Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

Philadelphia APRI Holds Awards Dinner

09.28.13

The Philadelphia chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute (APRI) held its awards banquet on board the Spirit of Philadelphia on Friday, September 20, 2013.

By John Mason

APRI is named after A. Philip Randolph, who was the United States’ leading African-American Trade Unionist. Influenced by the Socialism of Eugene V. Debs, Randolph, with Chandler Owen founded the magazine The Messenger; he also was the leader of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in their twelve-year struggle to organize the Pullman sleeping car company, after which they attained a contract in 1937. Randolph led efforts to combat discrimination based on race within the armaments industry as the United States was entering the Second World War; his threat to stage a march on Washington prompted President Franklin D. Roosevelt to sign Executive order 8002 banning such discrimination. Randolph also led the effort to end racial segregation in the Armed Forces, and in 1963, with the assistance of Bayard Rustin, Randolph organized the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I have a dream speech.”

Awards went to Cheryl Lee, Executive Assistant of Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 332; Charlie W. Benn, Assistant to the Executive Director of Council 13 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME); and John Kane, Business Manager of Plumbers Local 690.

Public school cuts calculator available on Union’s website

09.13.13

SEPTEMBER 2013, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

Public school cuts calculator available on Union’s website

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, August 20th- The Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) Union, the largest school employee union in Pennsylvania, has created an online calculator to show the depth of the state’s school funding crisis.

The calculator, which shows how much state funding for local public schools has dropped since Pennsylvania Republican Governor Tom Corbett took office in 2011, is available at www.psea.org/schoolcuts.

Michael Crossey, President of the PSEA, an affiliate of the National Education Association (NEA), is a special education teacher in the Keystone Oaks School District, and stated school districts have been pushed to the breaking point by the public education cuts by Mr. Corbett.

“Since Governor Corbett took office, schools are getting less state funding and students are being shortchanged.

This calculator shows how much each school district has lost, and how much work must be done to end this crisis,” stated Mr. Crossey.

The PSEA represents more than 183,000 future, active and retired teachers and school employees, and health care workers in Pennsylvania including throughout the Lehigh Valley.

“A year ago, we told policymakers this crisis would get worse. Now, that’s exactly what’s happening. One more year if inaction has hurt even more students in even more schools,” Mr. Crossey added.

Mr. Crossey said when Governor Corbett signed the 2013-14 state budget into law, he claimed he was providing Pennsylvania’s public schools with state funding increases. In reality, those modest increases fall far short of filling the massive funding gap created when Mr. Corbett cut nearly $1 billion to education during the past two budgets.

In June 2011 Mr. Corbett signed into law a state budget that cut $860 million from public schools. This year’s budget included another round of cuts to education that resulted in cuts to essential public school programs for a total of $1 billion.

So far, four school districts; (Chester Upland, Harrisburg, York, and Duquesne City), have been designated by the Commonwealth as in “financial recovery” status, meaning their fiscal crisis is dire. Four additional districts have been placed in “financial watch” status since Mr. Corbett made his budget cuts.

Because of the cuts, schools district throughout Pennsylvania have laid-off teachers and others have not replaced retiring educators resulting in the PSEA losing approximately 7,000 members.

Jack Wagner likely candidate for Pennsylvania governor

09.13.13

SEPTEMBER 2013, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

Jack Wagner likely candidate for Pennsylvania governor

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, August 22nd- Former Democratic Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner recently stated he is considering entering the 2014 Pennsylvania’s governor race. Mr. Wagner resides in Pittsburgh and said he will announce whether he is running in September and if he enters the race he would be the only western Pennsylvanian currently in the field.

Mr. Wagner served two four-year terms as Pennsylvania Auditor General and unsuccessfully attempted to gain the 2010 Democratic gubernatorial nomination. He received the support of the labor community while being a candidate for the auditor general. Former Allegheny County Executive Dan Onorato won the Democratic nomination for Pennsylvania governor in 2010 and Republican candidate Tom Corbett defeated Mr. Onorato in the fall general election.

Meanwhile, the labor community will be active in the 2014 election season hoping to deny Mr. Corbett a second four-year term as Pennsylvania governor. Many believe Tom Corbett is the most anti-union Governor in the state’s history. The labor community has put a high priority on defeating Mr. Corbett in 2014.

Nearly all of his legislative initiatives involve union represented workers being eliminated. The Corbett agenda has hurt all three groups of the labor community, the building and construction trades, the public sector unions, and the industrial trade unions.

Mr. Corbett supports the privitization of Pennsylvania State Liquor Stores, which would put more than 5,000 family sustaining jobs at risk, supports charter schools, supports legislation that would make Pennsylvania a right-to-work state, supports the elimination or making changes to the state prevailing wage law, and awarded a contract to let a British company manage the Pennsylvania Lottery System, a nearly totally unionized system, that would have resulted in those jobs put in harms way. Pennsylvania Attorney Kathleen Kane rejected his plan in February and the system remains operated by the state.

Several statewide political pundits have calculated that at least six Democrats have put their names into the field of candidates vying for the chance to challenge Mr. Corbett.

However, the labor community will most likely split their support for several of those candidates during the primary election season including current Democratic Pennsylvania Treasurer Robert McCord and United States House of Representative (13th Legislative District) Allyson Schwartz and likely candidate Jack Wagner.

Most likely, the division will result in the Pennsylvania American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) not endorsing any candidate while attempting to unite the labor community to defeat Mr. Corbett in the November 2014 election.

Study shows women and minorities on boardrooms lacking

09.13.13

SEPTEMBER 2013, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

Study shows women and minorities on boardrooms lacking

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, August 16th- According to a study released on August 15th women and minorities have made no real gains in the boardrooms of corporate America.

The Alliance for Board Diversity (ABD) reported the study findings. The ABD is a Washington DC based organization. The four groups affiliated with the ABD are: the Executive Leadership Council (ELC), the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibilty (HACR), Catalyst, and the Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc. (LEAP). The Prout Group, Inc., an executive search firm, is a founding partner of the ABD and serves as advisor and facilitator.

According to the report, “Missing Pieces: Women and Minorities on Fortune 500 Boards, 2012 Alliance for Board Diversity Census in the Forune 100″, women and minorities remain vastly underrepresented at the decision-making tables of corporate boardrooms, with white men comprising nearly 70 percent of the 1,214 seats on boardrooms.

The trend is similar in the Fortune 500 with white men accounting for 73.3 percent of the total 5,488 board seats. Overall, there have been only small gains in boardroom representation since the first ABD census of Fortune 100 board directors in 2004.

“We continue to find the research troubling because the ABD believes in the business proposition that when diversity leads, business succeeds. We know that in order to sustain long-term success, companies must continually create new ideas and solutions,” stated ELC President and CEO Ronald Parker.

“This innovation is driven by diversity of thinking at every level of the organization, especially within senior leadership teams and in the boardroom. Women and minorities are an important part of that equation,” continued Mr. Parker.

The study indicates that women and minorities also continue to be underrepresented in leadership roles in corporate boardrooms. Among the five major categories assessed; Board Chair, Lead Director, Audit Committee Chair, Nomination/Governance Committee Chair, and Compensation Committee Chair, women and minority men experienced small increases in leadership positions on boards. Minority women were the only group that did not make any gains in leadership positions.

According to the ABD, the challenge to board diversity is not the supply side. There are more qualified women and minority executives than ever before for board positions at Fortune 500 companies.

In collecting their data for the study, the ABD utilized a Census methodology that counts Fortune 500 board directors to provide an accurate measurement of their representation and progress of women and minorities, allowing comparable statistics year-to-year. The Alliance for Board Diversity analyses companies on the Fortune 500 list, which is published annually.