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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.