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Posting comments on articles and signing up as blog users

02.08.13

If you wish to do either, please email Stephen Crockett at demlabor@aol.com.

Because of automated spammers, most comments just get deleted without reading. We get hundreds every day that have zero to do with the articles.

We got the same with User sign-ups. We will create User accounts for those with a real connection to the Labor Movement.

Lackawanna County Public Defenders seek unionization

02.08.13

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

Lackawanna County Public Defenders seek unionization

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 30th- Lackawanna County Public Defenders, First Assistants and Assistant Public Defenders are seeking to become members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 229, North Main Avenue in Scranton.

According to Craig Pawlik, Secretary/Treasurer and Principal Officer of Local 229, which represents IBT members throughout Lackawanna County, there are employment issues currently within the Lackawanna County Public Defenders office that has resulted in the employees seeking the protection of a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with Lackawanna County.

Mr. Pawlik told the newspaper the Union filed a Representation Petition with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) in Harrisburg after first requesting the Lackawanna County Commissioners Office recognize Local 229 as the employees bargaining representative. Mr. Pawlik stated Lackawanna County Democratic Majority Commissioners, Corey O’Brien and Jim Wansacz refused. The request was made on January 8th, 2013 and was refused on January 9th, 2013.

Nine of the ten employees of Lackawanna County Public Defenders office signed authorization cards seeking the PLRB conduct an election to determine if they want IBT Local 229 to represent them for the purpose of collective bargaining.

“We really believed they should have just recognized us since we had 9 out of the 10 to sign cards, but they declined,” stated Mr. Pawlik.

According to the PLRB the petition was received on January 28th and has been processed. A election was not yet scheduled at press time.

A labor organization must receive fifty percent plus one of the participating eligible to vote employee to become their bargaining representative.

The Luzerne County Public Defenders office employees are represented by IBT Local 401, South Washington Street in Wilkes-Barre.

According to James Murphy, President and Business Representative of Local 401, the employees of Luzerne County Public Defenders office and the Assistant District Attorneys have been represented by the IBT since 2005.

Mr. Murphy stated the CBA expires in December 2013. The IBT has approximately 25 employees in the bargaining unit.

Iron Workers Union the latest not to get work at Mohegan Sun

02.08.13

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

Iron Workers Union the latest not to get work at Mohegan Sun

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, February 2nd- The percentage of nonunion construction workers that have been hired for the $50 million construction project at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Plains Township, is getting even larger with the hiring of iron workers from out-of-the-area. Mohegan Sun is building a new hotel and convention center.

The project was devided into two parts, the construction of the hotel and the construction of the convention center.

In December 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.

Kevin McHugh, Business Manager of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers Union Local 489, told the newspaper a nonunion out-of-the-area contractor has been hired for the construction of the reinforcing iron neccessary for the building of the convention center.

Local 489 members were hired during the hotel phase of the construction project. However, Mr. McHugh feared during that project his members would not be hired for the construction of the convention center.

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.

Mr. Rozitski feels that less than 40 percent of the work being done at Mohegan Sun involves tradespeople of the building trade unions.

Anti-union legislation being created for current session of Legislature

02.08.13

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

Anti-union legislation being created for current session of Legislature

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 25th- 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) introduced a right-to-work measure called the “Open Workforce Initiative” Bill. 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 introduced or have been promised by anti-union, pro-business members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly during the 2013 session.

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.

On January 30th, Mr. Corbett unveiled yet another privitization plan of the state owned liquor and wine stores that if passed by the Pennsylvania General Assembly would expand outlets where liquor is sold attempting to drive-up consumption throughout the state.

In his unveiling of the new privitization plan there was no mention why he believed making liquor more easily availible would be a good thing for the citizens of Pennsylvania.

Privitization of the Pennsylvania Wine and Spirits stores would likely replace good paying family sustaining jobs with lower paying jobs.