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Governor Corbett continues push to privitize Lottery System

01.03.13

JANUARY 2013, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

Governor Corbett continues push to privitize Lottery System

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, December 19th- Pennsylvania Republican Governor Tom Corbett has made it clear a major prioity of his will be the privatization of the state lottery system in 2013.

The office of the governor recently released a summary of his intension and the terms and conditions of the Private Management Agreement (PMA) recently 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 PMA will be a contract between the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a yet-to-be-determined private industry expect structured to assure funding to support lottery-funded senior citizen programs, the summary states.

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.

However, what Mr. Corbett’s summary does not state is why he finds 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 is Camelot Global Services of Great Britain. The bids expires on December 31st, 2012, and Mr. Corbett is on a “mad dash” to get the privitization through by the deadline. 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.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union represent 170 of the 230 state workers employed by the lottery system.

Currently AFSCME officials are meeting with the Corbett Administration discussing the reason the contract is being considered and proposing alternate methods for the results the PMA would achieve.

If a private manager fails to meet these annual profit commitments, the Commonwealth will draw shortfall payments down from the $150 million cash collateral provided by the manager to secure its performance in order to preserve funding for programs benefitting older Pennsylvanians, the summary states However, no funding projections are yet available.

Mr. Corbett has proposed privitizing the Pennsylvania State Stores and other services during his first two-years as Governor.

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.

Bidders must 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.

Since its inception in 1972, the state lottery system has raised $27.6 billion for Pennsylvania seniors.

AFSCME District Council 88 files complaint against Employer

01.03.13

JANUARY 2013, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

AFSCME District Council 88 files complaint against Employer

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, December 20th- The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union District Council 88 filed a labor complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia alleging a Lehigh County employer violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

The Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge was filed by AFSCME District Council 88 on December 4th and alleges Person Directed Supports Inc., Werleys Corner Road, New Tripoli in Lehigh County, violated the NLRAct by discriminating against two of their employees.

On November 2nd, 2012, the NLRB conducted an election of all support staff of the Employer to determine if they wanted to be represented by AFSCME for the purpose of collective bargaining.

The approximately 63 employees voted to be represented by District Council 88, Plymouth Meeting, which represents AFSCME members throughout the Lehigh Valley.

According to the ULP, after the election, the Employer discriminated against Dawn James, and Michael Jones, bargaining unit employees.

The ULP alleges the Employer changed the shift of Dawn James to one she cannot work and reduced the hours of Michael Jones and investigated him for a text message he sent responding to an anti-union petition during the organizing campaign.

The ULP was filed on behalf of AFSCME District Council 88 by Attorney John Bielski, 24th Street in Philadelphia.

Person Directed Supports Inc. provides support for individuals with disabilities.

The Employer Representative on the ULP to be contacted is Attorney Brian Balonick of Pittsburgh.

Public Letter from UFCW PA Wine and Spirits Council Chair Wendell W. Young, IV

01.02.13

Dear Member

On behalf of the entire membership of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, I would like to extend my congratulations to you as you are sworn for a new session of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.

UFCW Locals 23 and 1776 represent more than 37,000 members in Pennsylvania, 3,500 of them men and women who work for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board in the PA Wine & Spirits shops. The PLCB is a valuable public asset that generates more than $500 million a year in taxes and profits to the Commonwealth. It provides more than 5,000 union and non-union Pennsylvanians with family sustaining jobs, and helps to protect the public health and safety in virtually every community in our Commonwealth.

The PLCB’s future, and by extension the future of 5,000 Pennsylvania families, has been the subject of intense debate in our Capitol, and we anticipate that the debate will continue in the upcoming legislative session.

We welcome the debate. We are proud of our members and are proud to work with an agency that contributes to our Commonwealth. For many years, the UFCW has partnered with the PLCB to operate more efficiently while improving customer convenience and satisfaction. We recognize that we can do more, and we are hopeful that in 2013 you will join with colleagues in both chambers and in both parties to support additional steps to modernize the PLCB.

A wide array of proposals were introduced in the last session that could help the PLCB operate even more efficiently than the modern, world-class retail and wholesale distribution business it has become. These proposals include allowing direct shipment of wine to consumers’ homes, opening more stores on Sundays, increasing Sunday hours, and allowing the agency greater flexibility in personnel, pricing and procurement. One bill alone would have helped the agency generate an additional $70 million annually in revenue for the state.

We are optimistic that in 2013, lawmakers in both chambers and from both sides of the aisle will come together and send a true modernization bill to Gov. Tom Corbett for his signature. We look forward to working with you, your staff and your colleagues in the coming months, and my office will be in touch shortly with you and your staff.

Please feel free to contact John Meyerson, UFCW Local 1776’s Director of Legislation and Political Action, or Kevin Kilroy, UFCW Local 23’s Director of Organizing, should you have any questions regarding modernization efforts. John can be reached at 610-940-1811 or at JMeyerson@ufcw1776.org. Kevin can be reached at KKilroy@ufcw23.com or at 1-800-562-2523.

Again, I offer my congratulations and best wishes for a successful legislative session on behalf of your constituents and all Pennsylvanians.

Wendell W. Young, IV

Chair, UFCW PA Wine & Spirits Council

President, UFCW Local 1776

Public employees pension debt, right-to-work to be huge topic in 2013

01.02.13

JANUARY 2013, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

Public employees pension debt, right-to-work to be huge topic in 2013

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, December 22nd- 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.

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.

Mr. Crossey added that just two years ago 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.

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 the law.

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.

Teamsters Union Local 773 files complaint against Lehigh Valley nursing home

01.02.13

JANUARY 2013, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

Teamsters Union Local 773 files complaint against Lehigh Valley nursing home

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, December 12th- The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union, Hamilton Street in Allentown, which represents IBT members throughout the Lehigh Valley, filed a labor complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia alleging a Lehigh Valley employer violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

The newspaper previously reported the Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge was filed against Lifequest Nursing Center, John Fries Highway in Quakertown, however more information regarding the complaint is contained in this report.

According to the ULP, which was discovered by the newspaper while reviewing representation petitions and ULP’s filed at the NLRB office, Lifequest Nursing Center management was alleged to have violated the NLRAct by discharging several employees for their support of the Union and/or retaliating against them for pro-union and protected concerted activities.

The ULP alleges the Employer, through its officers, representatives and agents, violated the NLRAct when it discharged Sandra Partridge, Kayla Smith, and Melissa Fiqueroa, for thir support of the Union.

Also, the complaint alleges the Employer violated the NLRAct when it discharged Deborah Gallo for her support of the Union by retaliating against her for pro-union and protected concerted activities.

The Employer Representative named to be contacted is Diane Orzechowski, identified as Lifequest Nursing Center’s Administrator.

Lifequest Nursing Center is a nursing home which provides medical services and care according to the ULP.