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PPL employee files complaint against the utility provider

01.27.13

FEBRUARY 2013, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

PPL employee files complaint against the utility provider

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, January 12th- An employee of PPL Electric Utilities, Lehigh Service Center, Hausman Road in Allentown, filed a labor complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia, alleging the distributor of electricity utility company violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union Local 1600 in Trexlertown, represent line workers of PPL. The utility company provides electricity to approximately 1.4 million customers in Pennsylvania including throughout eastern Pennsylvania.

According to the Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge, James Caffrey of Breinigsville, alleges PPL violated the NLRAct when on July 3rd, 2012 he was disciplined for leaving early from a work shift the employee was filling on a voluntary overtime basis.

“The employee was not scheduled to work on the date of the alleged infraction. There have been other NLRB charges on behalf of the employee in the past,” states the ULP.

The complaint was filed on December 26th, 2012 by Mr. Caffrey.

Mr. Caffrey is Local 1600 Chief Steward and in July, 2012 PPL suspended and placed him in a “Responsible Behavior Program” until July 27th, 2014.

In July, 2012 Local 1600 filed a ULP against PPL on behalf of Mr. Caffrey after he was suspended for one day and given the 24 month “time-in-effect” and placed on the “Responsible Behavior Program” for what PPL stated was the failure to adhere to “Troubleman” expections and failure to communicate with “Dispatch”.

The Union stated that no bargaining unit employee has ever been disciplined for such an alleged infraction.

Pennsylvania teachers pension plan liabilities increasing

01.27.13

FEBRUARY 2013, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

Pennsylvania teachers pension plan liabilities increasing

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, January 15th- A recent report by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) estimates teacher pension plans nationwide have almost $325 billion in unfunded liabilities. In Pennsylvania it is estimated there is an unfunded liability of $19.7 billion. The report suggests the pension problem is worse due to unrealistic assumptions and projections about what returns will be made on investments.

The teacher unions and other public sector unions in Pennsylvania are getting ready for another battle with Pennsylvania Republican Governor Tom Corbett and conservatives in the state General Assembly in 2013 when they will attempt to cut retirement benefits.

Mike Crossey, the President of the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA), which represents approximately 190,000 active and retired school teachers and employees in Pennsylvania, reacted to the Keystone Pension Report which was released on December 3rd by Governor Corbett’s budget secretary.

Mr. Crossey noted that the report stated what PSEA has said all along, that the public employees of Pennsylvania and taxpayers did not create the pension problem.

Mike Crossey emphasized that teachers, nurses, and other public employees across the Commonwealth already pay for a significant portion of their pensions, and have made their contributions on time. The pension shortfall was caused by politicans who failed to make their appropriate contributions to the pension system. Many schools districts across Pennsylvania have not made their contributions to the pension system.

“To blame Pennsylvania’s budget problems on debts employers owe to the pension systems is to make a scapegoat of working people who have contributed to their Pensions, year in and year out,” Mr. Crossey stated.

He emphasized that the report’s vague suggestions to change the future retirement benefits of current workers are unconstitutional, unethical, and won’t solve the problem since it would not address the pension debt.

“And in reality, it is Covernor Corbett’s prior budgetary decisions that are the true cause of Pennsylvania’s budget problem. Governor Corbett made a conscious policy decision to provide more than $800 million in corporate tax breaks, including the capital stock and franchise tax and bonus depreciation credit, which cost the state $760 million, more than the projected pension debt owed in 2013-2014 fiscal year.

The National Council on Teacher Quality report notes Pennsylvania’s pension system is 75.1 percent fully funded, better than 28 of the 50 states. The most unfunded is Indiana at 44.3 percent of liabilities.

Some states, including Pennsylvania, have attempted to change the pension system. In 2010 the Pennsylvania legislature passed Act 120, which lowered the amount a pension increases a year of employment from 2.5 percent of pay to 2 percent. Also, the vested time was raised from five years to ten and required most teachers to wait until they are 65 to start receiving pension payments. The new rules apply to newly hired teachers.

Mr. Crossey added that the PSEA and other public employees in Pennsylvania helped pass Act 120 to pay down the debt employers owe the pension systems. “Now, the governor wants to walk away from it and break a promise of retirement security for teachers, nurses, libraians, and public safety workers, in order to honor a no-tax pledge to Grover Norguist,” added Mr. Crossey.

The NCTQ suggest that increasing pension vesting time is the wrong way to go because it restricts teachers moving from one state to another, recommending instead a maximum of three years. The report suggest setting a uniform age, such as 65 years old, for the start of pension payments, making the plan fair to all teachers.

Foreign-run company to manage Pennsylvania Lottery System

01.25.13

FEBRUARY 2013, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

Foreign-run company to manage Pennsylvania Lottery System

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, January 13th- The Pennsylvania Republican Governor Tom Corbett Administration awarded the British lottery company Camelot Global Services a 20-year contract to privately manage the Pennsylvania Lottery System before the Pennsylvania Senate Finance Committee hearing was even held on the privitization plan. Mr. Corbett awarded the contract to Camelot Global Services on January 11th, three days before the public hearing was to be held by the Senate Committee.

The office of the governor released a summary of his intension and the terms and conditions of the Private Management Agreement (PMA) which includes the suggestion that privitizing the system would “provide more reliable and predictable revenue to ensure the continued strength and viability” of the Pennsylvania Lottery system.

The deadline to reach a potential deal to privatize the operation of the state lottery system was put off for an additional 10 days on December 31st, 2012, the day reaching a deal was to expire.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union represent 170 of the 230 state workers employed by the lottery system. The reason given for the extension was to give AFSCME more time to submit their own proposal attempting to save their members jobs, which could be lost under the privitization plan. Mr. Corbett immediately rejected the AFSCME proposal.

The PMA will establish the management relationship between Pennsylvania and a private manager which will govern day-to-day operations of the Pennsylvania Lottery, define the scope and duties of services to be provided by the private manager, establish expectations on Lottery growth opportunities, employ industry best practices for marketing and management of the Lottery by which the contractor will be measured to ensure the Commonwealth is getting expected results.

The Corbett Administration released a summary in 2012 of his intent of privitizing the lottery system, which had $3.5 billion in sales last year, stating the PMA will be a contract between the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a private industry expect structured to assure funding to support lottery-funded senior citizen programs, the summary stated.

However, what Mr. Corbett’s summary did not state is why he found it neccessary to privitize the state lottery system which makes millions of dollars for the Commonwealth each year that supplies funds for many programs for the elderly.

The lone bidder for the PMA was Camelot Global Services of Great Britain, however apparently two other companies pulled out for unknown reasons.

Camelot Global Services has guaranteed him they will double lottery profits over 20 years. These are profit thresholds that must be achieved by the manager in order for the manager to earn any incentive compensation.

Under the plan, the PMA manager would provide to Pennsylvania $150 million in cash collateral. It is against this cash collateral that any shortfall payments would be drawn, if the PMA manager fails to meet its annual profit commitment in any year.

If the cash collateral is depleted to less than $50 million at any point in the contract term, then the manager would obtain letters of credit of $50 million to ensure the financial and performance based obligations of the agreement.

Pennsylvania House of Representative Steve Samuelson (Democrat-135th Legislative District) questioned why there is nothing in writing requiring Camelot Global Services to pay taxes in Pennsylvania. Camelot only filed papers on the day the Corbett administration announced the contract to be headquartered in Pennsylvania, rather than Delaware which would have allowed them not to pay Pennsylvania state corporate taxes.

Under the agreement, Camelot Global Services would only need to invite the current Lottery employees to apply for job opportunities during the employment transition period that may take up to a year. However, the manager could use subcontractors and vendors to provide products or services for the management of the Lottery, resulting in the lost of family sustaining jobs for lower paid workers.

David Fillman, Executive Director of AFSCME Council 13 in Harrisburg, which represent the 170 union workers, testified at the Senate Committee hearing and stated the Pennsylvania Lottery is one of the most successful lottery operations in the country, yet Governor Corbett has agreed to the privitization of the system without public input and the input of the legislature.

Mr. Fillman questions why the Corbett adminstration wanted to fix something that was not broken for a so-called guarantee from a foreign-run company.

Pennsylvania Democratic Auditor General Jack Wagner publicly questioned the wisdom of awarding such a large contract to Camelot Global Services, the sole bidder.

Lehigh Valley unemployment rate decreases to 8.6 percent

01.24.13

FEBRUARY 2013, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

Lehigh Valley unemployment rate decreases to 8.6 percent

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, January 14th- 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 8.6 percent, decreasing by one-tenth 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 at 8.6 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 9.4 percent. The Johnstown MSA has the second highest unemployment rate at 8.7 percent with the Williamsport MSA fourth at 8.1 percent.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 5.7 percent. The Lebanon MSA and the Lancaster MSA are tied for the second lowest unemployment rate in the state at 6.6 percent.

The Pittsburgh MSA and the Harrisburg MSA are tied for the third lowest at 7.2 percent.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 7.8 percent, dropping by three-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report and unchanged from twelve months before.

There are 512,000 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 6,542,000 and 6,030,000 of them have employment.

The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was reported to be 7.7 percent, decreasing by two-tenths 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 one full percentage point from twelve months before.

The Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor force in Pennsylvania with 433,200 civilians, decreasing by 900 from the previous report and rising by 12,100 during the past twelve months.

The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor force at 3,019,600 with 259,400 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor force at 1,265,100 with 90,900 without jobs; and the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA has the fourth largest civilian labor force in the commonwealth at 291,400 with 27,300 civilians without jobs. The Harrisburg MSA is the fifth largest labor force in Pennsylvania with 289,600 civilians and 20,800 of them are without jobs.

Northampton County and Lehigh County are tied for the lowest unemployment rate in the MSA at 8.4 percent. Northampton County has 13,000 civilians unemployed, decreasing by 200 from the previous report and dropping by 400 from twelve months ago. The unemployment rate was unchanged from the previous report.

Lehigh County has 15,500 civilians without jobs, dropping by 800 from the previous report but increasing by 200 over the past twelve months.

Carbon County has the highest unemployment rate in the MSA at 10.1 percent, decreasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the month before and dropping by three-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months ago.

Anti-union legislation being created for current session of Legislature

01.23.13

FEBRUARY 2013, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

Anti-union legislation being created for current session of Legislature

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, January 15th- There will be many issues important to members of the labor community on the political agenda in Harrisburg during the current session of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Pennsylvania Republican anti-union Governor Tom Corbett recently stated he will not push for passage in 2013 for the state to become the twenty-fifth state that now has “right-to-work”, or “no-rights-at-work”, laws on the books. Michigan became the twenty-fourth state in the nation to pass the anti-union legislation in early December 2012.

Mr. Corbett recently said other issues other than right-to-work were more pressing however, Michigan’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder also stated in 2012 he did not believe the legislation was important but signed the legislation into law only an hour after the Republican controlled legislature in Michigan passed it.

Anti-union Pennsylvania House of Representative Daryl Metcalfe (Republican-112th Legislative District) said he plans to introduce a right-to-work measure in the first quarter of 2013. The legislation would ban union security clauses in labor bargaining agreements.

Approximately 20 states have introduced “no-rights-at-work” bills in 2012 but most were bogged down in committees. However, banning of union security clauses in Michigan have given backers, mostly profiteers and their supporters in the legislature, renewed hope that similar legislation could be passed in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

Mr. Metcalfe stated what happen in Michigan and before that in Indiana created more energy for the anti-union forces in Pennsylvania to pass the no-rights-at-work legislation.

Before Indiana passed the anti-union legislation in 2011 and Michigan in 2012 the last state to successfully pass right-to-work laws was Oklahoma in 2001.

Democratic governors in New Hampshire, Kentucky and Missouri have stated they would veto the anti-union legislation should their legislators passed it. Also, Ohio pro-business legislators have pledged to attempt to make their state a no-rights-at-work state in 2013. Missouri is surrounded by six states that have no-rights-at-work laws on the books.

Labor organizations in Ohio have already began to rally their members and have pointed to their success in helping to overturn a Republican-backed law in 2011 that would have severely restricked public employees unions to negotiate contracts with government, both statewide and local.

Meanwhile, legislation that would ban Project Labor Agreements (PLA’s) on public construction projects such as schools and public office buildings; the privitization of the Pennsylvania Wine and Spirits Shops; and allowing the further expansion of charter schools, has been promised by anti-union, pro-business members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly during 2013.

A PLA is a comprehensive agreement signed between 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 well trained labor supply, and general labor peace. Under a PLA, a nonunion contractor could still be hired for a project, however if they are selected, local unionized workers must be hired.

For several years the National Right-to-Work Committee, a organization funded by multi-national corporations and other anti-union groups, has placed pro-right-to-work propaganda in the Union News wire racks that are placed throughout the region. The newspaper ask that any union member or reader discovering the material to remove it and place it in a proper garbage container.

Scranton out-going mail to be processed in Lehigh Valley

01.23.13

FEBRUARY 2013, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

Scranton out-going mail to be processed in Lehigh Valley

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, January 14th- The United States Postal Service (USPS) plans to move all out-going mail from the Scranton Mail Processing Center to the Lehigh Valley during the last weekend of January rather than on the date previously announced.

The USPS announced last year it would consolidate 48 mail processing centers throughout the nation including moving their operations from Scranton to the Lehigh Valley. The plan would save the agency nearly $1.2 billion a year, according to information provided by the USPS.

The USPS first stated it would close about 250 processing centers after their plan is fully implemented. Overall, approximately 5,000 workers would be affected by the consolidation. The plan was to consolidate 92 mail processing centers in February 2013, and 89 more in 2014.

The agency stated the move of consolidation of mail processing centers is intended to be a cost saving plan. The reason for the cutbacks is because of declining mail volume caused by customers no longer using the mail service.

However, the USPS later announced they postponed moving the operations of the Scranton Processing Center to the Lehigh Valley until at least February 2014.

The USPS changed their plan yet again and stated it would move the operations of all out-going mail from the Scranton facility to the Lehigh Valley beginning on February 21st. But, now has stated it intended to move the out-going mail processing to the Lehigh Valley beginning sometime before February.

Kevin Gallagher, President of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Local 101 in Scranton, told the newspaper USPS officials recently met with the Union and announced all out-going mail will be processed in the Lehigh Valley but no job losses are expected.

Mr. Gallagher stated under the USPS plan mail will be processed in the Lehigh Valley and then brought back to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton region for delivery to customers. APWU members sort and process USPS mail and packages. Local 268 represent APWU members throughout the Lehigh Valley.

The National Association of Letters Carriers (NALC) Union and the APWU represent the majority of the USPS workers with a combined membership of nearly 410,000 workers.

Should the elimination of the Scranton facility take place, the USPS stated it plans no layoffs but the effected workers would need travel to the Lehigh Valley for employment.

Pennsylvania teachers pension plan liabilities increasing

01.22.13

JANUARY 2013, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Pennsylvania teachers pension plan liabilities increasing

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 5th- A recent report by the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) estimates teacher pension plans nationwide have almost $325 billion in unfunded liabilities. In Pennsylvania it is estimated there is an unfunded liability of $19.7 billion. The report suggests the pension problem is worse due to unrealistic assumptions and projections about what returns will be made on investments.

The teacher unions and other public sector unions in Pennsylvania are getting ready for another battle with Pennsylvania Republican Governor Tom Corbett and conservatives in the state General Assembly in 2013 when they will attempt to cut retirement benefits.

Mike Crossey, the President of the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA), which represents approximately 190,000 active and retired school teachers and employees in Pennsylvania, reacted to the Keystone Pension Report which was released on December 3rd by Governor Corbett’s budget secretary.

Mr. Crossey noted that the report stated what PSEA has said all along, that the public employees of Pennsylvania and taxpayers did not create the pension problem.

Mike Crossey emphasized that teachers, nurses, and other public employees across the Commonwealth already pay for a significant portion of their pensions, and have made their contributions on time. The pension shortfall was caused by politicans who failed to make their appropriate contributions to the pension system. Many schools districts across Pennsylvania have not made their contributions to the pension system.

“To blame Pennsylvania’s budget problems on debts employers owe to the pension systems is to make a scapegoat of working people who have contributed to their Pensions, year in and year out,” Mr. Crossey stated.

He emphasized that the report’s vague suggestions to change the future retirement benefits of current workers are unconstitutional, unethical, and won’t solve the problem since it would not address the pension debt.

“And in reality, it is Covernor Corbett’s prior budgetary decisions that are the true cause of Pennsylvania’s budget problem. Governor Corbett made a conscious policy decision to provide more than $800 million in corporate tax breaks, including the capital stock and franchise tax and bonus depreciation credit, which cost the state $760 million, more than the projected pension debt owed in 2013-2014 fiscal year.

The National Council on Teacher Quality report notes Pennsylvania’s pension system is 75.1 percent fully funded, better than 28 of the 50 states. The most unfunded is Indiana at 44.3 percent of liabilities.

Some states, including Pennsylvania, have attempted to change the pension system. In 2010 the Pennsylvania legislature passed Act 120, which lowered the amount a pension increases a year of employment from 2.5 percent of pay to 2 percent. Also, the vested time was raised from five years to ten and required most teachers to wait until they are 65 to start receiving pension payments. The new rules apply to newly hired teachers.

Mr. Crossey added that the PSEA and other public employees in Pennsylvania helped pass Act 120 to pay down the debt employers owe the pension systems. “Now, the governor wants to walk away from it and break a promise of retirement security for teachers, nurses, libraians, and public safety workers, in order to honor a no-tax pledge to Grover Norguist,” added Mr. Crossey.

The NCTQ suggest that increasing pension vesting time is the wrong way to go because it restricts teachers moving from one state to another, recommending instead a maximum of three years. The report suggest setting a uniform age, such as 65 years old, for the start of pension payments, making the plan fair to all teachers.

SMWIA Local 44 files complaint against Penn Refrigeration

01.22.13

JANUARY 2013, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

SMWIA Local 44 files complaint against Penn Refrigeration

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 3rd- The Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA) Union Local 44, Parrish Street in Wilkes-Barre, filed a labor complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia, alleging a Luzerne County employer violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

According to the Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge, Local 44 alleges the employer violated Section 8 (a), subsections (1) and (5) of the NLRAct.

The complaint was filed on December 18th, 2012 and alleges Penn Refrigeration, Woodbury Street in Wilkes-Barre, violated the NLRAct by imposing a mass lay-off, closed plant/shop with no expectation of re-opening, disregarded the unions efforts to effects bargain or seek reasonable information pertaining to the preparation and initiation of effect bargaining as well as avoiding required grievance/arbitration procedures pursuant to the collective bargaining agreement.

The ULP was filed on behalf of Local 44 by Warren Faust, Business Manager of the union.

The SMWIA represent workers within the construction industry that install vents and sheet metal in building construction.

However, Local 44 represents approximately 31 production and installation employees of Penn Refrigeration, which principal product was the manufacturing of walk-in cooler boxes made of sheet metal.

The ULP also alleges Penn Refrigeration has begun to stop benefits due to bargaining unit employees and is attempting to sell the company and assets without bargaining with the Union on the plant closure effects bargaining.

The Employer Representative named to be contacted on the ULP is Albert Finarelli.

More work at Mohegan Sun goes to out-of-the-area workers

01.22.13

JANUARY 2013, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

More work at Mohegan Sun goes to out-of-the-area workers

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 4th- The percentage of nonunion construction workers that have been hired for the $50 million construction project at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Plains Township, which is building a new hotel and convention center, is increasing. The project was devided into two parts, the construction of the hotel and the construction of the convention center.

Members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union Local 163 in Wilkes-Barre picketed outside of the Mohegan Sun for several days protesting the hiring of a Missouri-based contractor for the electrical work.

Mohegan Sun responded by setting-up two gates to the construction site, one for nonunion workers and one for union tradesmen. IBEW members were then forced to picket only the nonunion worker gate, so not to cause delays in the construction schedule after other union construction members began not to cross the information picket line.

Michael Kwashnik, Business Manager of Local 163 was unvailable for this story.

Mike Rozitski, President of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Building and Construction Trades Council labor federation told the newspaper he is disappointed nearly every construction union affiliated with the labor organization are not being hired for some of the work construction.

Mr. Rozitski said in 2005, when the main casino building was built, a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) was used. But, Mohegan Sun would not sign a PLA for these projects. 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 a guarantee of no strikes, a steady labor supply, and labor peace. Under a PLA, a nonunion contractor could still be hired for a project, but if selected, local unionized workers must be hired.

Bobby Sober, former President and CEO of Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs, stated in mid-October 2012 that more than 90 precent of construction workers on the project were supplied by the 14 local unions affiliated with the building trades council.

However, Mike Bean, who replaced Mr. Sober, stated in December after the IBEW began picketing the hotel and convention center construction, that approximately 50 percent of the workers hired were union. Something, Mr. Rozitski disputes. “It would be more like 40 percent.”

Mr. Rozitski told the newspaper it is encouraged for union members to travel a little further to Mount Airy Casino to gamble because they hire local unionized construction workers. “It is time to send Mohegan Sun a message. They want local people to spend their money there, then hire local people,” added Mr. Rozitski.

Painting contractor owners file personal bankruptcy

01.22.13

JANUARY 2013, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Painting contractor owners file personal bankruptcy

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 3rd- John Gatto, Assistant Business Manager of International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 21, Azalea Drive in Drums, told the newspaper the owners of a signatory painting contractor of the Union has filed personal bankruptcy and he is not optimistic of recouping any funds owed to the IUPAT.

It has been exclusively reported in previous edition’s of the newspaper that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia issued a complaint against Accents Painting and Wallcovering, LLC Accents Contracting, a signatory contractor of IUPAT District 21, for failure to make employee fund payments as per District Council 21’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The union filed a Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge with the NLRB against the contractor during the summer of 2012 alleging the operators of the painting contractor, Jennifer and Ken Phillips, failed to properly pay their workers. The company has since filed chapter 7 bankruptcy.

“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,” stated the labor complaint.

IUPAT represent painters and drywall construction workers within the building and construction trades industry.

The NLRB ruled the owners of Accents Painting and Wallpapering, LLC Accents Contracting, Church Road in Mountain Top, Luzerne County, must provide business bank records, including bank statements, cancelled checks and deposit records, to the agency to determine how much money is owed to their employees which are represented by IUPAT District Council 21.

However, Mr. Gatto stated Ken and Jennifer Phillips have filed personal bankruptcy and most likely other creditors will be paid before IUPAT receives any funds owed. Mr. Gatto does not know how much the union is owed by Ken and Jennifer Phillips.

The company failed to provide the NLRB the financial information that was requested instead the company filed bankruptcy.

Under the NLRB ruling, the Phillips were ordered to provide the company’s business ledger for the period from January 1st, 2012 to the present. Also they were to provide the complete list of Accents Painting and Wallcovering financial liabilities among other financial information.

New ERISA Advisory Council appointments announced

01.21.13

JANUARY 2013, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

New ERISA Advisory Council appointments announced

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 2nd- The United States Secretary of Labor (DOL) Hilda Solis in Washington, DC, recently announced the appointments of five new members to the 2013 Advisory Council on the Employee Welfare and Pension Benefit Plans (ERISA). Ms. Solis also announced the incoming chair and vice chair of the council.

ERISA provides for the establishment of an Advisory Council which duties are to advise the DOL regarding the Secretary’s functions under ERISA.

The council consists of 15 members appointed by the Secretary of Labor. Three members are representatives of employee organizations (at least one of whom represents an organization whose members are participants in a multi-employer plan). Three members are representatives of employers (at least one of whom represents employers maintaining or contributing to multi-employer plans). Three members are representatives of the general public. There is one representative each from the fields of insurance, corporate trust, actuarial counseling, investment counseling, investment management, and accounting. Members must be qualified to appraise the programs instituted under ERISA. Members are appointed for three-year terms with five terms expiring on December 31 of each year.

“The ERISA Advisory Council is integral to the department’s work in enhancing and preserving the health and retirement benefits of American workers. The exceptional professionals joining the 2013 council are uniquely qualified to help it accomplish its goals. Their expertise will be valuable complement to the department’s mission to protect workers’ benefits,” stated Ms. Solis.

The new members include James Singer, who is partner at the Schuchat, Cook & Werner Law firm in St. Louis, Missouri and will represent one of the seats of the employee organizations. He counsels labor unions and multi-employer benefit plans to the operation and administration of plans, and on compliance with ERISA and the tax code. He also represents employees in claims against employee benefit plans.

The other new appointments are:

• Josh Cohen of Chicago, Illinois, which will represent the investment counseling seat;
• Christina Cutlip of Fairfax, Virginia, which will represent employers on the council;
• Ronald Gebhardtsbauer of State College, Pennsylvania, which will hold the actuarial consulting seat; and
• Paul Secunda of Wilwaukee, Wisconsin, which will represent the general public on the ERISA Advisory Board.

APWU files complaint against United States Postal Service

01.21.13

JANUARY 2013, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

APWU files complaint against United States Postal Service

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 4th- The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Local 101 in Scranton filed a labor complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia alleging the United States Postal Service (USPS) violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

The Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge was filed against the USPS on December 11th, 2012 and alleges the agency failed to provide requested information regarding the proposed convertion of the Postal Vehicle Service (PVS) work currently being done at the Scranton Processing and Distribution Center to the designation of a Highway Contract Route (HCR). The work is currently being preformed by APWU members, however should the USPS convert the work to a HCR an outside contractor and their employees would preform it.

According to Kevin Gallagher, President of Local 101, PVS are USPS motor vehicle drivers that haul mail from the processing center in Scranton to post offices throughout Lackawanna County. Approximately 10 APWU members would be eliminated if the independent contractor is hired.

According to the ULP, since October 12th, 2012, the USPS failed to provide information which the Union requested in response to the proposal to convert PVS work stating the information is needed in order to evaluate the proposal as part of its representational responsibilities.

The complaint states the request for the information was sent to Don Hall, USPS Central Pennsylvania Transportation Manager on October 12th, 2012.

The ULP was filed on behalf of the APWU by Mr. Gallegher.

The request for information included factors why the USPS found it neccessary to make the change and the breakdown of the HCR contract cost.

Employees of the independent contractor, Nicholas Trucking Company, which currently already hauls some of the USPS mail in Northeastern Pennsylvania, are represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 401 in Wilkes-Barre.

The Union requested the pay level of Nicholas Trucking Company and a copy of all factors considered in preparing cost estimate by the USPS.

The National Association of Letters Carriers (NALC) Union and the APWU represent the majority of the USPS workers with a combined membership of nearly 410,000 workers.

IBEW Local 1319 successfull in NLRB Representation Election

01.21.13

JANUARY 2013, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

IBEW Local 1319 successfull in NLRB Representation Election

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 5th- The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union Local 1319, 69 Public Square in Wilkes-Barre, won the right to represent workers employed by Frontier Communications by successfully winning a election conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia.

In the December edition of the Union News it was exclusively reported Local 1319 filed a petition with the NLRB requesting the agency conduct a election to determine if employees of Frontier Communications wanted to be represented by the union for the purpose of collective bargaining.

According to the petition, which was filed on behalf of the union by David Blauer, President and Business Agent of Local 1319, the union requested that all full-time and regular part-time system professionals participate in the election.

The union requested that all managers, supervisors, technicians, and other administrators be excluded from participating in the election.

Workers of Frontier Communications Inc. in Williamsport, Hazelton, Plains and Scranton, participated in the election which was conducted by the NLRB on December 12th, 2012. Frontier provides telephone, data, and video services which includes telephone line installation.

The fifteen eligible to participate workers voted eight for union representation to seven against in the election. A labor organization must receive 50 percent plus one of the eligible to vote workers to become their bargaining representative.

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

Under NLRB rules at least 30 percent of workers must sign a petition before the agency will conduct a representation election.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA’s unemployment rate decreases to 9.4 percent

01.21.13

JANUARY 2013, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

MSA’s unemployment rate decreases to 9.4 percent

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 4th- According to labor data provided by the Pennsylvania, Department of Labor and Industry, the region’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 9.4 percent, decreasing by one-tenth of a percentage point 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 9.2 percent.

The unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 7.8 percent, dropping by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted civilian labor force of 6,542,000 with 512,000 not working and 6,030,000 with employment. The national unemployment rate is 7.7 percent, decreasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. The national unemployment rate decreased by a full percentage point from twelve months ago. The unemployment rate does not include civilians that unemployment benefits have expired and stopped looking for work.

There are 12,029,000 civilians 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.

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

The Johnstown MSA has the second highest unemployment rate in the commonwealth at 8.7 percent with the Philadelphia MSA and the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA tied for third at 8.6 percent. The Williamsport MSA has the fourth highest unemployment in the state at 8.1 percent and the Reading MSA has the fifth highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 7.8 percent.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 5.7 percent. The Lebanon MSA and the Lancaster MSA are tied with the second lowest unemployment rate at 6.6 percent. The Pittsburgh MSA and the Harrisburg MSA are tied for the third lowest unemployment rate at 7.2 percent.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA has the fourth largest labor force in Pennsylvania with 291,400 civilians and 27,300 of them are without employment. The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor force in Pennsylvania at 3,019,600 with 259,400 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor force at 1,265,100 with 90,900 without jobs; and the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor force at 433,200 with 37,200 not working.

The Williamsport MSA has the smallest labor force in Pennsylvania with 63,900 civilians and 5,200 of them have no jobs. The Altoona MSA has the second smallest labor force with 65,900 civilians with 4,800 without employment and the Johnstown MSA is third with a labor force of 69,200 and 6,100 of them are not working.

Lackawanna County continues to have the lowest unemployment rate in the MSA at 8.7 percent, unchanged from the previous report. Lackawanna County has a civilian labor force of 110,500. There are 9,600 civilians without employment in Lackawanna County, unchanged from the previous report.

Wyoming County has the highest unemployment rate with in the MSA at 10.1 percent, also unchanged from the previous report. Wyoming County has a civilian labor force of 14,900, with 1,500 unemployed, unchanged from the previous report.

Luzerne County has a unemployment rate of 9.3 percent, decreasing by five-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. Luzerne County has the largest civilian labor-force in the MSA at 165,700 and 15,400 civilians are unemployed dropping by 500 from the previous report.

Meeting scheduled between Lackawanna County and SEIU

01.20.13

JANUARY 2013, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Meeting scheduled between Lackawanna County and SEIU

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 5th- Representatives of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 668, and the Lackawanna County Commissioners Office met on December 20th in a attempt to negotiate for a new contract agreement between the parties.

The previous four-year contract between the Union and Lackawanna County expired on December 31st, 2012.

In the December edition of the newspaper it was reported the chief negotiators of the Union were unhappy how contract negotiations have been conducted so-far between officials of Lackawanna County and the Union for a successor agreement between the parties.

The SEIU represents approximately 200 workers of Lackawanna County including roll offices employees. The union has one major contract that covers all of the bargaining unit employees.

Michelle Williard, Business Agent with Local 668, who is involved with negotiations stated, Democratic Majority Commissioner Jim Wansacz attended the December 20th meeting and spoke to the Union’s negotiating committee regarding why he and fellow Democratic Majority Commissioner Corey O’Brien are seeking only a one (1) year contract agreement with the SEIU. Several sticking points have emerged in gaining a new pact including length of contract, which the County has requested only a one-year pact, to the elimination of retro-active pay should negotiations go well into 2013.

Mr. O’Brien told the newspaper he will not negotiate in the media and believes the union should not also. “I think it is counter-productive for the union to negotiate in the press,” said Mr. O’Brien.

Lackawanna County recently eliminated four positions, increasing the number of jobs cut since October 2012 to twenty-eight (28). Many of the workers laid-off were SEIU members, something Ms. Williard has pointed-out.

Also, Ms. Williard said the Union is the last one to find-out of lay-offs. “They don’t notify us. The workers are told they will be laid-off on the day of the lay-off.”

The next negotiating meeting is scheduled for January 15th.

Teamsters Union members ratify new four-year pact with the City of Wilkes-Barre

01.20.13

JANUARY 2013, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Teamsters Union members ratify new four-year pact with the City of Wilkes-Barre

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 5th- The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 401 members employed in the public works department of Wilkes-Barre voted to ratified a new four-year labor agreement. The previous pact expired on December 31st, 2012 and the new contract will expire on December 31st, 2016.

Local 401, South Washington Street in Wilkes-Barre, represents 40 workers employed by the Wilkes-Barre Department of Public Works. The memebrship voted to ratify the new pact on December 28th by the vote of 36 for to 1 against.

“Local 401 is sincerely appreciative to the City of Wilkes-Barre for its professionalism in regard to the negotiation and ratification of this contract,” stated Pat Connors, Secretary-Treasurer/Business Representative and Principal Officer of Local 401.

Under the new agreement, the workers will receive wage increases of three precent each year. Also, the four temporary workers that were laid-off due to budget problems were recalled on December 27th, Mr. Connors added.

Other agreement highlights are:

• Temporary employees will be evaluated after 90 days from the date of hire and every quarter after that. If there has been no disciplinary action, reprimands or excessive time missed, the employee will get one (1) day of paid time-off (PTO) after each evaluation.
• Any person who retires after December 31st, 2013, can remain on the City’s Health Insurance Plan until they are eligible for Medicare benefits.
• All employees hired on or after January 1st, 2002 shall be granted ten (10) sick days per year.
• If an employee is ordered to operate a piece of heavy duty equipment they shall receive a minimum of one (1) hour at operators rate.
• All full-time employees shall be entitled to and required to take a meal period of one (1) hour between 11:30 a.m. and12:30 p.m.

Public employees pension debt, right-to-work to be huge topics during 2013

01.20.13

JANUARY 2013, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Public employees pension debt, right-to-work to be huge topics during 2013

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 2nd- Public sector unions in Pennsylvania are getting ready for another battle with Pennsylvania Republican Governor Tom Corbett and conservatives in the state General Assembly in 2013 when they will attempt to cut retirement benefits.

Mike Crossey, the President of the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA), which represents approximately 190,000 active and retired school teachers and employees in Pennsylvania, reacted to the Keystone Pension Report which was released on December 3rd by Governor Corbett’s budget secretary.

Mr. Crossey noted that the report stated what PSEA has said all along, that the public employees of Pennsylvania and taxpayers did not create the pension problem.

Mike Crossey emphasized that teachers, nurses, and other public employees across the Commonwealth already pay for a significant portion of their pensions, and have made their contributions on time. The pension shortfall was caused by politicans who failed to make their appropriate contributions to the pension system.

“To blame Pennsylvania’s budget problems on debts employers owe to the pension systems is to make a scapegoat of working people who have contributed to their Pensions, year in and year out,” Mr. Crossey stated.

Mr. Crossey remarks on the pension issue comes on the heels a newly released study indicating the funding cuts to school districts have resulted in increased class sizes, eliminated program offerings, and shutting down tutoring programs for struggling students.

Overall, in the past two budgets Mr. Corbett has cut more than $1 billion in education funds which has caused havoc on Pennsylvania school districts, forcing them to dramatically reduce or eliminate student programs and causing them to raise property taxes.

Mr. Corbett also recently stated he will not push for passage in 2013 for Pennsylvania to become the twenty-fifth state that now has “right-to-work”, or “no-rights-at-work”, laws on the books. Michigan became the twenty-fourth state in the nation to pass the anti-union legislation in early December.

Mr. Corbett recently said other issues other than right-to-work were more pressing however, Michigan’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder also stated in 2012 he did not believe the legislation was important but signed the legislation into law only an hour after the Republican controlled legislature in Michigan passed it.

Anti-union Pennsylvania House of Representative Daryl Metcalfe (Republican-112th Legislative District) said he plans to introduce a right-to-work measure in the first quarter of 2013. The legislation would ban union security clauses in labor bargaining agreements.

Approximately 20 states have introduced “no-rights-at-work” bills in 2012 but most were bogged down in committees. However, banning of union security clauses in Michigan have given backers, mostly profiteers and their supporters in the legislature, renewed hope that similar legislation could be passed in the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

For several years the National Right-to-Work Committee, a organization funded by multi-national corporations and other anti-union groups, has placed pro-right-to-work propaganda in the Union News wire racks that are placed throughout the region. The newspaper ask that any union member or reader discovering the material to remove it and place it in a proper garbage container.

America’s Uncivil Phone Manners

01.14.13

by WALTER BRASCH

Wednesday, I called the newsrooms of Pennsylvania’s two largest newspapers.

All I got were disembodied voices telling me no one was available and to leave a message.

It was 11 a.m., and I thought someone—anyone!—should have answered their phones. But, with publishers doing their best to “maximize profits” by cutting news coverage and reporters, I figured they either didn’t have anyone capable of answering a phone or figured no one would be calling with any news that day.

So I left a message. It was a routine question, specific for each newspaper and related to verifying information from their papers for a book I was completing.

I left another message the next day. I would have called individual assignment reporters, but unlike the websites of many smaller newspapers, the metros’ websites didn’t have that information. Apparently, they don’t want readers to know who does what at their newspapers.

Nevertheless, no one called back. I wasn’t important enough.

Calls and emails to an agent for an actor, who I was trying to get for a public service announcement for a national organization, a few weeks earlier weren’t returned. Nor were calls and emails to a national talk show host I was trying to secure for a paid speech to a different national non-profit organization.

Nor were several calls and emails to the producers of pretend-folksy “Ellen” ever returned. In that case, I had a “straight-A” student, who was a mass communications major with minors in marketing and dance. She was one of the best students I had ever taught. She wanted to be an intern. You know, the kind who don’t get pay or benefits but get experience. There were jobs available. It took several calls to others who were affiliated with the show just to find out the names of producers or contacts. But no one from the show returned any of my communications, whether by email, letter, or phone calls. Not even to say my advisee wouldn’t be considered.

Celebrities and their companies get thousands of emails and phone calls. To the average citizen that would be overwhelming. But, to corporations, especially those who deal with the public, there should be sufficient funds in an operation that makes millions a year to hire staff to respond to viewer communications.

Most of the smaller media take pride in returning phone calls or responding to letters from readers and viewers. But something must happen when reporters and producers move into the rarified atmosphere of large media.

It’s too bad. Big Media show arrogance to the people, and then spend countless hours wondering why the people don’t trust them.

Unfortunately, the loss of civility isn’t confined to those who are celebrities or part of the Big Media Morass.

A call to a company that installs home generators went to voice mail, and then wasn’t
returned. A call to an individual who advertises that he cleans out gutters and water spouts also wasn’t returned. A call to a university department was answered. The receptionist said the lady “isn’t around.”

“When will she be around?” I asked.

“Don’t know,” came the response.

“Do you think she’ll be available later today?”

“Maybe. You could call back.”

In many cases, the people are left with the belief that others just don’t care. Or, maybe they’re too busy. Or maybe they just forget. Or maybe they’re too busy texting and tweeting to have time to deal with people. Unless, of course, they think we’re at least as important as they are.

Then, they fall all over themselves to talk with us.

Even with these annoyances, most calls are answered; most times, I (and I would hope others) are treated with respect. Most times, receptionists and staff take extra time to try to solve problems.

Nevertheless, more and more we see a loss of civility by people and organizations that may think they’re just too important to deal with the people. For the large corporations and the celebrities that have multi-million dollar budgets, perhaps their PR and marketing efforts should first be focused on dealing with the people rather than splashing us with large-scale media campaigns to convince us that they matter. Failure to do so will leave us believing that they, not us, are the ones who don’t matter.

[Walter Brasch is an award-winning syndicated columnist, author, and former multimedia writer-producer and university professor. His latest book is Before the First Snow: Stories from the Revolution.]

Security Union successful in winning NLRB election

01.04.13

JANUARY 2013, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

Security Union successful in winning NLRB election

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, December 20th- The United Government Security Officers of America Union, Westminister, Colorado, won the right to represent security workers at the United States Courthouse on Hamilton Street in Allentown.

The Poughkoepsie, New York office of the United Government Security Officers of America union filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia requesting the agency conduct a election to determine if security workers at several government offices in Pennsylvania, including in Allentown, on October 23rd. However, on November 2nd the Union amended the petition to only include the federal courthouse workers in Allentown.

Under National Labor Relations Board rules at least 30 percent of the unit of employees must support the election before a labor organization can file a petition requesting the agency conduct the election.

Akal Security Inc. provides security services for government buildings in Pennsylvania including the United States Courthouse in Allentown and other Federal Buildings including Reading, which were the two courthouses the petition first requested workers would participate in a election to determine if they wanted to be represented by the union for the purpose of collective bargaining.

The union requested that all full-time and share-time Court Security Officers, Lead Court Security Officers, Special Security Officers, and Lead Special Security Officers, employed by Akal Security Inc. at those two courthouses participate in the election by the NLRB.

Nine of the eleven eligible to participate employees voted for union representation. A labor organization must receive 50 percent plus one of the eligible voting workers in the election to become their bargaining representative.

The union requested that all office clerical employees, professional employees, confidential employees, and supervisors as defined under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct) be excluded in participating in the representation election.

The petition was filed on behalf of the union by Travis Mastroddi, 42nd Street in New York City. The petition was discovered by the newspaper while reviewing representation petitions and labor complaints filed at the NLRB Region Four Office.

SMWIA Union files additional complaint against contractor

01.04.13

JANUARY 2013, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

SMWIA Union files additional complaint against contractor

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, December 14th- The Sheet Metal Workers International Association (SMWIA) Union Local 19 in Philadelphia, which represents SMWIA members throughout the Lehigh Valley, filed at least two labor complaints with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia alleging a Lehigh Valley construction company violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

The agency conducted a representation election of employees of M.B.I. HVAC Inc., Business Park Lane in Allentown, on November 16th.

There were 8 eligible to vote employees and 3 workers voted for union representation and 3 voted against. Under NLRB rules a labor organization must receive at least 50 percent plus one of the voting employees to become their bargaining representative.

However, Local 19 challenged two of the workers eligibility to participate in the election and have since filed at least two Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges since the election was conducted alleging the Employer violated the NLRAct.

The SMWIA Union Local 19 filed the representation petition on September 14th, 2012 with the NLRB requesting the agency conduct an election to determine if the employees of M.B.I. HVAC, wanted to be represented by the Union for the purpose of collective bargaining.

The union requested that all service employees of the company participate in the election while all sheet metal workers, pipefitters, laborers, supervisors, professionals, secretaries, guards, office personnel and other workers be excluded from participating in the representation election.

Local 19 Area Marketing Representative William Dorward filed the petition on behalf of the union. Mr. Dorward is a resident of the Lehigh Valley.

On November 20th, 2012, Local 19 filed a ULP against the construction contractor alleging the Employer violated Section 7 of the NLRAct by interferring with conditions necessary to conduct a fair election. The company the night beforew the election, without explanation or notice to employees, disabled the use of company issued cellular phones to inhibit communication among bargaining unit employees, the ULP alleges.

On December 7th, 2012, SMWIA Local 19 filed a ULP seeking a NLRB 10j, which would immediately give Local 19 the right to represent the employees for the purpose of collective bargaining.