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Verizon and union’s still meeting regarding labor pacts

08.28.12

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

Verizon and union’s still meeting regarding labor pacts

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, August 18th- Members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) Union and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union are still without new collective bargaining agreements with Verizon.

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

Recently in an attempt to gain new contracts, the unions asked for federal mediation through the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) in Washington. Verizon first declined the request for mediation but later agreed and negotiation meetings have been held with the FMCS present. Meetings between the parties have been suspended several times but were continued after taking several days away from conducting negotiations.

On August 7th, 2011, approximately 45,000 union Verizon workers, which included 35,000 workers represented by the CWA 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 unions stated the strike occured because Verizon came to negotiations with an extreme set of contract proposals and would not move off of them.

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 pact.

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 13000, several issues remain in the way from the parties reaching successor contracts. The union’s have attempted to keep at least two issues on the bargaining table to prohibit the company from declaring a “impasse” and posting conditions on their members.

The unions fear Verizon may attempt to implement new contracts now that the one-year anniversity of the expiration of the previous contract’s has been achieved. Should the communications giant “post conditions” workers could be forced to work under it’s “terms and conditions” or go back on strike.

Lehigh Valley unemployment rate rises to 8.5 percent

08.28.12

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

Lehigh Valley unemployment rate rises to 8.5 percent

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, August 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 8.5 percent, increasing by four-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report, which was released approximately four week before. 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 Lancaster MSA for the fourth highest unemployment rate.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA continues to have the highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 9.3 percent. The Johnstown MSA has the second highest unemployment rate at 8.9 percent with the Philadelphia MSA third at 8.7 percent.

The Lebanon MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 6.4 percent. The State College MSA has the second lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 6.8 percent and the Pittsburgh MSA has the third lowest at 7.1 percent.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 7.5 percent, rising by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report but dropping by five-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months before.

There are 488,000 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 6,469,000 and 5,981,000 of them have employment.

The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was reported to be 8.2 percent, 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 nation unemployment was down nine-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months before.

The Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor force in Pennsylvania with 430,900 civilians, increasing by 4,200 from the previous report and rising by 9,400 during the past twelve months.

The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor force at 3,000,800 with 259,700 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor force at 1,252,100 with 89,200 without jobs; the Harrisburg MSA has the fourth largest civilian labor force in the commonwealth at 287,100 with 20,800 civilians without jobs. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA is the fifth largest labor force in Pennsylvania with 287,800 civilians and 26,900 of them are without jobs.

There are 12,749,000 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 16.4 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 9.7 percent, increasing by seven-tenths of percentage point from the previous report.

Lehigh County has the lowest unemployment rate in the MSA at 8.5 percent, rising by five-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report.

Northampton County unemployment rate is 8.8 percent, increasing by eight-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report.