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Labor Community reaching-out to members regarding election

09.30.12

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

Labor Community reaching-out to members regarding election

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, September 17th- The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation and the rest of the labor community have begun reaching-out to their membership requesting they support Democratic United States of America President Barack Obama and vote on November 6th.

According to Roxanne Pauline, Field Representative of the Northeastern Area Labor Federation (ALF), which AFL-CIO labor councils throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania are affiliated including the Lehigh Valley Labor Council, the grassroots labor federation political program “Labor 2012″ is underway.

The program is intended to better educate union members and their households about how Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney if elected would not support the working people and legislation important to the labor community.

The grassroots political program includes visits by fellow union members at unionized job sites, making phone calls to members homes, and knocking on doors of union members. The home addresses and phone numbers are provided by the members labor organizations.

Ms. Pauline stated visits to union members homes is underway and fliers provided by the AFL-CIO in Washington are being left at union members homes.

According to a flier, Mitt Romney has been called a “pioneer” of outsourcing jobs as CEO of Bain Capital, and supports a tax plan that will encourage companies to ship even more jobs overseas.

Mr. Romney stated we should, “Let Detroit go bankrupt,” the flier points-out. The AFL-CIO stated Mr. Romney’s opinion makes sense considering he made his fortune destroying American companies and forcing them to close plants, lay-off workers and eliminate pensions and health care.

The AFL-CIO also wants to make sure union members votes count on November 6th due to changes made to the Pennsylvania election law.

The Repubican controlled General Assembly in Harrisburg passed H.B. 934 in the spring that will force voters to show identification in the fall election. Pennsylvania Republican Governor Tom Corbett signed the legislation into law even though Democrats and others opposed the legislation believing it will result in longer lines at polls and was nothing but a “Trojan horse” designed to tip election battles in Republicans’ favor.

Approximately 21 million American adults do not have a government issued photo identification card. Around 15 percent of low-income people, which do not own or drive a car, lack a valid card.

According to all major polls in Pennsylvania, Mr. Obama has a big lead over Mr. Romney.

On September 15th the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper reported Mr. Obama leads his Republican opponent by 11 percentage points in Pennsylvania.

Also, Republican affiliated super PAC’s have cut or stopped advertising on television since Labor Day in the state instead investing into other swing states like Florida, Ohio, Colorado, Virginia and Wisconsin. According to the Wall Street Journal on September 14th, Mr. Obama holds leads outside the margin of error in Ohio, Florida and Virginia.

PLA’s signed for almost all NFL stadiums built since 1998

09.30.12

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

PLA’s signed for almost all NFL stadiums built since 1998

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, September 12th- According to the Building and Construction Trades Department (BCTD) of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington DC, the National Football League’s (NFL’s) season opening game played between Dallas and the New York Giants was played in a stadium built under a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) with the unions affiliated with the BCTD.

Tom Owens, spokesperson for the BCTD, which has 13 national and international affiliated labor organizations that collectively represent 2 million skilled craft tradespeople throughout the United States and Canada, stated the NFL season kick-off game between the NFC East Division rivals, the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants, featured some of the recent trends that have embraced pro-football, the use of Project Labor Agreements for the construction and renovations of NFL stadiums.

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 the project, however if they are selected, local unionized workers must be hired.

Mr. Owens told the newspaper since 1998, a whopping 12 out of 18 NFL stadiums have embraced the value of a project labor agreement.

“NFL owners, like any business people, are cost-conscious and profit-oriented. They understand that PLAs provide increased jobsite efficiencies through the utilization of the safest, most highly trained and productive skilled workforce. A workforce that is developed through the investment of approximately one billion dollars a year by America’s Building Trades Unions and their signatory contractors,” said Mr. Owens.

Stadiums in Baltimore, Foxboro, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Green Bay, New York, Pittsburgh, and Seattle, were built under a PLA. Also, the new stadium in San Francisco is being built under a PLA.

Mr. Owens indicated numerous private sector entities have also signed project labor agreements. He stated major private sector companies such as Toyota, Disney, Reebok and Wal-Mart have signed PLA’s.

However, Wal-Mart builds their stores in the Lehigh Valley with mostly nonunion construction workers.

The Building and Construction Trades Council of the Lehigh Valley labor federation, Liberty Street in Allentown, has 21 affiliated members.

Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton Metropolitan Statistical Area jobless rate at 8.9 percent

09.30.12

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

Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton Metropolitan Statistical Area jobless rate at 8.9 percent

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

LEHIGH VALLEY, September 9th- 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 8.8 percent, increasing by three-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 also 8.8 percent.

There are fourteen Metropolitan Statistical Area’s in Pennsylvania and the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA is tied with the Philadelphia MSA for the third highest unemployment rate.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA continues to have the highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 9.6 percent. The Johnstown MSA has the second highest unemployment rate at 9.0 percent with the Williamsport MSA fourth at 8.6 percent.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 6.2 percent. The Lebanon MSA has the second lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 6.6 percent and the Lancaster MSA has the third lowest at 6.7 percent.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 7.9 percent, rising by three-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report but dropping by two-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months before.

There are 509,000 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 6,478,000 and 5,969,000 of them have employment.

The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was reported to be 8.3 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 nation unemployment was down eight-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months before.

The Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor force in Pennsylvania with 433,400 civilians, increasing by 700 from the previous report and rising by 11,600 during the past twelve months.

The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor force at 2,999,400 with 264,000 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor force at 1,259,900 with 92,900 without jobs; the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA has the fourth largest civilian labor force in the commonwealth at 288,300 with 27,700 civilians without jobs. The Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA is the fifth largest labor force in Pennsylvania with 287,100 civilians and 21,300 of them are jobsless.

There are 12,794,000 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 16.9 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 continues to have the highest unemployment rate in the MSA at 9.9 percent. Lehigh County and Northampton County have the same unemployment at 8.8 percent.

IAM removed as bargaining representative in Allentown

09.30.12

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

IAM removed as bargaining representative in Allentown

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, September 17th- Employees of Five Star International, Hanover Avenue in Allentown, voted to remove the International Association of Machinists (IAM) Union Local Lodge 447 in Philadelphia, as their bargaining representative for the purpose of collective bargaining.

In the previous edition of the newspaper it was exclusively reported that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia would conduct an election on August 30th to determine if approximately 12 employees of Five Star International wanted to continue to be union represented.

The newspaper reported that an employee of the truck repair company filed the petition with the NLRB requesting the agency conduct the de-certification election.

According to the petition, which was discovered by the newspaper while reviewing representation petitions and labor complaints filed at the NLRB Region Four Office, Justin Allen Scheetz, an employee who resides on Walnut Street in Lansdale, requested the agency conduct a election to determine if Five Star International employees want to continue to be represented for the purpose of collective bargaining.

The petition was filed on July 12th, 2012 and requested 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 employees voted 7 to remove the union to 5 to continue to be represented by the IAM during the NLRB conducted election.

In July the IAM filed a Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge against Five Star International management alleging the company violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct) by conducting surface bargaining and by assisting Five Star International employees in an attempt to decertify the Union. However, the ULP was withdrawn because of the failure of the NLRB to find merit in the complaint.

Local Lodge 447 is affiliated with IAM District 15 in Cincinnati, Ohio. IAM Local Lodge’s throughout southeastern and northeastern Pennsylvania, including the Lehigh Valley, are normally affiliated with IAM District 1. But, Local Lodge 447 is affiliated with District 15 because the union represents workers in the engine repair trade.

The newspaper learned the most recent hired employees supported the removal of the IAM because the company plans to open on weekends and under the contract those employees would be forced to work.

Under NLRB rules, at least 50 percent plus one of the eligilble to participate voting employees must vote against the union before the labor organization can be removed as their bargaining representative.