Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

Workers that help the laid-off are being cut themselves

07.28.12

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

Workers that help the laid-off are being cut themselves

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, July 18th- Members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Union’s have been notified they will be laid-off by Pennsylvania. The workers are employed in the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry Department which includes workers in the Unemployment Compensation Service Centers (UCSC) and the State Workers Insurance Fund (SWIF).

Some of the lay-offs effect workers that help the jobless learn how to apply for unemployment benefits. Their jobs are to answer the phones and to process unemployment claims.

Recently Pennsylvania made it more differcult for laid-off workers to obtain benefits and continue to receive them by making the unemployed worker prove they are looking for work. Also new eligibility rules have been inplemented with various federal benefits being phased out.

When contacted by the newspaper, Pennsylvania Labor and Industry Secretary, Julia Hearthway in a statement claimed the reason for the lay-offs were because of unemployment claims dropping since the recession ended. “We aren’s back to the level of prerecession claims, but the volume has dropped to the point where the need for higher capacities and greater expense isn’t there,” she stated.

However, in reality many Pennsylvanian workers have been unemployed “long-termed” and have exhausted their unemployment benefits. Those workers are no longer considered unemployed.

According to the most recent data provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry’s, Center for Workforce Information and Analysis Department, approximately 475,000 workers in Pennsylvania are unemployed. That number does not count the long-termed unemployed that have exhausted their benefits.

Laid-off workers must call UCS Center’s after being laid-off and wait until their call is received. Pennsylvania is laging behind many states in its ability to deliver initial unemployment benefits in a timely manner and the lay-offs of AFSCME and SEIU members will likely cause even more delays in laid-off workers receiving benefits.

Teamsters Union Local 773 files additional complaints against Pratt Logistics

07.28.12

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

Teamsters Union Local 773 files additional complaints against Pratt Logistics

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, July 15th- The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 773, Hamilton Street in Allentown, which represents IBT members throughout the Lehigh Valley, filed additional labor complaints against a Lehigh Valley employer, the newspaper has discovered.

In the previous edition of the Union News, it was reported Local 773 filed several Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia alleging Pratt Corrugated Logistics, 7533 Industrial Parkway in Macungie, violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

On June 8th, the agency conducted a Representation Election at the workplace of Pratt Corrugated Logistics to determine if employees of the paper products manufacturer wanted to be represented by Local 773 for the purpose of collective bargaining.

The union filed a petition with the NLRB on May 2nd, 2012 requesting the agency conduct the election. The petition requested that Pratt employees, including all full-time and regular part-time delivery and pick-up drivers including yard jockey positions, participate in the election.

Employees of Pratt voted 4 against becoming Local 773 members to 1 for. However, because of the 12 challenged ballots, the outcome of the election is not yet known.

During a review of ULP’s filed at the NLRB office, the newspaper discovered at least three more charges were filed against Pratt management for violating the NLRAct.

The additional complaints were filed on June 28th and all allege the employer unlawfully fired employees during Local 773’s organizing campaign.

The labor complaints indicate that as many as 13 employees were fired by management because of their support and/or activities on behalf of Local 773.

125 Groups Urge Congress to End Bush Tax Breaks for Richest 2%

07.25.12

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:

Sean Crowley, 202-550-6524-m, scrowley@americansfortaxfairness.org

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Sean Crowley, 202-822-7167-w, 202-550-6524-c, scrowley@americansfortaxfairness.org

125 Groups Urge Congress to End Bush Tax Breaks for Richest 2%

Coalition Says It’s Time for Wealthiest Americans to “Pay Their Fair Share”

(Washington, D.C. – July 24, 2012) Americans for Tax Fairness today sent a letter from 125 national advocacy, aging, children’s, faith, labor, small business, and tax policy groups urging Congress to end the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2 percent of Americans (households with incomes over $250,000 a year).

“Ending the Bush-era tax cuts for the richest two percent of Americans…is simply asking them to pay their fair share,” the letter says. “Americans admire financial success, but over the last decade wealthy Americans were enriched even further by substantial tax breaks while millions of other Americans saw their wages drop in real terms.”

In fact, wealthy people earning more than $1 million a year get an average tax break of $143,000 from the Bush tax cuts, but middle-class people making about $50,000 a year get an average tax break of only $1,000, according to the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center (Table T11-0209). Ending the Bush tax cuts for the richest 2 percent would save nearly $1 trillion over the next decade, according to Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation.

“If we continue unaffordable tax breaks for the richest two percent, we won’t be able to address critical national priorities demanding attention – such as supporting education, strengthening Medicare, creating jobs, improving our infrastructure, and helping the millions of families struggling to get by,” the letter adds. “And tax cuts heavily tilted towards the wealthy have proven to be a failed economic strategy because they create many fewer jobs compared with alternatives. Simply put, we cannot afford to continue to give large tax cuts to those who need them the least.”

The groups emphasized that they also opposed any proposals to temporarily extend all of the Bush-era tax cuts or extend them up to the $1 million income level. The latter option would cost $366 billion in lost revenue over a decade compared to extending the Bush tax cuts to the $250,000 income level, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation.

“Almost half of the benefits of the higher [$1 million] threshold would go to millionaires. The middle class would be left to pick up the tab,” the letter concludes. “With the threshold set at $250,000, 98 percent of Americans would receive their full tax cuts next year, and all Americans would receive a tax cut on their first $250,000 in income.”

If Congress ends the Bush tax cuts above the $250,000 income level, households making between $250,000 and $300,000 a year still would retain an average of 98 percent of their current Bush tax cuts, but the income tax breaks for households making $1 million to $2 million would be reduced by 87 percent, according to Citizens for Tax Justice. According to a Treasury Department report, fewer than 3% of small business owners make over $250,000 a year, so allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for upper-income households would not affect these job creators.

###

Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) is a diverse campaign of 140 national, state and local organizations united in support of a tax system that works for all Americans. It has come together based on the belief that the country needs comprehensive, progressive tax reform that results in greater revenue to meet our growing needs. This starts by ending the Bush-era tax cuts for the richest 2 percent and by making critical investments that create and sustain jobs while taking a balanced approach to addressing America’s fiscal challenges.

87 of Richest Americans Tell Congress to End Bush Tax Breaks for Top 2%

07.25.12

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Sean Crowley, 202-822-7167-w, 202-550-6524-c, sean_crowley@hotmail.com

Joe Weissfeld, 202-499-5254-w, 202-841-3889-c, joe@voicesforprogress.org

87 of Richest Americans Tell Congress to End Bush Tax Breaks for Top 2%

Urge Extension of Tax Cuts for Other 98% of Americans as Senate Vote Nears

(Washington, DC – July 24, 2012) Eighty-seven of the richest Americans from 49 U.S. cities today sent a letter to Congress saying that it would be unwise and unfair to renew the special Bush tax cuts above $250,000 in household income that disproportionately benefit the wealthiest 2 percent. The Bush tax cuts for the top 2 percent give people who earn over $1 million a year an average tax break of about $150,000, according to the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.

The letter is timely because tomorrow the Senate is expected to vote on the Middle Class Tax Cut Act (S. 3412). The bill would extend the Bush tax cuts for the 98 percent of Americans for one year, but would end them for household income levels above $250,000 that only benefit the richest 2 percent.

“As individuals who have greatly benefited from the opportunities America has provided, we urge you to support S. 3412, Middle Class Tax Cut Act to extend tax cuts for all Americans on the first $250,000 of their income, while ending the extra tax cuts that go exclusively to the wealthiest 2 percent,” the letter says.

“Those of us who are business owners know that restoring taxes on the portion of our profits over $250,000 to Clinton era rates will have no impact on our decisions about whether to hire additional workers,” the letter adds. “Indeed, only about 3 percent of “small business” owners have more than $250,000 in profits — and those businesses, though they may meet the technical legal definition of ‘small,’ can afford to pay their fair share of taxes like everyone else.”

“Congress faces a choice,” the letter concludes. “It can ask the wealthiest 2 percent to limit ourselves to the tax cuts other Americans get — those on the portions of our incomes under $250,000 — so that it can shrink the deficit while continuing to invest in education, infrastructure, clean energy, health care, and rebuilding a strong middle class. Or it can slash investments vital to our nation’s future in order to be even more generous to those of us who need it the least. That shouldn’t be a hard choice.”

Compared to continuing all the Bush tax cuts for a decade, ending them for the richest 2 percent would save nearly $1 trillion (including debt service savings), according to Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation.

“Any successful entrepreneur who says the biggest driver behind their success was desire for a second Ferrari in their mega mansion garage is either kidding you or themselves,” said letter signer Paul Growald, a former director of TechRocks and a trustee for the Rockefeller Family Fund who lives in Burlington, VT. “It’s a myth that taxing the super rich discourages entrepreneurs. Should we be rewarded? Of course. But not with the lowest tax rates of any comparable country.”

“My team used hard work, the rule of law and the internet to build a successful business,” said Christopher Findlater, founder of Auto Insurance Shopper, now known as NetQuote.com, the world’s largest insurance shopping site, with our 100 companies and 25 million customers. “I did not build this business myself. My team was wonderful and I include America on my team for funding and creating the Internet. We owe the next generation the opportunities that we had, including an affordable education and inspiring teachers. I try to make that possible and express my gratitude to America, and my fellow American citizens, by giving back. That means paying my fair share of taxes that I can afford to pay because I earned them, here, in America.”

“Extending these exclusive tax breaks for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans is the wrong prescription for our financial future” said Sandy Newman, president of Voices for Progress, which organized the letter and is a coalition member of the Americans for Tax Fairness campaign. “Our members, many of whom are millionaires, think it is irresponsible to give them extra cash they don’t need and mortgage our nation’s future on the backs of the middle class.”

Among the notable letter signers are:

· Hewitt Relocation Services CEO/Chairman Frank Patitucci, Pleasanton, CA

· Kaplan Group CEO Woody Kaplan, Boston. MA

· Ben and Jerry’s Co-Founder Ben Cohen, Burlington, VT

The letter signers include the richest Americans from the following 49 U.S. cities:

· Alexandria, VA

· Arlington, VA

· Austin, TX

· Baltimore, MD

· Belvedere, CA

· Berkeley, CA

· Bethesda, MD

· Beverly Hills, CA

· Boston, MA

· Brookline, MA

· Burlingame, CA

· Burlington, VT

· Concord, MA

· Corona del Mar, CA

· Dallas, TX

· Elsmore, KS

· Escondido, CA

· Franklin Lakes, NJ

· Ft. Lauderdale, FL

· Haverford, PA

· Hillsborough, CA

· Lafayette, CA

· Las Vegas, NV

· Los Angeles, CA

· McLean, VA

· Miami Beach, FL

· Miami, FL

· Missoula, MT

· New York, NY

· Oakland, CA

· Palo Alto, CA

· Philadelphia, PA

· Piedmont, CA

· Pittsburgh, PA

· Pleasanton, CA

· Rye, NY

· Sacramento, CA

· Salt Lake City, UT

· San Diego, CA

· San Francisco, CA

· Sandy, UT

· Santa Fe, NM

· Shelburne, VT

· Stanford, CA

· Tarrytown, NY

· Washington, DC

· Whitesburg, KY

· Williston, VT

· Wilmington, DE

###

Voices for Progress, a project of The Advocacy Fund, is a non-profit organization formed in 2009 to educate philanthropists, business leaders, state & local elected officials, and other community leaders to enable influential people who are focused on promoting the common good to serve as a counterweight to the millions of dollars in self-interested lobbying that distorts national policy.

Fighting 21st Century “Evil” in American Politics

07.19.12

Fighting 21st Century “Evil” in American Politics

By Stephen Crockett

What does “evil” mean in terms of politics? This is a question that we seem to rarely ask in 21st Century America. At this point in our history, I think it is high time to pose this question because we seem to be at risk of losing our way as a people. We need to examine our core values…. and quickly find our way back to the American Dream again.

“Evil” comes in many forms. It is justified with many excuses. It must constantly be fought.

Intentionally doing harm to your most vulnerable fellow American citizens is “evil.” In my opinion, this kind of “evil” is in the deepest sense an “un-American” betrayal of core American values. It is a betrayal of the American Dream. It is an assault on the idea that we are, or at least should be, reaching for a better world, a better society with opportunity for all and a common purpose in order to make life better for every single American. We should be reaching for these goals by working together as a nation and a people.

When officeholders and politicians seek to intentionally spread misery among the most unfortunate and powerless among us, they are engaging in “evil” acts. Refusing to help the sick, the hungry, the homeless, the poor and the unemployed are essentially “evil” acts. Choosing to behave this way, just so the wealthiest and most powerful few among us can increase their already excessive wealth and power, is even more “evil.”

Asking the wealthiest and most powerful among us to pay their fair share of taxes is perfectly reasonable. They are the ones who have and will continue to benefit the most from this great nation that we all built together. They get the most out of the American nation as their massive wealth and power indicate and they have the financial ability to contribute more back to our common goals without enduring significant hardship.

Our elected representatives need to be compassionate and caring people because the American people are compassionate and caring people. This is the American way. This common sense of purpose helps define us as a people and is at the core of the American Dream. We are a common people. We are in this great American national experience together. Those officeholders whose public acts do not demonstrate these values deserve to be thrown out of office by the American people.

Denying your fellow American citizens a voice in the democratic processes of the American nation just to increase your personal power or that of your particular group is truly “evil” and “un-American.” In my opinion, this kind of “evil” is in the deepest sense an “un-American” betrayal of core American values. It is a betrayal of the American Dream. It is an assault on the political ideas that define us as a nation and a people.

From the founding of the American Republic, we have been reaching more or less continually for more political equality and slowly achieving it. The great experiment that is the United States of America is based on a growing sense of political democracy. We have constantly struggled to give all our citizens a voice in our democratic government that is equal to every other American citizen.

We were never meant to be ruled by an aristocracy of inherited wealth or political power. The American people since the founding of our nation have struggled against some people or groups of people who have wealth and power and want to rule over the rest of us. They have tried to rig the political processes and economy in order to benefit themselves. In recent years, they have had increasing success and the nation is suffering as a result,

Elected officeholders and public officials are meant to represent us instead of rule over us. They are not meant to be our rulers acting on behalf of the economic and power elite. Officeholders, as representatives, instead of rulers, should remain the political core value of our American nation.

When politicians and officeholders construct barriers to voting for large segments of American citizens in order to increase their political power, they are acting in an “evil” manner. They should be condemned by all Americans, including members of their own political party, and thrown out of office. They cannot be trusted. They are trying to be rulers instead of representatives.

As a nation, the United States of America is bound together by a set of ideas and core values. They should be reflected in our government institutions, our political processes and our laws. We are not defined by a single race, religion, language or ethnic group. Instead, our nation is defined by a set of ideas and values which at their core are about political democracy, community of purpose and equal opportunity.

We should never surrender the core values of American political democracy, community of purpose and equal opportunity for all Americans to the dark sides of our own human nature nor to the greed and power lust of those with excessive wealth and power. To do so, would be to surrender the American Dream to “evil” and end the great democratic experiment which is the American nation.
—————————————-

Written by Stephen Crockett (President of College Marketing.com http://www.CollegeMarketing.com, host & founder of Democratic Talk Radio http://www.DemocraticTalkRadio.com, Editor, Mid-Atlantic Labor.com http://www.Mid-AtlanticLabor.com )

Email: demlabor@aol.com. Phone: 443-907-2367.

The ULP filed by IUPAT District 21 under investigation

07.15.12

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

The ULP filed by IUPAT District 21 under investigation

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, June 24th- The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 21, Azalea Drive in Drums, Luzerne County, labor complaint filed at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia is under investigation.

In the previous edition of the newspaper it was reported that IUPAT District Council 21 filed a Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge alleging an signatory contractor with the Union violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

According to the Unfair Labor Practice charge, which was discovered by the newspaper while reviewing representation petitions and labor complaints filed at the NLRB Region Four office, the IUPAT represents approximately four workers of the company.

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 May 23rd, 2012 against Accents Painting and Wallcovering, LLC Accents Contracting, Church Road in Mountain Top.

The ULP was filed against the painting contractor on behalf of the Union by John Gatto, identified as the Assistant Business Manager of IUPAT District Council 21. IUPAT represent painters and drywall construction workers within the building trade industry.

“On or about March 23rd, 2012 Accents Painting and Wallcovering refused to furish District Council 21 with requested information for collective bargaining.

Since September 2011 Accents Painting and Wallcovering has not made fund payments as per District Council 21’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Since approximately January 2012 the officers of Accents Painting and Wallcovering have been running Accents Contracting, a non signatory alter ego, within the same industry,” states the labor complaint.

According to the NLRB, the complaint is under investigation and during their review of the ULP additional information has been uncovered regarding Accents Painting and Wallcovering business practices.

Mr. Gatto stated the employer is attempting to not pay their obligations under the IUPAT contract and the Union was left with no choice but to file the labor complaint.

The company is operated by Jennifer and Ken Phillips.

IBEW Local 81 withdraws union organizing petition

07.15.12

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

IBEW Local 81 withdraws union organizing petition

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, June 30th- The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union Local 81, Wyoming Avenue in Scranton, attempt to organize workers employed by the MasTec Company, East Lackawanna Avenue in Olyphant, has been delayed because the union withdrew the petition.

On April 30th, IBEW Local 81 filed the representation petition requesting the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia conduct a election to determine if approximately 50 MasTec employees wanted to be represented by the union for the purpose of collective bargaining.

According to the petition, which was reviewed by the newspaper, the IBEW requested all technicians and warehouse employees participate in the NLRB election. The petition estimated that there was approximately 50 workers in the unit, however after a NLRB review, eighty-two workers were eligible to participate in the election.

The newspaper discovered the petition while reviewing labor complaints and petitions filed at the NLRB office. The Union News is the only member of the local media that reviews and publicizes the information.

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 card requesting the agency conduct the election.

According to the NLRB, a election was first scheduled for June 9th, however, because a federal judge struck down new election standards, that was intended to shorten when workers could vote whether they wanted to be represented by a labor organization for the purpose of collective bargaining, the new election date was moved to June 28th, 2012.

The first election was scheduled under the new standards but after the federal judge ruled that the agency could not approve the regulations, the company, the IBEW, and the NLRB needed to choose a new election date and the old standards were to be used.

The IBEW withdrew the petition days before the NLRB was to conduct the election because it feared workers of MasTec would vote against unionization. Under NLRB rules if the union lost the election it would need to wait for at least twelve months to try again. However, by withdrawing the petition Local 81 could “refile” in six months.

According to Eugene Arcurie Jr., Organizer and Treasurer of Local 81, company management began a anti-union campaign and he feared some of the workers were unsure if they wanted to be union represented.

Mr. Arcurie stated the union now has more time to speak to the workers about the benefits of unionization, counter what company paid consultants told them and see if management follows through on promises made to the workers.

More than 70 million pounds of food collected by NALC

07.15.12

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

More than 70 million pounds of food collected by NALC

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION- REGION, June 14th- The National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Union collected more than 70.5 million pounds of food in this years nationwide food drive, at a time when hunger is a major problem because of the weak economy and workers exhausting their unemployment benefits.

According to Linda Giordano, NALC Food Drive Coordinator, the NALC annual one-day drive, the largest in the nation, was conducted in 10,000 cities and towns in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam. The event was held throughout the Lehigh Valley. Ms. Giordano stated the NALC, which represents letter carriers of the United States Postal Service (USPS), celebrated the 20 th year of the annual food drive in 2012.

“These results will enable the food pantries that we supply across the country to help feed the 50 million Americans, one-third of them children, who live in families that lack sufficient food,” NALC President Fredric Rolando said.

“Six days a week, as we deliver mail to every address in America, letter carriers see first-hand the needs in the communities we work in, and we’re privileged to lead an effort that brings out the best in so many Americans,” Mr. Rolando added.

Each year customers of the USPS are asked to place non-perishable food donations near their mailboxes so that the nation’s 200,000 letter carriers can collect them while they deliver mail.

“This drive allows letter carriers to help replenish food banks during difficult summer months when millions of children have no school breakfast or lunch programs to count on,” Ms. Giordano told the newspaper.

This was the ninth consecutive NALC food drive surpassing 70 million pounds of food collected. Several NALC Branches were still compiling their figures as of June 15th, however already this year’s total tops 2011’s 70.2 million pounds.

Ms. Giordano stated the good 2012 results were achieved despite the continuing tough economy, which made the drive all the more important.

“We could not achieve these results without the contributions of our national and local sponsors, the assistance of those groups that help our branches collect the food, and the generosity of our postal customers,” stated NALC Assistant to the President Pam Donato.

NALC members brought the food collected to local food banks, pantries or shelters, including many affiliated with feeding America, a national partner in the drive. Assisting approximately 1,600 NALC Branches nationwide were rural letter carriers, other USPS employees, civic volunteers and other members of the labor community, including the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union member truck drivers.

Other national partners were Campbell Soup Company, the National Rural Letter Carriers Association, and the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation.

Walter Klepaski, the AFL-CIO Community Services Liaison for the United Way of the Wyoming Valley, the go-between the community based organization and the labor community, stated the food drive is helping to meet a critical need in communities across America.

“Most of the general public feel this is a United States Postal Service project and do not realize that it is a project that was started by and conducted by members of the National Association of Letter Carriers union. NALC members are not mandated to pick up food in addition to delivering the mail on Letter Carriers Food Drive Day, but rather volunteer to do so on one of their busiest mail delivery days of the year, the day before Mother’s Day,” said Mr. Klepaski.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA’s unemployment rate continues to be highest in state

07.12.12

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

MSA’s unemployment rate continues to be highest in state

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, June 30th- According to labor data provided by the Pennsylvania, Department of Labor and Industry, the region’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 8.7 percent, unchanged from the previous report, which was released approximately four weeks before. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) includes Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wyoming Counties of Pennsylvania. Twelve months ago the unemployment rate for the region was 9.3 percent.

The unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 7.4 percent, also unchanged from the previous report. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted civilian labor force of 6,452,000 with 475,000 not working and 5,977,000 with employment. The national unemployment rate is 8.2 percent, rising by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report. The national unemployment rate has decreased by eight-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months ago. The unemployment rate does not include civilians who unemployment benefits have expired and stopped looking for work.

There are 12,720,000 civilians, increasing by 220,000 from the previous report, in the nation reported to be unemployed. That number also does not include civilians that have exhausted their unemployment benefits and have stopped looking for work. During the past several weeks more than 350,000 long-timed jobless workers have exhausted their unemployment benefits and are no longer counted as unemployed.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA continues to have the highest unemployment rate among the 14 MSA’s within Pennsylvania.

The Philadelphia MSA and the Johnstown MSA are tied for the second highest unemployment rate in the Commonwealth at 8.2 percent. The Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third highest unemployment rate at 8.1 percent. The Williamsport MSA has the fourth highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 7.7 percent followed by the Reading MSA at 7.5 percent.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 5.5 percent. The Lebanon MSA has the second lowest unemployment rate in the state at 6.1 percent, while the Lancaster MSA has the third lowest unemployment rate at 6.2 percent. The Pittsburgh MSA has the fourth lowest unemployment rate at 6.8 percent.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA has the fourth largest labor force in Pennsylvania with 286,600 civilians and 25,000 of them are without employment. The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor force in Pennsylvania at 2,992,800 with 245,400 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor force at 1,244,100 with 84,500 without jobs; and the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor force at 425,900 with 34,500 not working.

The Williamsport MSA has the smallest labor force in Pennsylvania with 62,300 civilians and 4,800 of them have no jobs. The Altoona MSA has the second smallest labor force with 64,900 civilians with 4,500 without employment and the Johnstown MSA is third with a labor force of 67,800 and 5,600 of them are not working.

Lackawanna County has the lowest unemployment rate in the MSA at 8.3 percent, decreasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report and dropping by eight-tenths of a percentage point from one year ago. The County has a civilian labor force of 108,800, unchanged from the previous report but increasing by 1,800 during the past twelve months. There are 9,100 civilians without employment in Lackawanna County, decreasing by 100 from the previous report but dropping by 600 during the past twelve months.

Luzerne County has the highest unemployment rate in the MSA at 9.0 percent, increasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report and dropping by four-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months before. Luzerne County has the largest civilian labor-force in the MSA at 163,400, increasing by 400 from the previous report and rising by 3,500 during the past twelve months. Luzerne County has 14,800 civilians unemployed, increasing by 300 from the previous report but dropping by 200 from one year ago.

Wyoming County’s unemployment rate increased by three-tenths of a percentage point for the previous report and dropped by eight-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months ago. The County has a civilian labor force of 14,500, unchanged from the previous report with 1,300 unemployed, increasing by 100 from the previous report but dropping by 100 from twelve months ago.

General Dynamics lays-off workers at both local plants

07.12.12

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

General Dynamics lays-off workers at both local plants

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, June 23rd- Workers employed at the two General Dynamics operated plants in Lackawanna County has continued to face lay-offs because of the budget cuts in defense spending.

Officials of the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, Bureau of Workplace Development Partnership recently held a meeting with the laid-off employees of General Dynamics Land Systems plant in Eynon, which reconditions parts for the United States Army M1A1 battle tank, and the General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems plant in South Scranton, which primarily manufactures casings for military projectiles. The plant has produced military protectiles for the Army since the Vietnam era.

The workers at the Enyon plant are represented by the United Auto Workers of America (UAW) Union Local 1193. Local 1193 had approximately 200 members employed at the Eynon plant in 2010, however more than 75 workers have been laid-off or notified they will be with many told maybe permanently due to cut-backs in defense spending in Washington, DC. The M1A1 tank was used in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Ken Klinkel, President of Local 1193 attended the most recent meeting of the Department of Labor, Bureau of Workplace Development Rapid Response Team, which includes officials of agencies that assist laid-off or soon to be laid-off workers in gaining new employment, signing-up for unemployment benefits, and explaining to them other programs that are available to help them with the job loss. The meeting was held at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) District Council 87 union building in Dunmore and all effected workers of the two plants were invited to attend.

Mr. Klinkel stated more lay-offs are possible should the United States Department of Defense shut-down the tank program. He told the newspaper there is talk about shutting down the tank program for four years and then restarting it.

Meanwhile, approximately 17 employees of the Scranton plant were laid-off because of a decrease demand for elbows manufactured for the natural gas-drilling industry. The work for the industry has created jobs at the plant. The elbow manufacturing was obtained by the company in a attempt to gain work outside of the ammunition industry.

The International Association of Machinist (IAM) Union Local Lodge 847 in Scranton represents around 275 workers at the plant.

DOL continues to delay FLSAct for home care workers

07.12.12

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

DOL continues to delay FLSAct for home care workers

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, June 30th- The United States Department of Labor (DOL) proposal to extend minimum wage and overtime protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSAct) to home care workers continues to meet resistance from for-profit home care providers companies.

The DOL proposed to revise the “companionship exemption” under the FLSAct. Currently, home care workers are excluded from receiving the federal minimum wage and receiving overtime payments despite the industry being so profitable.

Recently it was the five-year anniversity of the United States Supreme Court decision (Long Island Home Care v. Evelyn Coke) and the DOL has yet to release its final regulation that would provide federal minimum wage and overtime protections to the nation’s 2.5 million home care workers.

According to the Bronx, New York headquartered Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI), the DOL proposal to extend 2.5 million home care workers minimum wage and overtime protections will strengthen the infrastructure for home and community-based services, assuring access to affordable, quality care.

“The millions of women who provide these services are no different from those who work in similar jobs in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. There is absolutely no justification for continuing to treat these workers as casual companions, exempting them from basic labor protections that most American workers have enjoyed for over 70 years,” stated Deane Beebe PHI Media Relations Director. Home care workers were first excluded from the federal law in 1974.

Ms. Beebe stated providing home care is a thriving $84 billion industry with it being the nation’s fastest growing occupation, expected to grow to over 3 million workers by 2020. “Yet these workers, who are 90 percent female with a median age of 45, continue to be treated in the same fashion as teenage babysitters. Home care, however, is a true vocation, and should be treated as such under the law,” added Ms. Beebe.

Recently the companies that are benefiting from industry released several studies that suggest that the proposed regulations will have a negative impact on businesses, consumers, and workers. However, the PHI stated the findings are “seriously flawed.”

For example, the industry-funded surveys were neither nationally representative nor statistically valid. The surveys emphasized opinion questions that were phrased to lead respondents to answers that align with the opposition to the proposed regulations.

The home care industry has doubled its revenues over the last decade and the for-profit segment is making huge profits but is resisting providing minimum wage or overtime protections.

“On December 15th, 2011, President Obama announced that the United States Department of Labor would finally guarantee minimum wage and overtime protections to millions of home care workers who care for Americans, young and old, who need assistance to remain independent and part of their communities. With a need for 3 million more workers to provide these services by 2020, we cannot rely on the undervalued, contingent workforce. Quality care demands quality jobs, beginning with a recognition that care work is “real” work. That means that it is time for home care workers to be treated like most other American workers and provided basic labor protections under FLSAct,” said PHI President Jodi Sturgeon.

Evelyn Coke, a New York home care worker, sued her employer for back pay when she discovered that, though she often worked long hours in her clients home, she never received overtime pay. Her case went to the United States Supreme Court, which ruled on June 11th, 2007, that because of the exemption of “companions to the elderly” under the FLSAct, Ms. Coke’s employer had done nothing illegal but the Court also ruled the DOL could reinterpret the “companionship exemption” to expand wage and hour protections to home care aides.

Verizon workers still without new labor agreements

07.12.12

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

Verizon workers still without new labor agreements

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, June 29th- Members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) Union and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union that are employees of Verizon are continuing to protest in front of selective stores of the corporate communications giant because of the failure of the parties to negotiate new collective bargaining agreements.

The CWA and IBEW members have been without a new labor agreement with Verizon since August 6th, 2011.

On August 7th, 2011, approximately 45,000 union Verizon workers, which included 35,000 workers represented by the CWA Local 13000 and CWA Local 13500 and 10,000 employees represented by IBEW, went on strike.

The union’s and Verizon were unable to reach an agreement because of managements insistence of give-backs and job cuts. The give-backs included higher healthcare benefit cost and jobs being outsourced to private contractors.

The workers returned to their jobs on August 23rd, 2011 without receiving new contracts but had the understanding negotiations would continue and the workers would work under the “terms and conditions” of the previous labor agreement.

The CWA and the IBEW felt working under the terms and conditions of the expired contract would be better for their members than agreeing to a “bad” contract in which pensions would be cut and current and retired employees health insurance would cost more.

According to CWA Local 1300, not much progress has been made at the bargaining table during the past six months and the one year anniversity date of the expired contract may be held without a successor pact being reached.

The Citizens United Trap for Republicans

07.10.12

The Citizens United Trap for Republicans

Republicans have been cheering loudly for the unleashing of corporate and billionaire spending that have been flooding the campaign coffers of Republicans all over the United States. It has mostly been a huge plus for a political party that has little else going for them. However, the ruling might not be so great for Republicans in the long run and might even backfire on them by November or over the coming years.

The public hates the Citizens United ruling and wants corporate money completely out of our elections. Public opinion polling margins against corporations and billionaires having the ability to buy elections with essentially unlimited spending is massive among both independents and Democrats. Even most Republicans are against it. And these are not “soft” opinions. The passion is in favor of strict campaign donation limits and zero corporate spending on politics.

If Democrats run campaigns that make the case in enough races that the Republican Party has been “corrupted and sold to corporations and billionaires,” it is likely that the Democrats will capture huge majorities of the key independent vote in November. They are likely to make huge gains in the Senate, the House and in state races using this tactic as part of a “fairness in government” theme.

Having Romney as the Republican nominee will certainly make a “fairness” theme resonate with the public. Obama can point out that he has released all his tax returns for every year as far back as 2000 while Romney has released only one year so far. The “what is Romney hiding” issue is already burning up the Internet. It is starting to generate articles in the mainstream media. By the November elections, this issue will be huge even if it is not played up by the Obama campaign. The American people are sick of excessive secrecy and corruption in government.

If Romney releases his tax returns, then the ways in which he made his massive fortune will be exposed. There will be issues about possible tax evasion or avoidance combined with the ever present “fairness” issue to overcome. This brings us back to the corporate spending unleashed by Citizens United.

The biggest campaign question for 2012 will be “what do corporations and billionaires expect to get in return for all this money they are spending to elect Republicans?” The public can take a look at the actions of Romney in his private sector career and combine it with things from his public office career like the hard drives that his staff took away when he left as Governor of Massachusetts. They will look at his strange bias toward secrecy in both his private business and public office careers. This is going to be a huge “trust problem” for Romney and Republicans to overcome.

Voters will take a look at Republican Governors and state legislators and find massive “trust problems” everywhere. In Florida, Governor Rick Scott has shown terrible judgment in terms of ethics and conflicts of interest especially in regards to the healthcare industry where he made his own massive fortune. Governor Tom Corbett in Pennsylvania along with the Republican state legislature has some serious problems in trying to justify to voters their sweetheart deals with the oil and gas industries. These include a provision in a recent law that doctors may have access to information about the health impacts of natural gas “fracking” but legally prevent the doctors from informing their patients about any dangers the discover. In Pennsylvania, thanks to Republicans, the oil and gas industries will reap billions of dollars in profits that should have paid for schools, roads, senior services, healthcare and more. Because of this kind of essentially corrupt legislation, the corporate campaign cash keeping flowing to Republicans in both states… and pretty much all the other states.

Of course, Republican officeholders are aware of the potential voter backlash. This is why they are making voting and voter registration as difficult as possible for poor and working class Americans in as many states as possible. Pennsylvania and Florida are good examples but Texas, Tennessee, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and dozens of others have or are facing strong Republican efforts to reduce the number of voters who would most strongly object to corporate control of government and the corrupting influence of big, big money in government. The Republican voter suppression efforts are energizing the opposition just like the massive spending by corporation and billionaires to elect Republicans.

The Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling and the resulting are producing some serious backlash that is likely to do long term damage to both corporate and Republican political power. These include four major reform efforts:

(1) a state based effort to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban corporate political spending and make campaign finance laws explicitly Constitutional that has already seen success in New Mexico, Vermont, Rhode Island, Maryland, California and Hawaii legislatures,

(2) a growing movement to strip corporations of their “corporate personhood” status under the law or at least restrict all the political citizenship rights that the Roberts Supreme Court Five Justices claims go with it,

(3) a strong shareholder movement that would require explicit shareholder direct approval of any political spending which would take the decision to spend shareholder money out of the hands of corporate executives or other corporate employees

(4) and finally a movement to Impeach the Roberts Supreme Court Five (see Facebook group at http://www.facebook.com/stephen.s.crockett?ref=tn_tnmn#!/groups/459884114022586/ ) of Justices Alito, Thomas, Scalia, Kennedy and Chief Justice Roberts for bad behavior, lying to Congress during confirmation hearings and/or ethical lapses.

If all these efforts fail and the voters do not rise up against Republican officeholders over the next few election cycles, the Republicans are still facing a corporate and billionaire political spending trap. The massive spending of corporations and billionaires can still be turned against individual Republicans at any time. Corporations and the Super Wealthy have conflicts among themselves over legislation, government spending and public policy.

Any individual Republican officeholder can do a favor for one wealthy campaign donor or corporation and anger a different one or group of them. The Republican politician in this case instead of benefitting from the corrupt campaign spending system can instead become the victim. Republican officeholders will never be secure in their positions because of the political spending system they helped create.

Finally, the billionaire and corporate political spending is going to fray over time the Republican activist base. In the long run, neither the Christian Right nor the Tea Party is going to be happy with their reduced influence in Republican politics. How is the Christian Right going to explain to their people that the largest corporate donor to Republicans so far in 2012 is a casino gambling empire controlled by one of their largest billionaire individual contributors? Will grassroots Tea Party activists have any influence on policy or politics compared to these corporations or billionaires? Will these voters remain parts of the Republican coalition under those conditions?

Clearly, the Citizens United ruling unleashing massive corporate and billionaire political spending on behalf of Republicans may end up being a trap Republicans have sprung on themselves. We can only hope it does not completely destroy American democracy in the process.
———————————————————————————————————————————–
Written by Stephen Crockett (Host of Democratic Talk Radio http://www.DemocraticTalkRadio.com , President of College Marketing.com http://www.CollegeMarketing.com and Editor of Mid-Atlantic Labor.com http://www.Mid-AtlanticLabor.com ).

Email: demlabor@aol.com. Phone: 443-907-2367.

Is Union Busting to Blame for Power Outages in DC?

07.07.12

Is Union Busting to Blame for Power Outages in DC?

By Mike Elk, In These Times

On Thursday, 15,091 Washington, D.C.-area residents were without power for the sixth day in a row, according to utility company Pepco spokesman Marcus Beal. As D.C. residents face record heat waves, many are upset and attribute the lack of power to incompetence on Pepco’s end. However, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1900 members claim the failure to restore power outages is due to chronic understaffing and Pepco’s shift from hiring union utility workers to non-union temporary contractors.

“We have half the linemen we had 15 years ago,” says IBEW Local 1900 Business Agent Jim Griffin, whose union represents 1,150 Pepco workers. “We have been complaining for a very long time. They have relied for a long time on contractors. They are transients, they don’t know our system, and we typically have to go behind them to fix their mistakes. It’s very frustrating. We take ownership in our work, we make careers out of this.”

Griffin says that starting 15 years ago, Pepco stopped hiring workers to replace retiring electrical workers and offered incentive-laden buyout deals to get electricians to retire. In order to address understaffing problems, Pepco has at times hired non-union temporary contractors, instead of hiring new workers. Griffin estimates that Pepco currently employs 1,150 union workers and approximately 400 non-union contractors. The understaffing has led to problems that the IBEW warned about years ago…..

Read the rest of this article at http://truth-out.org/news/item/10206-is-union-busting-to-blame-for-power-outages-in-dc?

Result of Pratt Logistics union election is not yet known because of challenges

07.02.12

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

Result of Pratt Logistics union election is not yet known because of challenges

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, June 15th- Because the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 773 challenged 12 employees eligiblity to participate in a election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia at a Lehigh Valley employer, it is not yet known if the union won the right to represent the workers in collective bargaining.

On June 8th, the agency conducted a Representation Election at the workplace of Pratt Corrugated Logistics, 7533 Industrial Parkway in Macungie, to determine if employees of the paper products manufacturer wanted to be represented by Local 773 for the purpose of collective bargaining.

The union filed a petition with the NLRB on May 2nd, 2012 requesting the agency conduct the election. Local 773 office is located on Hamilton Street in Allentown. The petition requested that Pratt employees, including all full-time and regular part-time delivery and pick-up drivers including yard jockey positions, participate in the election.

The Union filed several Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges against the Employer alleging Pratt management violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct) by firing employees that were supportive of being organized.

In the previous edition of the newspaper it was reported Local 773 filed at least two ULP’s against the company.

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.

Employees of Pratt voted 4 against becoming Local 773 members to 1 for. However, because of the 12 challenged ballots, the outcome of the election is not yet known.

Free Davis-Bacon training sessions being offered by DOL

07.02.12

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

Free Davis-Bacon training sessions being offered by DOL

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, June 15th- The United States Department of Labor (DOL) is offering free trainings on prevailing wage requirements for federal contracts including holding a session in Philadelphia.

The DOL’s Wage and Hour Division announced on June 16th the agency will host four trainings throughout the United States to provide outreach on the rules concerning prevailing wage requirements under the Davis-Bacon Act, the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act and the labor standards provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

According to Nancy Leppink, acting administrator of the Wage and Hour Division, space at the trainings is limited and anyone wishing to attend can send an e-mail to whdpwc@dol.gov that includes the participants name, title, organization and email address. Upon receipt of this information a DOL representative will advise whether the request can be accommodated. Members of the labor community are invited.

The Philadelphia training session will be held on July 10th to July 12th. The other sites are in Los Angeles, California; Seattle, Washington; and Miami, Florida.

“The Wage and Hour Division is committed to ensuring that our stakeholders, including contractors, contracting officials, unions, workers and other interested parties, understand the wage and fringe benefit requirements that apply to federal and federally assisted contracts,” stated Ms. Leppink.

The Davis-Bacon and Related Acts, such as the prevailing wage law, apply to contractors and sub-contractors performing on federally funded or assisted contracts in excess of $2,000 for the construction, alteration, or repair (including painting and decorating) of public buildings or public works.

Under Davis-Bacon Act contractors and subcontractors must pay their laborers and mechanics employed under the contract no less than the locally prevailing wages and fringe benefits for corresponding work on similar projects in the area. The law directs the DOL to determine such locally prevailing wage rates.

For more information regarding the prevailing wage conferences call the DOL toll-free helpline at (866)-487-9243.

Study indicates direct-care workforce will be nation’s largest by by 2020

07.02.12

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

Study indicates direct-care workforce will be nation’s largest by by 2020

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, June 9th- According to a analysis by the Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute (PHI), Bronx, New York, by 2020 direct-care workforce is projected to be the nation’s largest workforce at 5 million workers. Direct care workers are nursing assistants, home health aides, and personal care aides.

Direct-care occupations are expected to add an additional 1.6 million jobs to the economy over the decade from 2010-2020 but the wages for these jobs continue to decline and the number of workers without health care coverage has increased, stated PHI Policy Research Directer Dorie Seavey.

“It’s quite striking that probably the largest workforce ever produced by our economy is largely made of women who struggle with inadequate conditions of employment as they try to make ends meet,” said Ms. Seavey, who conducted the analysis with Policy Research Analyst Abby Marquand.

Home-care jobs, both home health aide and personal care positions, are the nation’s fastest growing jobs, projected to increase over the decade from 2010 to 2020 at an 69 percent to 71 percent, respectively.

Home health aides and personal care aides rank third and fourth on the list of occupations expected to generate the most new jobs to the economy over the period.

Direct-care workers far outnumber other health care practitioners, including physicians, nurses, and therapists, comprising nearly a third of the entire United States health-care workforce in 2011.

These workers also outnumber, by nearly three to one, all those employed in allied health occupations, such as medical and dental assistants, and physical therapy assistants and aides.

The Paraprofessional Healthcare Institute researchers estimate that there are at least 800,000 independent providers who provide personal care services for consumers enrolled in Medicaid based settings. These workers, employed directly by consumers and their families in home and community based settings, are not tracked by the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Consequently, independent providers have been heavily undercounted in government surveys.

“There are two basic models for delivering in-home services and supports in the United State today; an agency model and an independent provider model.

The latter has two broad variants, private and public. The size of the private strand is extremely difficult to measure since so many private arrangements are not reported, but publicly funded arrangements can and should be accounted for, substantial numbers of workers and consumers are involved in this sector” stated Ms. Marquand.

According to the United States Department of Labor, the median wage of $10.59 in 2011 for all direct-care workers is far below the median wage for all workers, $16.57. Also, adjusted for inflation, wages for these workers occupations have declined over the last decade.

Personal care aides and home health aides earned a median wage of $9.49 and $9.91 per hour, respectively. The wages for these home-care occupations are less than the median hourly wages of $11.63 for nursing aides, orderlies, and attendents.

The number of direct-care workers without healthcare coverage in 2010 increased to 950,000, up from 900,000 the previous year.

Also, research indicated more than one third of aides employed by home-care agencies and one in four nursing home aides lacked healthcare coverage in 2011.

National Postal Mail Handler Union files labor complaint

07.02.12

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

National Postal Mail Handler Union files labor complaint

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, June 10th- The National Postal Mail Handlers Union (NPMHU) Local 308, South Commerce Way, Lehigh Valley, filed a labor complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia alleging management at the United States Postal Service (USPS) Mail Processing Center violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

According to the Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge, which was discovered by the newspaper while reviewing representation petitions and labor complaints filed at the NLRB Region Four office, Local 308 alleges the United States mail delivery service violated the NLRAct by refusing NPMHU Shop Stewards from reseaching possible grievances. 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 May 24th, 2012.

The ULP alleges management at the Lehigh Valley Mail Processing Center have consistently denied or have given minimal units of time, for stewards to research possible violations of the labor agreement between the Union and the USPS.

“Chief steward Pam Baum was denied on May 15th, 2012. On May 15th, 2012 she was given a little over hour and was told that if she needed more time she should punch off of the clock to do her union business on her own time and charge the Union.

Another steward, Lonn Murrov is only given steward time for a short period of time on Sundays. In all of these cases, Management Mike Ryan or Ann Wiskoski blames staffing for their inability to grant steward time.

Also, in this facility members requests to see a shop steward are denied or ignored on a regular basis. Grievances on this issue have been filed, agreed to and ignored by floor level management. Because of this grievances are filed untimely, which the Union believes is the agenda of management at this facility,” states the ULP.

The labor complaint was filed on behalf of Local 308 by Brian Odums, a Shop Steward at the Lehigh Valley facility.

According to the ULP the Employer Representative to be contacted is Brian Ebersol. Mr. Ebersol is identified as the USPS Mail Processing Center plant manager.