Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

Northeastern Pennsylvania CLUW chapter being formed

07.14.14

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

Northeastern Pennsylvania CLUW chapter being formed

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, July 2nd- Melissa Matoushek, a member of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union, has begun to form a Northeastern Pennsylvania chapter of the Coalition of Union Women (CLUW).

CLUW is a organization within the labor movement that is sanctioned by the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington DC. The organization was formed in 1974 and currently has more than 75 chapters throughout the nation and a membership of approxiamtely 20,000 women and men.

CLUW’s primary goal is to be a resource to all union represented women to develop action programs within the framwork of the labor community to deal with women objectives in the workplace.

The basic objective of CLUW is to promote affirmative action in the workplace, increase participation of women in their labor unions, organize the unrepresented, and engage women in the political and legislative process.

The local chapters of CLUW help educate members regarding the resources of support for women and also providing a network for women that are union represented. Also, CLUW local chapters help keep women and their families up-to-date on job related issues.

“While working women have overcome many obstacles with CLUW’s involvement, there is still much work to be done. We can use our collective strength to make a difference right here, right now,” stated Ms. Matoushek.

Ms. Matoushek e-mail address is: nepacluw@gmail.com. She can be reached at (570) 352-8006.

According to Ms. Matoushek, the founding convention of CLUW was held in Chicago, Illinous and the four basic goals of action were: to promote affirmative action in the workplace; to strengthen the role of women in unions; to organize the unorganized women; and to increase the involvement of women in the political and legislative process.

The goals continue to be the cornerstone of CLUW’s activities as members speak out for equal pay, child and elder care benefits, job security, safe workplaces, affordable health care, contraceptive equity, and protection from sexual harassment and violence at work.

Teamsters Union Local 401 members approve labor pacts

07.14.14

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

Teamsters Union Local 401 members approve labor pacts

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, July 2nd- Members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 401, South Washington Street in Wilkes-Barre, recently ratified two new successor agreements with their employers.

According to Scott Kucharski, a Trustee and Business Representative of Local 401, Wise Foods/ARCA Continental in Berwick and the IBT have agreed to a new three-year Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). The membership “overwhelmingly approved” the new pact, Mr. Kucharski stated.

The CBA covers approximately fourty-three drivers and yard jockeys that are represented by Local 401.

The agreement includes increases in pay per-mile for drivers for the snack product manufacturer and hourly increases for the yard jockeys as well as other increases for road drivers in each of the three years of the successor labor agreement.

The United Food and Commerical Workers (UFCW) Union Local 1776 represents the production workers of Wise Foods.

Mr. Kucharski replaced James Murphy as one of the unions’ two Business Representatives on June 1st. Mr. Murphy retired at the end of May. Mr. Kucharski will serve out the remaining period of Mr. Murphy’s term as business representative of Local 401.

Also, the IBT members employed by the Luzerne County Transportation Authority recently approved a new CBA with Luzerne County. The union represents nineteen shared ride bus drivers. The route bus drivers of the system are represented by the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU).

The three-year contract agreement calls for wage increases each year and contains health care improvements and new language for a five percent match retirement plan.

“It was a very positive contract for both parties which was passed almost unanimously,” stated Mr. Kucharski.

Teamsters members fired by SPA can seek hearing, court rules

07.14.14

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

Teamsters members fired by SPA can seek hearing, court rules

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, July 1st- The former employees of the Scranton Parking Authority (SPA) that were represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 229 in Dunmore, have won a major court victory that could eventually lead to their job re-instatement and thousands of dollars in back-pay and benefits.

The six former SPA employees were fired after a private firm began operating the City of Scranton’s five parking garages in 2012, when Scranton defaulted on the bond payment and the facilities were placed under receivership.

Former Lackawanna County Commissioner Mike Washo was appointed receiver over the SPA assets and fired the six maintenance workers of the parking garages.

However, Mr. Washo failed to even return repeated phone messages, e-mails and certified mail sent to him regarding the workers, Mr. Craig Pawlik, Secretary/Treasurer and Principal Officers of Local 229 told the newspaper. “We tried everything. We wanted to sit and discuss the workers with Washo, but he did not return any of our communications,” Mr. Pawlik said.

On June 26th, 2014 the Pennsylvania Appellate Court ruled that Lackawanna County Judge Vito Geroulo erred in 2012 when he ruled the SPA under Mr. Washo denied arbitration for the fired workers regarding their jobs.

The court ruled that Mr. Geroulo was wrong to not grant the arbitration claiming it would harm the receiver without knowning what would first be awarded. Arbitration was not held between the parties because Judge Geroulo ruled it would harm the receiver of the SPA before any hearing was even conducted.

Under the Pennsylvania Appellate Court ruling, the IBT can seek the arbitration hearing under the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) it had with the SPA.

Approximately six workers that were also working under the same CBA that were meter attendants were hired by then Mayor of Scranton, Chris Doherty. Those workers are now employees of Republic Parking, which took over the operation of the parking meters. Mr. Pawlik stated they were able to negotiate a new contract that covered the meter workers only.

As of news copy deadline for this edition of the newspaper, July 3rd, no represertative of the SPA or Mr. Washo have contacted Mr. Pawlik to discuss the latest ruling.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA’s unemployment rate still highest in state at 7.2 percent

07.14.14

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

MSA’s unemployment rate still highest in state at 7.2 percent

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, July 2nd- The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) continues to have the highest unemployment rate among the 14 MSA’s within Pennsylvania, but the rate dropped by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report. The MSA has had the highest unemployment rate within Pennsylvania for five consecutive years.

According to labor data provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, Center for Workforce Information and Analysis in Harrisburg, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA, seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 7.2 percent. The last report was released approximately one month before. The Metropolitan Statistical Area includes Luzerne, Lackawanna and Wyoming Counties of Pennsylvania. Twelve months ago the unemployment rate for the region was 9.1 percent. The unemployment rate is the lowest for the MSA since November 2008, when it was 7.0 percent.

The main reason the MSA’s unemployment is lower is because of the decline of the workforce after long-term out of work civilians lost their unemployment benefits at the end of 2013, therefore the civilian labor force has decreased and the unemployed workers that exhausted their benefits are no longer counted as jobless and taken from employment data. The MSA’s civilian labor-force is 6,900 less than it was twelve months ago.

The unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 5.6 percent, dropping by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted civilian labor force of 6,431,000 with 363,000 not working and 6,069,000 with employment. Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate decreased by one and nine-tenths of a percentage point over the past twelve months, also because of the decrease of the labor-force due to workers having exhausted their unemployment benefits. Meanwhile, the nation unemployment rate was reported to be at 6.3 percent, unchanged from the previous report.

The Johnstown MSA has the second highest unemployment rate at 6.8 percent, the Philadelphia MSA has the third highest unemployment rate at 6.2 percent and the Williamsport MSAis fourth at 5.9 percent.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 4.1 percent. The Lebanon MSA has the second lowest unemployment rate at 4.6 percent while the Lancaster MSA has the third lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 4.7 percent.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA has the fifth largest labor-force in Pennsylvania with 277,000 civilians. There are 19,900 civilians without employment. The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor-force in Pennsylvania at 2,983,400 with 186,300 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor-force at 1,246,600 with 68,300 without jobs; and the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor-force at 428,600 with 26,200 not working. The Harrisburg MSA has the fourth largest labor-force with 288,100 civilians with 14,300 jobless.

The Williamsport MSA has the smallest labor-force in Pennsylvania with 63,400 civilians and 3,800 of them have no jobs. The Altoona MSA has the second smallest labor-force with 64,300 civilians with 3,500 without employment and the Johnstown MSA is third with a labor-force of 65,900 and 4,500 of them are not working.

Lackawanna County has the lowest unemployment rate within the MSA at 6.8 percent, decreasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report and dropping by two full percentage points from one year ago. Lackawanna County has a civilian labor force of 104,400, with 7,100 jobless.

Luzerne County has the highest unemployment rate at 7.4 percent, increasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. Luzerne County has a civilian labor force of 156,500, the largest within the MSA, with 11,600 civilians not employed, the most within the MSA.

The unemployment rate in Wyoming County is 7.1 percent, rising by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report. Wyoming County has a civilian labor-force of 13,900, with 1,000 jobless.