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AFL-CIO registers more than 450,000 new voters for 2012

11.05.12

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

AFL-CIO registers more than 450,000 new voters for 2012

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, October 20th- The American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington, DC, says it has registered more than 450,000 new voters from union households nationwide over the past 18 months.

The labor federation endorsed President Barack Obama for a second four-year term in the White House for the November 6th General Election.

The AFL-CIO stated the push to swell the ranks of Democratic-leaning voters is intended to help Mr. Obama win re-election.

According to the labor organization, the tally includes about 68,000 new voters in Ohio, a key battleground state, and thousands of other union friendly voters in swing states like Colorado and Nevada.

Mr. Obama defeated Republican Presidential nominee John McCain in 2008 by a little more than 200,000 votes in Ohio out of about 5 million votes cast in the state.

Voters from union households have traditionally favored Democratic candidates with that trend expected to continue this year despite of efforts by Republican leaders to weaken collective bargaining rights in Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana and other states.

Meanwhile, according to a poll conducted by the Wall Street Journal/ NBC, Mr. Obama has a larger margin of support among union households that he did in 2008. Also, Mr. Obama has a 71 percent to 22 percent lead over Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney among Latino voters.

“This is the first time we’ve made this big an effort to increase registration. We’re really proud that more union members are going to be engaged.

Whoever they vote for, the fact is we’re increasing civic participation,” stated AFL-CIO political director Mike Podhorzer.

Mr. Podhorzer said the plan began in March 2011 when the labor federation began matching lists of union households members with voter registration files in every state.

Machinists Union files complaint against nursing home

11.05.12

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

Machinists Union files complaint against nursing home

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, October 13th- The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) Union District 1 filed a labor complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia, alleging a Monroe County nursing home violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

According to the Unfair Labor Practice (ULP), which was discovered by the newspaper while reviewing representation petitions and labor complaints filed at the NLRB office, the IAM alleges Whitestone Healthcare Croup LLC nursing home in Stroudsburg, violated Section 8 (a), subsection (1) and (3) of the NLRAct.

The complaint states the nursing home/extended care facility employs approximately 49 workers.

“Within the last six months, the above named Employer, through its officers, agents and representatives, has interfered with, restrained and coerced employees of Whitestone Healthcare Group LLC in the exercise of their rights guaranteed in Section 7 of the ACT.

On or about September 6th, 2012, the above named Employer, by its officers, agents and representatives, terminated the employment of Eric Bell because of his activities on behalf of International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, AFL-CIO District 1, a labor organization, and at all times since such date the Employer has refused and does now refuse to employ the above-named employee,” states the ULP.

The ULP was filed on behalf of the IAM by James Smith, identified as an IAM Grand Lodge Representative states the complaint.

The Employer Representative identified to be contacted is Vito Ruggerio, Nursing Home Administrator.

Some within labor believe voter ID ads are deceiving

11.05.12

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

Some within labor believe voter ID ads are deceiving

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, October 19th- On October 2nd Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court Judge Robert Simpson blocked the state’s voter identification requirement from going into effect on Election Day, November 6th, but some members of the labor community believe Pennsylvania is continuing to place advertisements that suggest voters still need ID’s.

Judge Simpson said in his ruling that he was concerned by Pennsylvania’s efforts in making sure voters would be able to get a photo identification and would not rely on the assurances of Republican government officials that every voter would be able to get a valid identification.

The Pennsylvania American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) in Harrisburg called on Pennsylvania Republican Governor Tom Corbett to immediately begin a new public education campaign which will clearly and accurately inform all voters that the requirement of showing a valid ID has been delayed and will not be required to vote on November 6th.

“We applaud Judge Simpson for delaying full implementation of the act; however, it is critical that the Department of State immediately inform all voters of the changes based upon Judge Simpson’s decision,” stated Rick Bloomingdale, Presidert of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO.

Judge Simpson’s ruling will allow the law to go into full effect in 2013, through he could still decide to issue a permanent injunction as part of the legal challenge to the photo idenification law constitutionality.

Pennsylvania has spend millions of dollars on an advertising campaign on television, radio, billboards and mailing about to new photo identification requirement.

However, Pennsylvania is continuing to place advertisements suggesting voters should still bring identification to the polls on November 6th.

Rosemary Boland, President of the Scranton Federation of Teachers (SFT) Union, which is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) in Washington DC, stated taxpayer paid advertisements regarding the blocked voter identification law is deceiving because people are told to still bring identification to the polls. The SFT represent teachers of the Scranton School District.

Ms. Boland also feels the Pennsylvania American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation, the Democratic party or both, should place their own advertisements in newspapers and/or radio stations stating identification is not needed on November 6th.

“There is no question the ads are confusing and a attempt to get people to not vote,” stated Ms. Boland.

The photo identification law was mostly supported by Republican party members and they cited the reason for the legislation was because of “voter fraud.” However, according to studies the problem is not an issue.

From 2002 to 2007 the Bush Administration ordered its United States Attorney Generals in every state to look for and prosecute cases of voter fraud. Only 120 people were charged nationwide, with just 86 convictions out of 300 million votes cast nationwide.

Roxanne Pauline, Field Representative of the Northeastern Labor Federation (ALF), said people need to know that Pennsylvania voters are no longer required to show a photo ID in order to vote and you may be asked to show your ID at your polling place but is it not required to vote.

Ms. Pauline agreeds with Ms. Boland’s opinion regarding Pennsylvania’s advertisements for the November 6th election. “They should be running ads that state plainly, no photo ID is needed,” she stated.

Administration makes awards to encourage U.S. investment

11.05.12

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

Administration makes awards to encourage U.S. investment

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, October 16th- The Obama administration recently announced that 10 public-private partnerships will receive $20 million in total awards to help manufacturing and encourage companies to invest in the United States.

The 10 partnerships were selected through the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge, which is a competitive multi-agency grant process announced in early 2012 to support initiatives that strengthen advanced manufacturing at the local level.

The partnerships consist of small and large businesses, colleges, nonprofits, and other local stakeholders that “cluster” in a particular area. The funds will help the winning clusters support local efforts to spur job creation through a variety of projects, including initiatives that connect innovative small suppliers with large companies, link research with the startups that can commercialize new ideas, and train workers with skills that firms need to capitalize on business opportunities.

“By partnering across the federal government, these grants will help us leverage resources and ensure that training programs for advanced manufacturing careers provide the skills, certifications and credentials that employers want to see from day one,” stated Hilda Solis, Secretary of Labor.

She added that in order to create an economy built to last, America needs to make more things the rest of the world wants to buy. After losing millions of good manufacturing jobs in the years before and during the deep recession, the economy has added nearly 500,000 manufacturing jobs since February 2010, the strongest period of sustained job growth since the 1990’s.

“A strong manufacturing base in America is critical to the health of the United States economy, and these awards further demonstrate the Obama administration’s commitment to keeping this country on the cutting edge of innovation in manufacturing. This investment will help accelerate and unleash the most promising ideas in advanced manufacturing, and bring those ideas to market. This will lead to good jobs for American workers, increase the nation’s competitiveness, and strengthen an economy that’s built to last,” stated Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank.

In Pennsylvania those that received awards were:

•The Greater Philadelphia Advanced Manufacturing Innovation and Skills Accelerator, a project of the Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center ($1,892,000); and

•The Agile Electro-Mechancial Product Accelerator, a project of Innovation Works, the Catalyst Connection, the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining and the Westmoreland Workforce Investment Board ($1,862,150).