Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

MIKULSKI STATEMENT ON REPUBLICAN VOTE TO HIKE FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN RATES ON JULY 1

05.29.12

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 24, 2012

CONTACT:

Rachel MacKnight

Matt Jorgenson

202-228-1122

MIKULSKI STATEMENT ON REPUBLICAN VOTE TO HIKE FEDERAL STUDENT LOAN RATES ON JULY 1

Senate Republicans Continue Filibuster of Bill to Prevent Doubling of Student Loan Rates for 103,000 Maryland Students

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) today expressed her strong disappointment that Senate Republicans continued their filibuster of the Stop the Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act of 2012. Senator Mikulski cosponsored the legislation to prevent federal student loan interest rates from doubling for more than 103,000 Maryland students on July 1st.

“I believe in America’s opportunity ladder, and higher education is an important rung on that ladder,” Senator Mikulski said. “It’s outrageous that Senate Republicans continue to stand in the way of much needed relief for middle-class families being squeezed by rising tuition costs.”

Republicans have repeated their demand that tax cuts for billionaires do not need to be paid for, while insisting that this bill to prevent a $1,000 a year rate hike for students be paid for by stripping away access to health care.

“I’m appalled that while Senate Republicans protect tax breaks and loopholes for billionaires and corporations that ship jobs overseas, their take it or leave it approach today would have stripped millions of Americans of life-saving preventive healthcare,” Senator Mikulski said. “I’ll continue to fight so that every student has access to the American dream and ensure that when they graduate, their first mortgage isn’t their student debt.”

As the cost of a college education continues to rise, this increase will add $1,000 to the cost of these loans for millions of Americans and will further squeeze middle class families already fighting to afford college. Without this legislation, interest rates on federal student loans will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. Republicans voted against the legislation in order to protect a tax loophole that allows the wealthy to avoid paying employment taxes on a significant portion of their income.

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IBT Union Local 773 files Petition and ULP’s against Lehigh Valley employers

05.29.12

JUNE 2012, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

IBT Union Local 773 files Petition and ULP’s against Lehigh Valley employers

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, May 19th- The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 773, Hamilton Street in Allentown, recently filed several labor complaints with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) region Four office in Philadelphia alleging several employers in the Lehigh Valley violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct). Also, the IBT filed a petition with the NLRB requesting the agency conduct an election to determine if employees of one of the employers want to be represented by Local 773.

The newspaper discovered the Unfair Labor Practices (ULP’s) and the Representation Petition while reviewing the information at the NLRB Region Four office. The Union News is the only member of the local media that reviews and publishes the information.

On May 11th, 2012 IBT Union Local 773 filed a ULP against the Holiday Inn Express, West Main Street in Stroudsburg. The Holiday Inn operates a hotel at the site.

The complaint was filed on behalf of the IBT by Attoreny Ryan Sweeney of Philadelphia. According to the ULP Gale Sweda is the contact person for the employer. Sweda is identified as the hotel’s General Manager on the complaint.

“On or about April 9th, 2012, the above named Employer, violated the NLRAct by discriminating in terms and conditions of employment and interfering with the information of a labor organization. Specifically, the Employerterminated employee, Chris Sierra, in retaliation for his protected behavior of organizing fellow employees,” states the complaint.

The newspaper also discovered Local 773 filed at least two ULP’s against Pratt Corrugated Logistics, 7533 Industrial Parkway in Macungie. Pratt Logistics is a paper products manufacturer.

Both complaints were filed against the employer on April 30th, 2012, several days before the Union filed a petition with the NLRB requesting the agency conduct an election to determine if the company employees want to represented by Local 773 for the purpose of collective bargaining.

On May 2nd, 2012 the union filed a petition requesting that 18 employees be involved in a NLRB conducted election including all full-time and regular part-time delivery and pick-up drivers including yard jockey position. The petition request that all superviors and guards be excluded from participating in the election.

The petition was filed on behalf of the Union by Darrin Fry, Local 773 Business Agent. Erin Cutler is identified as the company representative to be contacted on the petition.

“On or about April 20th, 2012 the above named Employer, through its agents, officers and representatives, violated the above Sections of the Act when it terminated the employment of Guillermo Mejia because of his Union support and/or activities,” states one of the ULP’s.

The second complaint alleges the company fired multible employees for their support of the Union.

“On or about April 27th, 2012 the above named Employer, violated the Act by terminating employees because of their Union support and/or activities including, but not necessarily limited to the following: Zsolt Harscut, Abdel Camilo, Luis Hernandez, Bill Lenula, Jay Lohman, Brian Fritzinger, Mike Dolan, Denis Cortez, Mike Messini, Tyler Donnelly, and William Lengle,” states the complaint.

The complaints were filed on behalf of Local 773 by Philadelphia Attorney Jeremy Meyer while the company representative to be contacted is Erin Cutler, Pratt’s Human Resources person

USPS announces plan to continue with consolidation

05.29.12

JUNE 2012, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

USPS announces plan to continue with consolidation

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, May 18th- The United States Postal Service (USPS) announced it would continue with their plan of consolidating 48 mail-processing centers throughout the nation including moving their operations from Scranton to the Lehigh Valley. The agency stated the move is intended as a cost-cutting plan. The consolidating of the mail-processing centers would save the agency nearly $1.2 billion a year, according to information provided by the USPS.

Because of the USPS announced intension of moving the Scranton processing center work to the Lehigh Valley facility, eliminating approximately 200 jobs, the region will gain around 100 jobs after some of the workers are transfered to the local center.

However, Kevin Gallagher, President of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Local 101 in Scranton, which represents around 300 of the workers that will be affected by the mail-processing center consolidation, stated he still hopes the jobs will remain in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

The United States Congress has been considering a variety of measures designed to cut USPS costs, and the United States Senate in April passed Senate Bill 1789 which would have delayed any planned closing of post offices and merging of distribution centers. However, the House of Representatives have not take action on the legislation, causing the USPS to take the cost-cutting measure of consolidating the 48 mail-processing centers.

The USPS stated it would close about 250 processing centers after the plan is fully implemented in 2014. Approximately 5,000 workers would be immediately affected by the consolidation including the 300 in Scranton. Under the plan, an additional 92 mail-processing centers will be consolidated in February 2013, and 89 more in 2014.

The APWU Local 268 represent workers that sort mail at the USPS processing center in Bethlehem Township.

The major reason the USPS loses money is because of legislation that was passed in 2006 that forces the agency to fund pensions for workers that have not yet even been born. The pensions for the future workers must be funded 75 years in advance. The USPS estimated that the post office department would have made a profit in 2010 if not for the provision of the pension issue.

Bernie Ogozalek, President of Local 268 stated his union doesn’t support the closure of the Scranton processing center.

Memorial Day 2012: A Lesson Not Yet Learned

05.28.12

by WALTER BRASCH

Today is Memorial Day, the last day of the three-day weekend. Veterans and community groups will remember those who died in battle and, as they have done for more than a century, will place small flags on graves.

But, for most of America, Memorial Day is a three-day picnic-filled weekend that heralds the start of Summer, just as Labor Day has become a three-day picnic-filled weekend that laments the end of Summer.

There will be memorial concerts and parades. The media, shoving aside political and celebrity news, will all have stories. Among those who will be the first to patriotically salute those who died in battle are those who enthusiastically pushed for them to go to war.

Each of the extended weekends also provides forums for politicians to stand in front of red-white-and-blue bunting to deliver political speeches they hope will make the voters think they care about veterans and the working class—and if it helps their election or re-election campaigns, so much the better.

The first Memorial Day was May 1, 1865, when hundreds of freed slaves, missionaries, and teachers held a solemn ceremony to honor the Union soldiers who died in a Confederate prison camp in Charleston, S.C. That memorial evolved into Decoration Day and then in 1882 to Memorial Day. The last Monday in May now honors all soldiers killed in all wars.

There haven’t been many years when the U.S. wasn’t engaged in some war. Some were fought for noble purposes, such as the Revolutionary War and World War II; some were fought for ignoble purposes, such as the Mexican-American and Spanish-American wars.

The U.S. is currently engaged in winding down the longest war in our history. The war in Afghanistan had begun with the pretense of a noble purpose—to capture the leaders of al-Qaeda who created 9/11. But, that war was nearly forgotten while the U.S. skip-jumped into Iraq, which had no connection to al-Qaeda, 9/11, or any weapons of mass destruction. It did have a dictator who allowed torture against its dissidents— but so did North Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and dozens of other countries that the Bush–Cheney war machine didn’t consider.

No, it was Iraq that became the focus of the White House Warriors. It wasn’t long before the U.S. commitment in Iraq was more than 10 times the personnel and equipment than in Afghanistan. It was a commitment that had left the U.S. vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters, as Hurricanes Katrina and Rita within a month of each other proved. The Bush–Cheney administration had diverted funds from numerous public works projects, including reinforcement of the levees in New Orleans, to increase the U.S. presence in Iraq. By the time Katrina had hit the Gulf Coast in August 2005, National Guard troops and their equipment, including deep water vehicles, were in Iraq.

Also in Iraq was now al-Qaeda, which Saddam Hussein had managed to keep out of his country; and a civil war, as Iraqi political and religious groups fought for control.
Barack Obama, as promised in his campaign, did end the war in Iraq, and reasserted American presence in Afghanistan, sought out and killed Osama bin Laden, and then created a way for complete U.S. withdrawal from combat.

The Bush–Cheney Administration had figured a maximum cost of $100 billion for what they believed would be no more than a two year war. The financial cost of the wars has been almost $4 trillion, according to an investigative study by researchers at Brown University. The $4 trillion includes rampant corruption and no-bid contracts to numerous companies, including Halliburton, Dick Cheney’s home for several years.

But the real cost is not in dollars but in lives. The war is being figured not by names and their lives but by numbers. The war in Afghanistan as of Memorial Day has cost 3,016 American and allied lives. The American wounded, some of whom will have permanent disabilities or may die lingering deaths from those wounds, is now at 15,322. In Iraq, 4,486 Americans died; 32,233 were wounded. There are no accurate estimates of the number of civilian and enemy deaths and wounded, but the numbers are in the hundreds of thousands.

“War represents a failure of diplomacy,” said Tony Benn, one of the most popular politicians, who served in the British parliament for more than 50 years, including several years as leader of various cabinet departments.

In wars throughout the world, there will be more deaths today and tomorrow and the next day and the day after that and every day thereafter. And once a year, Americans will honor the deaths of young men and women sent into battle by intractable politicians, supported by media pundits and a horde of civilians with the wisdom of asphalt who have not learned the lessons of Tony Benn.

[Walter Brasch’s latest book is the critically-acclaimed journalistic novel, Before the First Snow, which looks at the anti-war movement and the cost of war.]

United Steelworkers Union celebrates 70th year anniversity of the Union

05.27.12

JUNE 2012, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

United Steelworkers Union celebrates 70th year anniversity of the Union

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, May 23rd- The United Steelworkers Union (USW) Local 2599 celebrated the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the International Union with a event at the Union’s East Lehigh Street in Bethlehem building on May 22nd.

According to Jerry Green, who recently won a 5th three-year term as President of USW Local 2599, the ceremony honoring the USW was the only such event held in Pennsylvania.

The event began at 7:30 pm and was attended by approximately 150 people including former United States House of Representative for the 15th Legislative District Fred Rooney; Ed O’Brian, former USW Official; and Gary Ward, former USW Local 2598 President and current USW International Staff.

A slide show was displayed that included the past and recent history of the USW.

Before the event Mr. Green was sworn-in as President of Local 2599 for the fifth time. Mr. Green is the longest serving leader of Local 2599 in its history, which was chartered by the USW in 1942.

Local 2599 was one of the three USW Local Union’s that represented workers employed at the Bethlehem Steel Corporation plant in Bethlehem, which site is now the Sands Casino and Resort.

“I’m very proud to have served the members of Local 2599 for so many years,” stated Mr. Green.

In 1995 the USW merged the three Unions that represented workers employed at Bethlehem Steel, which were known as the “tri-local’s,” into Local 2599.

USW Local 2600 and USW Local 2598 also represented workers employed at the steel mill.

Mr. Green 57, is a Bethlehem resident and was employed at the Lehigh Heavy Forge Corporation plant in Bethlehem before being elected in 2000 to lead Local 2599.

Additional labor complaint filed against Sands Casino Resort

05.27.12

JUNE 2012, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Additional labor complaint filed against Sands Casino Resort

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, May 19th- The newspaper has discovered the Law Enforcement Employees Benevolent Association (LEEBA) Union filed at least a second labor complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four in Philadelphia alleging the Sands Casino Resort in Bethelhem violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct) during the past several months.

In the previous edition of the newspaper it was reported the Law Enforcement Employees Benevolent Association filed a Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge against Sands alleging the legalized gambling resort violated the NLRAct. The ULP change was filed in March 2012 and alleged Sands violated Section 8 (a)(5) of the NLRAct.

The Union won the right to represent the security department of Sands in 2011 however, they have been unsuccessful in gaining a first-time contract with the casino operators. There are no other union workers employed at Sands, but members of the construction trades unions have been hired for the construction of the casino and other projects at the site.

According to the ULP, Sands have failed to negotiate with LEEBA during the first-time contract negotiations.

“Failure to Negotiate in good faith. On March 2nd, 2012 we requested dates in April for contract negotiations. On March 6th, 2012 the Sands Casino refused to begin negotiations. On March 9th, 2012 Sands casino informed the security officers they will not negotiate with the Law Enforcement Employees Benevolent Association,” states the labor complaint, which was reviewed by the newspaper.

The Union News is the only member of the local media that reviews petitions and complaints filed at the NLRB office in Philadelphia and publishes the findings.

On April 30th, the LEEBA filed a second ULP alleging Sands denied union representation to an employee and union member during a meeting with management.

“Security Officer Michael Then was summoned to the office of Kathy Bierbeck, Human Resource representative for a follow-up meeting regarding a “write-up” he received a couple days prior.

When told to report to the meeting Officer Then notified his union delegate, William Modzelewski to attend as his representative. Upon arriving at the meeting Officer Then was denied union representation,” states the labor complaint.

New nurses survey released by PASNAP Union indicates fear regarding workplace violence

05.27.12

JUNE 2012, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

New nurses survey released by PASNAP Union indicates fear regarding workplace violence

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, May 15th- The Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP) Union, which represents nurses employed at medical centers in Philadelphia, Wilkes-Barre and Scranton, released a survey of 25,000 Registered Nurses (RN’s) regarding workplace safety.

The survey was released on May 8th, and shows nurses are concerned about staffing, and workplace violence.

The report indicated that nurses continue to be alarmed by chronic unsafe nurse staffing at their facilities and that most believe they have much less time to spend with their patients than in prior years.

“These results clearly show that the issues of adequate staffing and patient safety continue to dominate the concerns of Pennsylvania nurses. All of the academic research lines up with the day to day concerns of nurses, minimum nurse to patient ratios would both keep patients safer and save millions for the health care system.

This new survey confirms what front line nurses have been saying for years, the hospitals industry should listen,” stated PASNAP member Patricia Eakin, an emergency department nurse at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia.

Legislation was introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in November, 2011 which would require Pennsylvania hospitals and other health care facilities to take proactive steps to protect nurses and other health care workers from suffering violence on the job.

House Bill 1992 was supported by PASNAP and would require hospitals to assess the security risks in their facilities, find ways to create a safer workplace, and help victims of violence report incidences.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released data in November 2011 that showed the incidence rate for health care workers that require days away from work because of nonfatal occupational injuries increased 6 percent in 2010. There were 283 cases per 10,000 full-time workers, almost 2 1/2 times the rate for all private and public sector workers at 118 cases per 10,000 full-time workers.

The rate among nursing aids, orderlies and attendants rose 7 percent to 489 per 10,000 workers. Also, the rate of musculoskeletal disorder cases with days away from work for nursing aids, orderlies and attendants increased 10 percent to a rate of 249 cases per 10,000 workers.

The PASNAP survey revealed a significant uptick in verbal and physical violence directed on the job. The union is affiliated with the California Nurses Association (CNA). The CNA is a member of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington, DC.

Eighty percent of surveyed nurses say that during the past five years they have had less time for their patients, citing low nurses-to-patient ratios as the main cause, and that 70 percent believe that having less time with each patient has negatively effected patient outcomes.

Other findings of the survey found that 46 percent of all nurses feel that threats to their safety and workplace violence are issues on their unit and 24 percent of nurses plan to retire in the next 3 years, 48 percent in the next 10 years.

“It is unacceptable that the workers who have dedicated their lives to caring for our loved ones when they are sick are the very same workers who face the highest risk of work-related injury and illness,” stated OSHA’s Assistant Secretary, Dr. David Michaels.

New union election regulations struck down by federal judge

05.27.12

JUNE 2012, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

New union election regulations struck down by federal judge

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, May 13th- The new standards proposed by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that was intended to shorten when workers could vote whether they want to be represented by a labor organization for the purpose of collective bargaining had survived anti-union Republican party members and pro-business groups until May 13th when a federal judge struck down the new regulations.

Since December 2011 when the five member NLRB voted 2-0 anti-union groups, including most Republicans in Washington, have attempted to kill the new regulations.

In April the United States Senate rejected a Republican attempt to overturn the new regulations designed to give labor organizations quicker representation elections in the workplace. The party line vote against a resolution of disapproval left intact the NLRB rules that had took effect on April 30th. The Senate voted 54 to 45, with Pennsylvania Democratic Senator Bob Casey voting against the Republican resolution and Pennsylvania Republican Senator Pat Toomey voting in favor.

The NLRB has been the focus of partisan bickering since President Obama gave the agency its first Democratic party majority in a decade. The President gets to appoint members to the NLRB but the Senate must approve the appointments before they can be seated to a full-term on the board. However, Republicans in the Senate blocked Mr. Obama’s appointments by filibustering the vote and he placed two members on the NLRB by recess appointment in December 2011.

The federal judge ruled that the NLRB could not approve the new regulations, because they never had a quorum when it voted in December to approve the regulations. At the time, the agency only had three members because Republicans in the Senate blocked two President Obama appointments. The only Republican member of the NLRB although present, would not cast a vote on the new regulations, causing only two members to participate in the final vote. If he voted against the new rules, the NLRB would have had a quorum. Under NLRB rules at least three members must participate in rulings.

The rules were already weakened since first being proposed in June 2011. Under the new standards elections must be held within 42 days after workers request the agency conduct an representation election. Currently elections are held between 45 and 60 days. Before a labor organization can file a petition requesting a election at least 30 percent of the employees must support the union and sign a petition or authorization cards requesting the NLRB conduct an election.

Also, under the new rules employers would have not been able to “delay” representation elections by filing appeals until after the election was held. Under current rules, employers often appeal NLRB findings before elections are held, causing delays that gives them more time to intimidate workers. A labor organization must receive 50 percent plus one of the eligible to vote employees in a NLRB election to win the right to represent them in collective bargaining.

The United States Chamber of Commerce in Washington DC and other business groups termed the new standard the “ambush election rule.”

They stated the purpose of this regulation is to “cut-off” free speech rights to educate employees about the effects of unionization. However, in reality, employers often want the extra time to hire anti-union lawfirms and consultants that will attempt to convince the employees not to support the union, or make promises to them that if they vote no the employer would treat them better.

The NLRB is likely to vote again within several weeks on the new regulations.

IBEW Union Local 1600 files labor complaint against PPL

05.25.12

JUNE 2012, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

IBEW Union Local 1600 files labor complaint against PPL

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, May 18th- The labor organization that represents employees of the PPL Corporation, which has its headquarters at North Ninth Street in Allentown, filed a labor complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia alleging the utilty provider violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

According to the Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge, which was discovered by the newspaper while reviewing representation peitions and labor complaints filed at the NLRB Region Four office, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union Local 1600 represents approximately 1,000 PPL employees.

The Union News is the only member of the local media, including newspapers, television or radio broadcasters, that reviews and publicizes the information.

The labor complaint was filed on behalf of Local 1600 by Philadelphia Attorney William Josem on May 10th, 2012 and alleges PPL violated Section 8 (a) and subsection (5) of the National Labor Relations Act.

“The above named Employer; by and through its agents, has failed and refused to bargain in good faith with Local Union Number 1600 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, AFL-CIO, the exclusive representative of the Employer’s physical and clerical employees. In particular, the Employer has failed and refused to provide relevant information to Local 1600, despite a request therefor,” states the ULP.

The ULP states the company representative to be contacted is Timothy Newman. Mr. Newman’s position with the company is not identified on the labor complaint.

IBEW Local 1600 office is in Trexlertown Township and the President and Financial Secretary is Michael Wert.

PPL provides electricity to approximately 1.4 million customers in Pennsylvania.

The utility company recently announced it would increase its power rates by 15 percent beginning June 1st, 2012. The small business rate for electricity will increase by around 43 percent.

The Public Utility Commission (PUC), which oversees public utility company’s in Pennsylvania, stated PPL price rate is important because it sets the standard that other power suppliers charge for electric service.

Lehigh Valley unemployment rate decreases two-tenths of a percentage point to 7.9 percent

05.25.12

JUNE 2012, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Lehigh Valley unemployment rate decreases two-tenths of a percentage point to 7.9 percent

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, May 19th- 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 7.9 percent, decreasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. The Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Lehigh, Northampton, and Carbon Counties of Pennsylvania and Warren County, New Jersey. Twelve months ago the unemployment rate for the region was 8.6 percent.

There are fourteen Metropolitan Statistical Area’s in Pennsylvania and the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third highest unemployment rate.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA has the highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 8.7 percent. The Philadelphia MSA and the Johnston MSA are tied for the second highest unemployment rate at 8.2 percent.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 5.4 percent, decreasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report. The Lebanon MSA has the second lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 5.9 percent and the Lansaster MSA has the third lowest unemployment rate at 6.0 percent.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 7.5 percent, decreasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report, which was released approximately four weeks ago, and dropping by four-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months before.

There are 479,000 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 6,406,000 and 5,927,000 of them have employment. The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was reported to be 8.2 percent, decreasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report. That number also does not include civilians that have exhausted their unemployment benefits and have stopped looking for work.

The Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor force in Pennsylvania with 423,900 civilians, decreasing by 1,300 from the month before and rising by 2,400 during the past twelve months.

The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor force at 2,988,600 with 244,300 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor force at 1,245,700 with 84,100 without jobs; the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA has the fourth largest civilian labor force in the commonwealth at 286,400 with 24,800 civilians without jobs. The Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA has the fifth largest labor force at 285,300 with 19,100 unemployed civilians.

There are 12,673,000 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 16.1 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. During the past four-weeks more than 230,000 workers unemployment benefits expired.

Carbon County has the highest unemployment rate in the MSA at 9.3 percent, increasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report. Carbon County has a civilian labor force of 32,000 with 3,000 residents without jobs.

Lehigh County unemployment rate is 7.7 percent, decreasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. Lehigh County has a civilian labor force of 179,800 with 13,800 residents jobless.

Northampton County also has a unemployment rate of 7.7 percent, decreasing by three-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report with a civilian labor-force of 152,500, and 11,600 without jobs.

New AFL-CIO Super PAC will be controlled by members

05.21.12

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

New AFL-CIO Super PAC will be controlled by members

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION- May 2nd- The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington, DC have particially relinquished control of its funds of the Super PAC for the upcoming election cycle.

The Super PAC is the largest union-affiliated fund that is used to finance campaign activities during political campaigns.

The new Super PAC, “Workers’ Voice” will allow volunteers who make phone calls, knock on doors and or participate in other campaing activities, to receive credit toward determining where the labor federation directs its funds leading-up to the November election.

Participants who undertake campaign activities, phone banking, neighorhood canvassing, field program volunteering and other parts of the program, will be rewarded the equivalent of Super PAC currency. The more time a volunteer spends on the political campaign activities the more “Super PAC currency” the individual earns.

The AFL-CIO has not yet finalized the program that will determine the amount of currency each campaign activity will be worth. The labor federation will wait until they monitor initial reactions to the program. However, participates looking to earn currency will be able to choose an activity to complete from an online menu. The menu will not include direct contributions to a candidate or committee, which the super PAC is prohibited from making.

Since 2000 the AFL-CIO has spent millions of dollars conducting their labor political program attempting to get political candidates elected or re-elected that support working people issues.

The AFL-CIO’s “Workers’ Voice” Super PAC currently has over $4.1 million on hand.

Currently, decisions over how money is spent on elections are made by officials inside the union or running the PAC. Often conservative critics state that union dues are being used without member input or against their wishes.

However, in reality any union member can “check off” and not have any of their money go to political purposes, something the main stream press doesn’t report.

The AFL-CIO will monitor the new system closely to ensure that participants are not “gaming the system,” such as claiming to have knocked on more doors or placed more calls than they actually did.

The newspaper will report more on this program in future editions.

PSEA Union files complaint against Lackawanna College

05.21.12

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

PSEA Union files complaint against Lackawanna College

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, April 28th- The labor organization that represent workers of Lackawanna College, Vine Street in Scranton, filed a labor complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia, alleging the college violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

The Lackawanna College Education Association which is affiliated with the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) Union, Highway 315 in Wilkes-Barre, represents employees of Lackawanna College and have been without a labor contract since June 30th, 2010 when the previous pact expired.

The number of employees the PSEA represents at the school of higher education is not identified on the Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge filed by the Union against Lackawanna College in April.

The newspaper discovered the ULP while reviewing petitions and complaints filed at the NLRB Region Four office.

The complaint was filed on behalf of the PSEA by Jeffrey Husisian, identified on the ULP as an Staff Attorney of the Union.

According to the ULP, the two parties agreed to extend the Collective Bargaining Agreement until June 30th, 2011, meaning members of the bargaining unit would work under the terms and conditions of the previous pact, while negotiations continued for a successor contract.

On October 17th, 2011 the College distributed a lengthy memorandum to every one of the members of the union addressing the status and events of negotiations.

The memorandum blamed the PSEA leadership for the lack of success at the bargaining table and suggested the Union is not acting in the best interest of the membership.

Also, in a March 26th, 2012 memoranda to the membership, the Employer alleged the Union leadership of pursuing its own personal interests and not serving the best interests of the membersship.

The ULP also states the College directed the membership to contact them rather than the PSEA leadership for any questions regarding the collective bargaining process.

Lackawanna College is represented by management labor attorney Robert Ufberg of Scranton.

The ULP alleges that the College is seeking to learn from the PSEA membership their individual opinions regarding bargaining in order to undermine the leadership and acquire unfair leverage in negotiating meetings with the Union.

Report shows PLA’s help create middle-class careers

05.20.12

MAY 2012, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Report shows PLA’s help create middle-class careers

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, April 5th- The School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University in New York released a new report that the college states demonstrates how Project Labor Agreements (PLA’s) are helping to create middle-class careers in the United States construction industry.

The Report, “Community Workforce Provisions in Project Labor Agreements: A Tool for Building Middle-Class Careers” represented a national study of Project Labor Agreement’s by Cornell University, consisting of an analysis of more than 185 PLA’s, along with a national survey of state and local building and construction trades councils in the United States.

A PLA is a comprehensive agreement signed by a builder and local craft unions under which a defined construction project is agreed to be completed by workers from local union halls, in return for the union’s guarantee of no strikes, a steady labor supply, and general labor peace.

Under a PLA, a nonunion contractor could still be hired for a project, however, if they are selected local unionized workers must be hired for the construction.

Republicans in the Pennsylvania General Assembly in Harrisburg have targeted the use of PLA’s and legislation was introduced in committee that if passed would ban the use of Project Labor Agreements. Anti-union Republicans have attempted three other times of banning the use of PLA’s on public construction projects in the past.

Among the key findings of the report are that 97 percent of the 185 PLA’s examined incorporated “community workforce provisions” which are specifically designed to create pathways to jobs and career training for women, minorities and military veterans (through the “Helmets to Hardhats” program).

“The Cornell report confirms and illuminates the ‘untold story’ of Project Labor Agreement’s,” stated Mark Ayers, President of the Building and Construction Trades Department of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington, DC.

“Not only are PLA’s an effective project management tool that delivers ‘on time, on budget’ results for entities such as Toyota and Wal-Mart, but they are extremely effective at providing job and career training opportuntunities for historically disadvantaged communities.

The bottom line, as exemplified by this report, is that PLA’s work,” added Mr. Ayers.

Meanwhile, some Republican members of the General Assembly in Harrisburg have recently again called for the repeal of the Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage law.

“Who knows better what local governments need to cut costs and do more with less than the local governments themselves? And they say from county commissioner, city, township and school board associations, repeal the prevailing wage law,” stated House of Representative John Bear (Republican 97th Legislative District). Mr. Bear however gave no examples of elected officials that wanted the Pennsylvania Prevailing Wage Act repealed.

Meanwhile, the Keystone Research Center in Harrisburg released an study on April 2nd that weakening PLA law would harm the middle class and hurt local economies.

“Study after study that examines the cost of actual projects finds that prevailing wage laws do not increase costs, as Pennsylvania learned first-hand during the Ridge Administration,” said Dr. Stephen Herzenberg, Keystone Research Center’s Executive Director.

United States Postal Service reform legislation would delay processing center move

05.20.12

MAY 2012, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

United States Postal Service reform legislation would delay processing center move

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, April 21st- Federal legislation could delay planned changes to the United States Postal Service (USPS) that was to bring more jobs to the Lehigh Valley in mid-May.

The United States Congress has been considering a variety of measures designed to cut USPS costs, and the United States Senate recently passed Senate Bill 1789 which would delay any planned closing of post offices and merging of distribution centers.

The USPS announced earlier this year that 252 mail processing centers will be consolidated including Scranton’s into the Lehigh Valley’s. According to the agency, the service lost more than $3.3 billion in the last three months of 2011.

There are around 487 mail processing centers throughout the nation, including the one in Scranton and in the Lehigh Valley.

The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Local 268 represent workers that sort mail at the USPS processing center in Bethlehem Township.

The USPS announced in February the mail processing center in Scranton would be eliminated with the operations being moved to the Lehigh Valley. Under the plan, the Bethlehem facility would gain jobs with many of the workers in Scranton being offered the opportunity to work in the center.

The major reason the USPS loses money is because of legislation that was passed in 2006 that forces the agency to fund pensions for workers that have not yet even been born. The pensions for the future workers must be funded 75 years in advance. The USPS estimated that the post office department would have made a profit in 2010 if not for the provision of the pension issue.

The APWU and the other two labor organization’s that represent the employees of the USPS believe one of the biggest reasons legislators in Washington supported the pension plan was because of them being anti-union. The USPS employs more union workers than any other employer in the United States including the auto industry and often supports Democratic party candidates.

Bernie Ogozalek, President of Local 268 stated his union doesn’t support the closure of the Scranton processing center. “It is very unfortunate that the USPS decided to close the Scranton mail processing facility,” Mr. Ogozalek said.

However, United States Senator Robert Casey Jr. (Democrat-Pennsylvania) hopes to postpone the loss of the 300 jobs in Scranton.

Mr. Casey introduced an amendment to the USPS reform bill that would continue six-day postal delivery for four years, and would delay the consolidation of the mail processing centers.

Union files labor complaint against Sands Casino

05.20.12

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

Union files labor complaint against Sands Casino

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, April 14th- The Law Enforcement Employees Benevolent Association (LEEBA) Union filed a labor complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four in Philadelphia alleging a Lehigh Valley employer violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

The Law Enforcement Employees Benevolent Association filed a UnFair Labor Practice (ULP) change against Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem in March 2012 alleging the legalized gambling resort violated Section 8 (a)(5) of the NLRAct.

The Union won the right to represent the security department of Sands in 2011 however, they have been unsuccessful in gaining a first-time contract with the casino operators. There are no other union workers employed at Sands, but members of the construction trades unions have been hired for the construction of the casino and other projects at the site.

According to the ULP, Sands have failed to negotiate with LEEBA during the first-time contract negotiations.

“Failure to Negotiate in good faith. On March 2nd, 2012 we requested dates in April for contract negotiations. On March 6th, 2012 the Sands Casino refused to begin negotiations. On March 9th, 2012 Sands casino informed the security officers they will not negotiate with the Law Enforcement Employees Benevolent Association,” states the labor complaint, which was reviewed by the newspaper.

The Union News is the only member of the local media that reviews petitions and complaints filed at the NLRB office in Philadelphia and publishes the findings.

The ULP was filed on behalf of the Union by Peter Luck. Mr. Luck position with the Union is not identified on the complaint.

Robert DeSalvio is identified on the ULP as the contact person for the Employer. Mr. DeSalvio position with Sands is also not identified on the labor complaint.

The LEEBA has filed numerous ULP’s against Sands since winning the right to represent the security department.

Lehigh Valley unemployment rate decreases one-tenth of a percentage point to 8.1 percent

05.20.12

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

Lehigh Valley unemployment rate decreases one-tenth of a percentage point to 8.1 percent

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, April 6th- 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 8.1 percent, decreasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report. The Metropolitan Statistical Area 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 MSA is tied with the Johnsotwn MSA with the third highest unemployment rate.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA has the highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 8.9 percent. The Philadelphia MSA has the second highest unemployment rate at 8.3 percent.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 5.5 percent, increasing by three-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. The Lebanon MSA has the second lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 5.9 percent and the Lansaster MSA has the third lowest unemployment rate at 6.3 percent.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 7.6 percent, unchanged from the previous report, which was released approximately three weeks ago. There are 483,000 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 6,389,000 and 5,906,000 of them have employment. The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was reported to be 8.3 percent, also unchanged from the previous report. That number also does not include civilians that have exhausted their unemployment benefits and have stopped looking for work.

The Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor force in Pennsylvania with 425,000 civilians, increasing by 1,300 during the past twelve months.

The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor force at 2,975,300 with 247,200 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor force at 1,235,200 with 82,300 without jobs; the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA has the fourth largest civilian labor force in the commonwealth at 284,300 with 25,200 civilians without jobs. The Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA has the fifth largest labor force at 283,200 with 19,400 unemployed civilians.

There are 12,806,000 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 16.1 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.

Carbon County has the highest unemployment rate in the MSA at 9.1 percent, decreasing by seven-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. Carbon County has a civilian labor force of 31,900 with 2,900 residents without jobs.

Lehigh County has the lowest unemployment rate within the MSA at 7.7 percent, decreasing by four-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. Lehigh County has a civilian labor force of 180,100 with 13,900 residents jobless.

Northampton County has a unemployment rate of 8.0 percent, decreasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report with a civilian labor-force of 152,700, and 12,200 without jobs.

Truck drivers claim union talk cost them their jobs

05.20.12

Truck drivers claim union talk cost them their jobs
——————–

Labor board investigating complaints by 13 terminated at Lower Macungie cardboard plant

By Spencer Soper, Of The Morning Call

May 19 2012

Five months after it opened a new $35 million cardboard plant in Lower Macungie, Pratt Corrugated Logistics laid off most of its 18 truck drivers, telling them the company decided to contract with outside haulers instead.

The complete article can be viewed at:
http://www.mcall.com/business/mc-pratt-union-complaint-20120519,0,3232126.story

Will Conservatives Support American Companies… Or Chinese Companies?

05.19.12

Will Conservatives Support American Companies… Or Chinese Companies?

by Dave Johnson

Which is better for an economy: millions of future jobs and trillions of future dollars, or a few people making a quick buck today by selling out their country? For decades America’s 1 percent-backed conservatives have chosen the latter course, and we can see the results all around us. Now the Obama administration has imposed stiff tariffs on Chinese solar panels because China was “dumping” — selling below cost — to drive American manufacturers out of business. Will conservatives support their country and our companies or will they continue to side with our country’s competitors?

U.S. Imposes Stiff Tariffs

The Commerce Department yesterday concluded that Chinese solar panel companies are “dumping” product — selling below the cost of production — into the U.S. market, and imposed stiff tariffs. According to the New York Times’ “U.S. Slaps High Tariffs on Chinese Solar Panels”:

The United States on Thursday announced the imposition of antidumping tariffs of more than 31 percent on solar panels from China.

… The antidumping decision is among the biggest in American history, covering one of the largest and fastest-growing categories of imports from China, the world’s largest exporter.

Industry of the Future

Again and again technology revolutions come along and disrupt economies. Countries that jump on new technologies are the countries that win the industries and jobs and revenue. This is how the United States became the world power that it is was. Railroads, steel, automobiles, airplanes, electronics, semiconductors, computers, the Internet, pharmaceuticals, biotech and software are a few examples. And in every case our government helped these new industries get off the ground. When these industries took root the payoff was enormous.

Green energy is one such technology of the future. Producing solar panels, wind turbines, etc. will bring millions and millions of jobs and trillions of dollars, and several countries are competing to win a share of this new industry.

China is fighting hard for those jobs and dollars. They are being smart, and they are also pushing past the limits of the rules. From the New York Times story:

Alan Price, a partner who heads the international trade practice at Wiley Rein, the law firm representing the United States companies in both the solar and wind cases, said that China posed a particular threat to America’s developing green energy sector.

“China’s method is straightforward: it sets forth industry-specific Five-Year Plans and then uses all forms of national and local subsidies and other governmental support to quickly transfer jobs, supply chains, intellectual property and wealth, to the permanent detriment of U.S. and global manufacturers,” he said. “China’s ability to ramp up and overwhelm an industry is unique and particularly devastating with new and emerging technologies, where global competitors may be less established and can be knocked out more easily and quickly.”

To compete for a share of this new industry we need to be proactive. We need national efforts to develop the industrial commons, or ecosystem, that will foster green-tech industries. We also need government policies that promote a market for these products until they take hold, just as our defense industry did for aircraft and other new technologies. And we need to enforce the rules for international economic competition, which is what has happened with the tariff decision.

Decision Not Political

The New York Times story points out that this was not a political decision by the Obama administration,

The American decision was made by civil servants in a quasi-judicial process that is heavily insulated by law from political interference and does not represent a deliberate attempt by the Obama administration to confront China on trade policy. But that distinction has been largely lost in China, where the solar panel issue has been one of many causes embraced online by the country’s vociferous ultranationalists, who put heavy pressure on Chinese officials to respond forcefully to perceived snubs to China.

The rules say that if a country is dumping, then we must impost tariffs. The Commerce Department investigated and concluded that China has been dumping so they had no choice. If we do not enforce trade rules, they are meaningless and countries that cheat gain an advantage, driving out the honest players. That is how cheating, accountability and enforcement work. (Hint: this also applies to banking fraud laws.)

In the case of solar-panel tariffs, we were losing companies and jobs and facing losing the possibility of losing the entire industry to China. From “Tariffs On Chinese Solar Might Help Prevent The Next Solyndra”:

You have probably heard about a solar-energy company named Solyndra, but probably what you have heard is a bunch of negative, conspiratorial, anti-alternative-energy, anti-Obama stuff from the corporate/conservative spin machine. The real story is that our government is trying to help us capture some of the new green energy industry that will create the jobs of the future. But China is, too. And China doubled down, and then quadrupled down on government support. They even directly subsidize their companies so their products cost less. This helped put Solyndra out of business. But the Obama administration is doing something about it.

China cheats, and we don’t usually do anything about it. They let companies pollute, don’t do much about worker safety, pay low wages, and make people work long hours. So-called “free trade” lets companies cost us more than 50,000 factories in the Bush years, and millions of jobs. And it empowers companies here to tell their workers to shut up and behave and accept wage and benefit cuts, or they’ll send their jobs to China, too. We continue to just let China take jobs, factories and industries because powerful interests, like Wall Street, make tons of money off of it.

So the decision is made, our country is engaging in the economic war that has been underway against us. Will our country’s conservatives take our country’s side?

Solyndra, Chevy Volt And The Anti-Green Propaganda Campaign

Oil-backed conservatives have been waging a campaign to discredit green energy, trying to stop government efforts to move us away from dependence on oil and coal. (Please click the links.)

They have used the failure of solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra — partly due to Chinese dumping — to paint green tech in general as a bad investment. They have even tried to turn the public against the Chevy Volt, claiming that it “ran out of juice in the Lincoln Tunnel” when it actually just kicked over to the gas-engine charger, and that the car is “flammable” because on test battery got too hot — as compared to cars that run on gasoline! (Gasoline car-fire data at the link.)

These anti-dumping tariffs change the dynamics of this oil-backed anti-green campaign. Now when conservatives slam Solyndra or the Chevy Volt and otherwise join in this anti-green-energy campaign they are taking China’s side against American companies at a time when the country is engaged in economic conflict. This presents a tough choice to the conservative movement: Do they continue to accept oil and coal company funding and side against their country and support China, or will they return to their pro-American roots and side with their country in a time of conflict?

Installers Hit Hard?

Low prices from trade-cheaters are always attractive. But if we want a slice of the jobs, factories, industries and economy of the future we have to fight back when our competitors cheat.

The solar-installer industry is worried they will be hit hard by this because prices for solar panels could increase sharply. According to BusinessWeek’s “U.S. Solar Tariffs on Chinese Cells May Boost Prices”:

The tariffs “will increase solar electricity prices in the U.S. precisely at the moment solar power is becoming competitive with fossil fuel generated electricity,” Shah said in a statement. “This new artificial tax will undermine the success of the U.S. solar industry.”

[…] The U.S. decision to impose import duties on Chinese solar panels will raise their price to $1.11 per watt, according to calculations by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a London-based researcher owned by Bloomberg LP. That price is 17 percent higher than the current spot price of non-Chinese panels.

Forbes’s article “Solar Installers Caught In Cross Fire Of Escalating China Trade War” states:

On Thursday, the U.S. Commerce Department issued a preliminary decision levying steep tariffs against Chinese solar manufacturers, finding they illegally dumped cheap photovoltaic cells on the American market. But the companies that install those solar panels on residential and commercial rooftops — and which have benefited from a 75 percent plunge in photovoltaic prices in recent years — are split over the impact of the tariffs on their burgeoning business.

The government could remedy the impact on domestic customers and installers several ways, including:
•by using the new tariffs to fund tax credits and other incentives that help homeowners and businesses make the move to solar power,

•by imposing a large “carbon tax” that is refunded on a per-capita basis. This would mean high users of carbon-based fuels would pay in, the revenue is divided up evenly to everyone over 21 and paid out with a monthly check, and people could use this money to both cover their own added energy expenses and to purchase solar and other alternative energy products to lower their carbon-energy footprint,

•and by setting a national renewable energy standard, requiring power producers to use a certain percentage of solar, wind and other alternatives, creating more of a market for green tech.

Oil And Coal And “Buggy-Whip” Technologies

Of course the oil and coal companies will continue to fight this shift from their “buggy-whip” technology, and will use their tremendous influence over our government to try to hold off the inevitable. But the tide is shifting. The fact that China is fighting so hard and putting so much investment into this sector shows its value to the world economy in the future. The fact that our government is responding shows that we have a chance to win a share of the jobs and revenue that green tech promises to bring.

This post originally appeared at Campaign for America’s Future (CAF) at their Blog for OurFuture. I am a Fellow with CAF.

Sign up here for the CAF daily summary

http://caf.democracyinaction.org/o/11002/t/43/content.jsp?content_KEY=1

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Contributors wanted

05.19.12

You can send me an email at demlabor@aol.com if interested in contributing content to this site. Please share in that email your contact information and a line or two about yourself.

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The public registration feature is disabled because of automated spam registrations flooding the system. I will create your account once approved.

In Solidarity,

Stephen Crockett

Editor, Mid-Atlantic Labor.com
member, National Writers Union (UAW 1981)

Machinists Union wants to represent workers at Tobyhanna

05.19.12

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

Machinists Union wants to represent workers at Tobyhanna

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, May 2nd- The International Association of Machinists (IAM) Union District 1 recently filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia requesting the agency conduct an election to determine if workers of a private contractor at Tobyhanna Army Depot in Tobyhanna Township want to be represented by the Union.

The IAM currently has several labor agreements with contractors hired by the United States Department of Defense (DOD) and does not represent workers actually employed by the Defense Department. The represented number of workers the IAM has varies because the Union only has labor agreements with DOD contractors that are hired to perform specific work.

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Union Local 1647 represents the workers employed by the DOD. Under federal law union security clauses are forbiden in labor contracts between government installations and a labor organization.

Because of the rule, AFGE Local 1647 must request all newly hired workers join the union.

According to the petition, which was reviewed by the newspaper, the IAM request the NLRB conduct an representation election to determine if approximately 10 employees of Allied Services Burnley Employment and Rehabilitation want to be represented by the Union for the purpose of collective bargaining.

The IAM request that all full-time and regular part-time Masking Laborers and Mailroom Delivery workers employed at the 11 Hap Arnold Boulevard location of the Tobyhanna Army Depot be allowed to participate in the election. They request that all clerical employees be excluded.