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Worker files petition, Machinist Union files labor complaint

08.07.12

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

Worker files petition, Machinist Union files labor complaint

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, July 19th- A petition was filed at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia requesting the agency conduct a election to determine if employees of Five Star International, Hanover Avenue in Allentown, want to continue to be union represented.

However, the union that represents the workers have filed a labor complaint with the NLRB alleging the company violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

According to the petition, which was discovered by the newspaper while reviewing representation petitions and labor complaints filed at the NLRB Region Four office, an employee who resides on Walnut Street in Lansdale, requested the agency conduct a election to determine if approximately 11 Five Star International employees want to continue to be represented for the purpose of collective bargaining by the International Association of Machinists (IAM) Union Local Lodge 447.

The petition was filed by Justin Allen Scheetz on July 12th, 2012 requesting that all full-time and regular part-time automotive mainterance and service employees that are currently members of the bargaining unit be allow to participate in the attempt to remove the IAM as their bargaining representative.

The IAM on July 18th filed a Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge against Five Star International management alleging the company violated the NLRAct by conducting surface bargaining and by assisting Five Star International employees in an attempt to decertify the Union.

Local Lodge 447 is affiliated with IAM District 15 in Cincinnati, Ohio the ULP indicates.

Lehigh Valley unemployment rate unchanged from previous report at 8.1 percent

08.07.12

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

Lehigh Valley unemployment rate unchanged from previous report at 8.1 percent

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, July 7th- 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, unchanged from the previous month. 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 8.7 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 continues to have the highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 8.7 percent. The Philadelphia MSA and the Johnstown 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 5.5 percent, unchanged from the previous report, which was released around four weeks before. The Lebanon MSA has the second lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 6.1 percent and the Lancaster MSA has the third lowest at 6.2 percent.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 7.4 percent, also unchanged from the previous report and dropping by six-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months before.

There are 475,000 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 6,452,000 and 5,977,000 of them have employment with 475,000 without jobs.

The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was reported to be 8.2 percent, increasing 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 425,900 civilians, increasing by 200 from the previous report and rising by 2,700 during the past twelve months.

The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor force 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; the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA has the fourth largest civilian labor force in the commonwealth at 286,600 with 26,000 civilians without jobs. The Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA has the fifth largest labor force at 284,700 with 19,500 unemployed civilians.

There are 12,720,000 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 16.3 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 115,000 workers unemployment benefits expired.

Carbon County has the highest unemployment rate in the MSA at 9.0 percent, unchanged from the previous report and dropping by one full percentage point from twelve months ago. Carbon County has a civilian labor force of 31,900, with 2,900 residents without jobs.

Northampton County unemployment rate is 8.0 percent, increasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report and dropping by six-tenths of a percentage point during the past twelve months. Northampton County has a civilian labor-force of 153,200, with 12,200 without jobs.

Lehigh County also has a unemployment rate of 8.0 percent, unchanged from the previous report and dropping by six-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months ago. Lehigh County has a civilian labor force of 181,000 with 14,400 residents jobless.

Teamsters Union Local 773 files additional complaints against Pratt Logistics

08.07.12

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.

Workers that help the laid-off are being cut themselves

08.07.12

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.