2012 College Scholarship Program and for the first time a child of a member of the union was selected as a College Scholarship winner by the James R. Hoffa Scholarship Fund in Washington, DC.

Craig Pawlik, Secretary-Treasurer and Principal Officer of Local 229, stated he and the Executive Board of Teamsters Local 229 are proud to make the announcement of the three winners of the College Scholarship Program.

Local 229 represents IBT members in and around Scranton and Lackawanna and Monroe Counties of Northeastern Pennsylvania including; Topps Chewing Gum plant in Scranton, the United Parcel Service (UPS) facilities in Lackawanna County, New Penn Trucking employees, the Throop Department of Public Works (DPW) and the warehouse workers of Harper Collins Publishers.

Mr. Pawlik stated Katrina Good, daughter of Local 229 member Kevin Good was the recipient of the First Year Scholarship. Ms. Good is a freshman student attending Lock Haven University.

“Our Continuing Education Scholarship was awarded to Nicole Pollock,” said Mr. Pawlik.

Nicole has been enrolled at Wilkes University and is the daughter of IBT member Joseph Pollock.

For the first time in the history of Teamsters Union Local 229 a child of one of their members was selected as a College Scholarship Scholarship Fund. The scholarship, which is named after former Teamsters International General President James R. Hoffa, is a prestigious award opened to children and grandchildren of all IBT members throughout the United States and Canada.

One hundred scholarships are awarded under the program. Applicants compete in one of the five geographic regions where the Teamsters parent’s Local Union is located.

Thirty-one of the awards total $10,000 each. These four-year scholarships are disbursed at the rate of $2,500 per year and renewable annually.

Sixty-nine of the awards total $1,000 grants. These are disbursed to the college or university at the beginning of the recipient’s freshman year.

Eligibility requirements and application procedures are the same for all awards. Recipients are selected by an impartial committee of unversity admissions and financial aid directors based on academic and financial need.

Brittney Kulesza, daughter of IBT Local 229 member Joseph Kulesza was selected as one of the winners of this years program. Brittney is beginning her studies as a Freshman, attending the University of Pittsburgh.

Mr. Hoffa became a Teamsters member in 1934 and served as General President for 14 years and in recognition of his service to the IBT members was honored as General President Emeritus for life. In 1999 a resolution was passed by the IBT General Executive Board meeting to establish the new scholarship fund.

Mr. Hoffa’s son has recently won another term as General President of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

President Obama appoints “wall-street watchdog” to agency

02.02.12

JANUARY 2012 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

President Obama appoints “wall-street watchdog” to agency

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 5th- President Obama on Janaury 4th appointed former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, using the recess appointment after Senate Republicans blocked his nomination.

Tom McMahon, Executive Director of Americans United for Change, a left-leaning Washington, DC based political action organization, stated Mr. Obama did what Republicans in the Senate refused to do, show leadership on preventing another Wall-Street created economic crisis by appointing Mr. Cordray to head the agency.

The United States Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is the federal agency that holds primary responsibility for regulating consumer protection in the United States.

The bureau began operations on July 21st, 2011. It was founded as a result of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which passed during the 111th United States Congress in response to the late–2000’s recession and financial crisis.

The bureau was set up by Elizabeth Warren, who was passed over for diretor in favor of Richard Cordray. Mr. Cordray’s confirmation was delayed by Republicans in the United State Senate. The bureau has become the “focus of bitter fighting” between the administration of President Obama on one side and “Republicans and banking lobbyists on the other.”

On July 17th, Mr. Cordray was selected over Ms. Warren as the head of the entire CFPB. However, his nomination was immediately in jeopardy because 44 Senate Republicans had previously vowed to derail any nominee in order to encourage a decentralized structure to the organization. Senate Republicans has also shown a pattern of refusing to consider regulatory agency nominees, purportedly as a method of budget cutting.

“At every twist and turn Republicans have attempted delay, defund, or dismantle the Wall Street reforms enacted under President Obama that created the new watchdog agency Cordray will head. Republicans have chosen instead to stand with Wall Street companies and their well-paid lobbyists who have spent as many millions to underwine the new law, and done everything to avoid being held accountable for crashing the economy,” stated Mr. McMahon.

The American for Limited Government (ALG) a right-wing Washington, DC based free-market reform action organization, condemned the recess appointment of Mr. Cordray.

“The appointment of Richard Cordray to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and all acts he may take while in his post, are not worth the paper they are printed on. Barack Obama has rammed through a phony ‘recess’ appointment when there is no recess, and now he borders on being a tyrant. Obama cannot constitutionally pretend a recess into existence, and yet that is exactly what he has done. This has never been attempted before,” stated ALG President Bill Wilson.

CWA applaudes ruling involving FAA union elections

02.02.12

JANUARY 2012 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

CWA applaudes ruling involving FAA union elections

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, December 29th- The Communications Workers of America (CWA) International Union applauded the ruling of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that upheld the rule changes adopted by the National Mediation Board (NMB) in 2010 that was designed to hold union elections within the industry to the same basic principles as other elections in the nation.

Congressional Republican’s have attempted to overturn the NMB rules change by claiming that the election changes overstepped the agency’s authority, and the judicial ruling eliminates the lead rationale used by the GOP to block the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill, which caused a shutdown of the FAA in late summer 2011.

Congress did agree to a short-term funding extension that provided funds for the FAA until January, 2012. However, the issue will again be front and center when congress returns from the holiday recess.

The shutdown that put nearly 100,000 people out of work and cost the United States government $400 million, was led by Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee John Mica (Republican-Florida).

The CWA stated GOP House members, including Congressman Lou Barletta (11th Legislative District), insisted that the FAA funding legislation include an unrelated union-busting provision that would change the rules for union elections overseen by the NMB.

The Republicans want a rule that would allow workers that did not cast ballots in union elections be counted as “no” votes, rather than ballots actually cast.

The CWA has targeted two dozen Republicans, including Mr. Barletta, for what the Union called, “their willingness to shutdown the FAA over a union-busting provision inserted into the House version of the multi-year FAA Reauthorization bill.”

The judicial challenge was led by the Air Transport Association, primarily Delta Air Lines.

“This court ruling demolishes the agreement that the NMB overstepped its bounds in ensuring that NMB elections count only the ballots of those who actually vote. This ruling settles this issue once and for all: Republicans cannot continue to block the upgrades and job benefits of the FAA over a provision that has force of law, fairness, and common sense behind it,” stated CWA Communications Director Candice Johnson.

More Scranton firefighters laid-off, firehouses closed

02.02.12

JANUARY 2012 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

More Scranton firefighters laid-off, firehouses closed

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION- January 2nd- The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Union Local 60, which represent members of the Scranton Fire Department, now have 101 members following Democratic Mayor Chris Doherty’s most recent furlough of fire-fighters.

Mayor Doherty notified the 29 fire-fighters on November 30th, 2011 they would be laid-off because of a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision that overturned his anti-union legislation.

“The Mayor wants to balance the budget short-fall on the backs of the union’s.

I hope the taxpayers understand that at most there will be only four firehouses open on any given day throughout the city,” stated David Gervasi, Greivance Chairman of Local 60. Mr. Gervasi was President of the union until January 1st, 2012, after deciding he would not seek another term.

Scranton firefighter Jack Gaffney is acting President until the membership of Local 60 conducts an election in February.

The City of Scranton is 27 square miles, the third largest in Pennsylvania. Only Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are larger.

Because of the lay-offs, three of the eight Scranton firehouses are closed and two others are on “brown-outs” because there won’t be enough firefighters working to keep them open. Under a “brownout” firehouses will remain open but could be closed anytime because of a shortage of personel.

Mr. Gervasi told the newspaper most of the time only four of the ten companies in the city will be in service, because of the recent lay-offs.

Because of the furloughs, neighborhood firehouses in East Scranton, Petersburg and Wyoming Avenue are out-of-service. However under brown-outs, each day two more houses will be closed. “Three houses and five companies is all that will be available most of the time in the city,” added Mr. Gervasi.

“Call them brown-outs, but your neighborhood firehouse is still closed,” he added.

The Department of Labor (DOL) Rapid Response Team, a group of people affiliated with community organizations that meet with recent unemployed workers and help them adjust to a job loss, met with Local 60 members at St. Mary’s Center on Miffin Avenue in Scranton on December 29th.

The Rapid Response Team will help the unemployed worker file for unemployment benefits, learn about job training availability, and teach them about other programs.