OCTOBER 2013, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News
Allentown Mayor Pawlowski also enters the growing field of candidates for governor
BY PAUL TUCKER
REGION, September 28th- Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski announced he will seek the Democratic nomination for Pennsylvania Governor in 2014. He kicked-off the campaign by conducting a introductory tour, including making a stop in Scranton.
Mr. Pawlowski joins a growing field of candidates that want the Democratic nomination that will attempt to deny current Republican Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett a second four-year term.
Mayor Pawlowski is currently serving the last of a second four-year term as the leader of the third most populated Pennsylvania city. Mr. Pawlowski is almost assured another term as Allentown mayor because he is running unopposed in the November election. He joins at least seven other Democrats that have put there names in for consideration for the Democratic 2014 gubernatorial nomination.
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.
The labor community will most likely split their support for several of the candidates during the primary election season including current Democratic Pennsylvania Treasurer Robert McCord, U. S. House of Representative (13th Legislative District) Allyson Schwartz, Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski and not yet officially entered into the race former Pennsylvania Auditor General Jack Wagner.
Mr. Pawlowski has already contacted many within the labor organizations of building and construction trades seeking support.
Mayor Pawlowski signed a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) with the building trades council that was challenged by the American Building Contractors (ABC) group, a anti-union building contractors organization. The new downtown arena currently under construction is being built under a PLA, which Mr. Pawlowski supported.
Meanwhile, Mr. Pawlowski is not likely to gain the support of at least one the labor organizations that represent Allentown employees.
John Stribula, President of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Union Local 302, which represents the Allentown fire department, told the newspaper Mr. Pawlowski during his tenue as mayor has not been good for union members employed by Allentown.
Mr. Pawlowski failed to be able to bargain for a labor agreement with Local 302 despite the union agreeing to concessions. Mr. Stribula said his union made concession after concession during contract negotiations but Mr. Pawlowski kept wanting more. “Finally, we said enough is a enough.”
Local 302 is currently working under a labor contract decided by an arbitrator that the union is challenging.
Patrick Connors, Secretary-Treasurer/Business Representative and Principal Officer of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 401 in Wilkes-Barre, stated at the September meeting of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Labor Council labor federation in Pittston, in his opinion Mr. McCord is the most likely candidate that can defeat Mr. Corbett. The Pennsylvania Conference of Teamsters is already supporting Mr. McCord.