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General Dynamics continues to cut jobs at Eynon plant

02.15.13

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

General Dynamics continues to cut jobs at Eynon plant

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 29th- The lay-offs at the General Dynamics Land Systems plant in Eynon have increased during the past month and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, Bureau of Workplace Development Partnership Rapid Response Team held a information session on January 10th. The laid-off workers get help with learning how to receive unemployment benefits and what other programs are available to help them and their families cope with the job-loss.

The workers at the Eynon plant are represented by the United Auto Workers (UAW) Union Local 1193 in Eynon and have more than 100 members currently on lay-off.

The International Association of Machinists (IAM) Union Local 847 represent the other General Dynamics plant in the region located on Cedar Avenue in Scranton. The IAM also has members on lay-off although they did not participate in the Rapid Response Team information session held at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) District Council 87 Union building in Dunmore.

The General Dynamics Land System plant recondition parts for the United States Army M1A1 battle tank while the Scranton plant mostly produces military projectiles.

The reason for the lay-offs is because of the cutbacks in defense spending, a situation that can get worse should a budget deal in Washington, DC fail to be reached in several weeks. If no deal is reached between the United States Congress and President Obama automatic cuts, called “sequestration” will take place making substantial cuts to the defense budget, effecting military contractors such as General Dynamics.

General Dynamics has been the most effected of the big military contractors with the withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Department of Labor Rapid Response Service Coordinator Ronald Vogel moderated the information session and other agencies affiliated with the group participated. The group includes representatives in finance management, career planning, reemployment services, healthcare options, unemployment benefits knowledge and supportive community services.

Ken Klinkel, President of Local 1193, attended the session and stated “sequestration” must be avoided at all cost and people should contact their federal elected officials to express that.

Cascade Tissue files labor complaint against USW Local 1448

02.15.13

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

Cascade Tissue files labor complaint against USW Local 1448

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, January 17th- In previous editions of the newspaper it has been reported that the United Steel Workers (USW) Union filed labor complaints with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia alleging a local employer violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

In news articles published in the Union News it was reported the USW filed at least six ULP’s against Cascade Tissue, 901 Sathers Drive in Pittston over a 10 day period in December, however Cascade Tissue has filed a ULP of their own against USW Local 1448.

The newspaper discovered the Unfair Labor Practice while reviewing complaints and petitions filed at the NLRB.

All complaints were filed on behalf of USW Local 1448, which represents approximately 220 Cascade Tissue employees at the Pittston facility, by Liz Bettinger. Ms. Bettinger is a Staff Representative for the USW. The plant is a paper mill and paper converting manufacturing facility.

The USW alleges the employer has failed to bargain collectively and in good faith with the Union. “More specifically, on or about June 25th, 2012, and at various times thereafter, the above named Employer, by its agents and representatives has unilaterally and without bargaining, changed the disciplinary notification procedure,” states the first ULP that was filed on October 1st, 2012.

The other five ULP’s were filed on October 10th, 2012, also by Ms. Bettinger, and alleges the Employer has violated the NLRAct by repudiating multiple clauses in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the parties.

Also, a complaint alleges a USW member was denied his rights under the NLRAct.

The USW filed two more ULP’s on November 5th, 2012 alleging the company violated the NLRAct.

The union alleges in one of those ULP’s that the company is repudiating the collective bargaining agreement grievance proceedure by not scheduling grievance meetings.

The second ULP alleges the company withdrew and implimented their own set of rules, which was negotiated and agreed to by both parties and would become part of the labor contract.

Cascade Tissue representative Roger Marron on December 26th, 2012 filed a ULP against the Union alleging Local 1448 has failed to bargain in good faith with the Employer since on or about a time of six months of the ULP filing.

SEIU files labor complaints against Keystone Job Corp Center

02.15.13

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

SEIU files labor complaints against Keystone Job Corp Center

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, February 2nd- The Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the Pennsylvania Social Services Union (PSSU) Local 668, Main Street in Dickson City, filed several labor complaints with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia alleging a regional job training organization violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct).

The SEIU filed at least two Unfair Labor Practices (ULP’s) against Management Training Corporation, which does business as Keystone Job Corp Center, which is headquatered in Centerville, Utah.

The newspaper discovered the complaints while reviewing representation petitions and ULP’s filed at the NLRB office. The newspaper is the only member of the local media that reviews and publishes news articles about their findings.

Both complaints were filed on the same day, December 26th, 2012, and filed on behalf of the SEIU by Kimberly Yost, Local 668 Business Agent.

The SEIU represent workers employed by Keystone Job Corp Center. The Union has three separate bargaining units at Keystone, which includes maintenance, dietary, transportation, residential advisor, instructors, counselors, nurses and other professional employees.

According to the ULP’s, the Union and the Employer have been negotiating for a successor labor agreement for the maintenance unit since on or about April 2012, without being able to reach an accord.

Also, on or about June 2012, the parties entered into contract negotiations for a wage reopener for the residential advisor unit and the professional unit, without also reaching an agreement.

The ULP alleges on or about June 29th, 2012 the Union sent a information request to the employer needed to continue meaningful negotiations. On October 10th, 2012, an employer representative sent an e-mail where she refused to provide all of the requested information.

The Union contends the Employer’s refusal to provide requested information constitutes an violation of the NLRAct, limiting the ability to meaningfully negotiate a successor contract agreement and wage reopener, creating a “chilling effect on the members and violates Section 8(a)(1) and (5) of the Act,” states the ULP.

The Employer Representative to be contacted is Martha Amundsen. Ms. Amundsen position with Keystone is not identified on the complaint’s.

Both percentage and number of union members decline

02.15.13

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

Both percentage and number of union members decline

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, February 2nd- According to figures provided by the federal government, union membership in 2012 plummeted to the lowest level of percentage of American workers since World War II and have decreased in total numbers.

The major reason for the drop was largely due to job losses in public-sector jobs and the decline of attempts by the labor community to organize more workers. Both public-sector jobs have declined in 2012 and the number of representation petitions filed by organized labor has dropped from 2011.

The United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the percentage of American workers represented by labor unions fell to 11.3 percent last year, the biggest drop in six years.

Public-sector union membership rate in 2012 decreased to 35.9 percent from 37 percent, a steeper decrease than the private-sector drop to 6.6 percent from 6.9 percent.

The biggest reason public-sector jobs declined was because of cut-backs along all sectors of governments, but mainly state and local governments.

Overall, union membership fell by around 400,000 workers to 14.4 million with more than half the loss 240,000 coming from government workers, including firefighters, teachers, and public administrators.

In 1935 union membership was 13.2 percent and after President Franklin Roosevelt signed into law the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct), which provided labor organizations stronger rules for union organizing, more workers became union represented. In the 1950’s approximately 1 of every 3 workers were in a labor union. By 1983, around 20 percent of American workers were union members.

In recent years the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation have pointed-out that while the percentage of workers have declined the actual number of workers represented by labor organizations remained about the same. Because of the increase of the workforce the percentage would decline but the total number of members would remain about the same or rise.

Michele Kessler, Secretary-Treasurer of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Union Local 1776 in Pittston, said not all of the 2012 news regarding union membership was bad.

The number of union membership is growing among non-white workers that are now just beginning to show meaningful job growth, she said.