Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

IBT/UPS contract still not yet ratified by membership

03.25.14

MARCH 2014, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

IBT/UPS contract still not yet ratified by membership

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 2nd- More than eight months after the national bargaining committee of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union and officials of the United Parcel Services (UPS) Inc., a national package delivery company, reached agreement on a new five-year Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) some members of the union have yet to ratified the successor pact, delaying its implementation.

The IBT represents approximately 249,000 of the 323,000 UPS employees, including full and part-time workers. Around 245,000 of those are covered by the master contract agreement between the company and the union.

In June 2013 the two parties agreed to a new five-year national master CBA that included wage increases as well as health and pension benefits.

However, after the national master agreement was ratified, sixteen regional supplements must then be approved by the rank-and-file membership throughout the nation. The supplement agreements cover mostly the regional healthcare benefit packages between the IBT members and UPS. Therefore, the supplements must be negotiated separately and approved by the rank-and-file before the CBA can take effect.

According to Patrick Connors, Secretary/Treasurer/Business Representative and Principal Officer of IBT Local 401, in Wilkes-Barre, and a member of the IBT/UPS National Negotiating Committee, which negotiated the new pact, there are several regional supplements that have not yet been ratified by the rank-and-file which is causing the delay in the implementation of the terms and conditions of the contract.

A UPS driver told the newspaper, who requested his name not be published, that many of his co-workers are disappointed that the new pact is taking so long to be ratified, but the good news is they will receive a big retro-active back-pay check.

03.25.14

MARCH 2014, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Nonunion Cinram Inc. to cut 20 percent of workforce

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 4th- The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry has been notified that Cinram Group Inc., which operates a facility in Olyphant, Lackawanna County, will cut its workforce by approximately 100 workers. The compact disks (CD) and DVD manufacturing plant was purchased out of bankruptcy by Najafi Inc., a private equity firm which owns the Skymall and Direct Brands. The building itself was not included in the purchase agreement and Cinram has been leasing the facility. However, it has been announced that Cinram’s new owners is going to purchase the building and the surrounding property.

The plant currently employs around 475 permanent employees.

The lay-offs are considered “permanent” and the company will provide a monetary severance package to the employees based on the years of employment.

Ronald Vogel Jr., Regional Representative of the Labor and Industry, Workforce Partnership and Operations Rapid Response Coordination Service, stated many of the workers were laid-off in 2010 and later returned to work and are already familiar with what programs are available through the Rapid Response Program, which meets with laid-off workers and discusses with them how to apply for unemployment benefits and other services for jobless workers.

Mr. Vogel said that the workers are also covered under the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program which provides additional help for workers who lose their jobs because of trade.

The company stated the intention of the reduction of the workforce is to bring it in line with the actual consistent workload of the plant. The hours worked for the remaining employees should be a more sustainable level.

The salary level of the impacted production and warehousing employees varies from around $12.00 an hour to $14.00 an hour for lower seniority less skilled positions to $15.00 an hour to $17.00 an hour for more skilled production workers with process technicians and maintenance technicians earning between $19.00 an hour to $21.00 an hour.

The plant was previously known as WEA. Built in the early 1970’s the facility first manufactured vinyl records. However, the plant changed over to the manufacturing of CD’s in the 1980’s and sold off the vinyl record manufacturing equipment.

The plant workers were never represented by a labor organization.

Tastykake celebrates 100 years, now with unionized workers

03.25.14

MARCH 2014, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Tastykake celebrates 100 years, now with unionized workers

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 2nd- The Philadelphia bakery Tastykake recently marked its 100th year anniversary in business by introducing a new product and giving out free treats. The company is headquartered in the Germantown section of South Philadelphia.

According to a press released the bakery made only 100 cakes on its first day 100 years ago and now produces around 5 million a day including cakes, doughnuts, cookies, and pies. In the past several years the company built a new baking facility at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

The Philadelphia Baking Company merged in 2011 with the Georgia based Flowers Foods Inc. and currently approximately 750 people are employed at the bakery. In 2010 the company employed around 870 workers overall.

The people that deliver products to stores and businesses purchase their trucks from the company and operate as owners buying their routes like franchise owners. However, drivers that drove the trucks over-the-rode were represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 115. Also, the bakery maintenance workers are represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union Local 98, but the company always made their products with nonunion workers.

For many years the bakery workers resisted union organizing attempts believing they were already being treated fairly and in no need of being represented by a labor organization.

However, in the early mid-2000’s the company was struggling financially because of poor management and feared for their jobs when the company was moving into the new plant that aroused concerns about seniority and employment security among the workers.

In 2010 the Tastykake workers voted to be represented for the purpose of collective bargaining by the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers (BCTWGM) International Union Local 492 in Philadelphia.

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia conducted the representation election on August 11th, 2010. The workers voted 149 for representation of Local 492 to 72 against.

During first-time contract negotiations one of the important issues included the placing the union label on company products, which now appears on cupkakes and other bakery goods.

Most food service workers lack access to paid sick days

03.25.14

MARCH 2014, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Most food service workers lack access to paid sick days

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 3rd- According to a new study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), that conducts research to address women needs and families, less than twenty-four percent of employees in food preparation and serving related occupations have access to paid sick days while on their job.

Also, the IWPR findings indicate that less than thirty-one percent of workers in personal care and service providing occupations have access to sick days with pay.

“Workers who have close contact with the public, such as home care aides and restraurant workers, rarely have access to paid sick days. Expanding access to this important benefit is in everyone’s interest,” stated Barbara Gault, Vice President and Executive Director of IWPR.

The analysis found that access to paid days at work is unequally distributed across the population, with substantial differences by race/ethnicity, occupation, earnings, and employment status.

The organization reviewed the National Health Interview Survey, finding that sixty-one percent of private sector employees had access to paid sick days in 2012, up from fifty-seven percent in 2009, however more than forty-one million workers lacked access.

The study found that American hispanic workers are less likely to have paid sick days than black, white, and asian workers. Only forty-seven percent of hispanic workers have paid sick days, compared with sixty-four percent of white workers, sixty-two percent of black workers, and sixty-six percent of asian workers.

Connecticut in 2011 passed a state-wide paid sick days law and currently, Washington, Vermont, Maryland, Oregon, New Jersey, California, and Illinois legislatures are contemplating similar bills.