Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

Nearly 73 million pounds collected by NALC Union members

07.15.14

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

Nearly 73 million pounds collected by NALC Union members

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, June 29th- This years annual food drive by the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Union, which represents the letter carriers of the United States Postal Service (USPS) excluding rural delivery throughout the nation, collected almost 73 million pounds of food on May 10th. The food collected was used to restock food banks, pantries and shelters around the country including in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Last year, the NALC food drive, which is the world’s largest one-day food drive and is held on the second Saturday each year since 1992, collected 74.5 million pounds of nonperishable food items.

This year marked the eleventh consecutive year at least 70 million pounds were collected.

The NALC effort is supported by the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington DC, which the NALC is affiliated.

The food drive is held in over 10,000 cities and towns in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands and Guam.

“This demonstrates the value of the unique postal network, which goes to 151 million addresses six days a week. It also shows the strong connection between letter carriers and the communities they serve, a bond that serves the nation well,” stated Fredric Rolando, International President of the NALC.

According to Thomas Gavin, President of Branch 17, which represents NALC members throughout Lackawanna County, his members are proud to participate in the event.

“Letter carriers see first-hand the needs in the communities where we work, and we’re honored to be able to help people in need,” Mr. Rolando added.

Again USPS changes consolidation plan of processing centers

07.15.14

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

Again USPS changes consolidation plan of processing centers

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, July 3rd- The United States Postal Service (USPS) yet again announced it had changed its mind and will move the processing of mail from the Scranton facility to the Lehigh Valley in January 2015.

The USPS announced in 2012 it would consolidate 48 mail processing centers throughout the nation including their operations in Scranton to the Lehigh Valley. The plan would save the agency nearly $1.2 billion a year.

The USPS first announced it would close about 250 processing centers after their plan is fully implemented. Overall, approximately 5,000 workers would be affected by the consolidation. The plan was to consolidate 92 mail processing centers in February 2013 and 89 more in 2014. However, in November 2013 the agency suspended closing any more mail processing centers that were previously slated for closure or merging across the nation, including the Scranton facility. The reason for the cutbacks is because of declining mail volume.

The American Postal Workers Union (APWU) represents the majority of the workers that have been and will be affected by the closure/merger. The union represents the USPS workers that process the mail.

The Scranton APWU workers are represented by Local 101. The President of Local 101 is Kevin Gallagher. Approximately 175 full-time jobs at the Scranton facility will be moved to the Lehigh Valley. Meaning, the workers will need to relocate or travel to Bethlehem to continue to work for the USPS.

After the USPS announced it had suspended the closure/merging of processing centers it was believed by Local 101 members their jobs at the Scranton facility was safe for at least two years. However, the USPS recent announcement came only less than eight months after the agency stated it was suspending the moving of the Scranton operations to the Lehigh Valley. Local 268 represents the APWU members in the Lehigh Valley.

Out-going mail is already being processed in the Lehigh Valley and then brought back to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre region for delivery to mail customers.

With the USPS announcement all mail, out-going and in-coming, will be rerouted from Northeastern Pennsylvania to the Lehigh Valley. Should a customer of the USPS mail a letter in Wilkes-Barre to be delivered in Scranton, it must be sent to the Lehigh Valley for processing before being rerouted back to the region for delivery.

Carpenters Union protesting CVS Pharmacy sites

07.15.14

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

Carpenters Union protesting CVS Pharmacy sites

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, July 3rd- Members of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters Union Local 645, Pear Street in South Scranton, have protested in front of the CVS Caremark Pharmacy’s on Abington Road in Clarks-Summit and the Green Ridge Street in Scranton because of the failure of the company to hire workers that earn a living wage for the area.

Drew Simpson, Warden/Representative of Local 645, which is affiliated with the Keystone Mountain Lakes Regional Council of Carpenters in Pittsburgh, told the newspaper the main objective of the union is to have a signatory contractor of Local 645 be hired for the renovation and construction of CVS Pharmacy stores in the region.

The union members are “hand-billing” customers of the stores which state why they are there.

Mr. Simpson stated that the company is lowering the area labor standards by hiring construction workers that are paid so poorly.

“Shame on CVS Caremark Corporation for contributing to the erosion of area standards for carpenter craft workers. KNL Construction will be performing work on the CVS Pharmacy project located at Winola Road and South State Street in Clarks Summit. KNL Construction does not meet area labor standards for all their carpenter craft workers, including fully paying for family health benefits and pension,” states the Carpenters Union flier. The hand-bill includes a drawn image of a rat eating a American flag. A new Clarks-Summit store is under construction.

“We must do something to boost the economy. Paying workers below the area labor standards will do very little to improve the local economy,” said Mr. Simpson.

Mr. Simpson added that the union plans to continue the demonstrations off-and-on or until the company signs an agreement with a Local 645 signatory contractor.

The protest includes a large banner that indicates there is a labor dispute with CVS and states the corporation should be “ashamed.”

“A rat is a contractor that does not pay all of its employee’s area standards wages, including either providing or making payments for health care and pension benefits,” the flier states.

Unions begin endorsing Tom Wolf for governor while several support Mr. Corbett

07.15.14

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

Unions begin endorsing Tom Wolf for governor while several support Mr. Corbett

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, June 19th- Labor community members, including those that supported other Democratic candidates seeking the chance to face incumbent Republican Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett in November, have begun endorsing businessman Tom Wolf.

Mr. Wolf defeated three other Democrats that were seeking their party’s nomination for Pennsylvania Governor in the May primary election. Mr. Wolf will likely gain most of the support of organized labor and has already gained the support of the Pennsylvania American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Harrisburg for the November election, along with several labor labor unions..

The labor community has put a high priority on defeating Mr. Corbett in 2014.

Mr. Wolf is receiving the endorsements of the labor community despite that most of the unions that did endorse a candidate for the primary election supported Pennsylvania Treasurer Rob McCord. Many within the labor community did not make a endorsement of any candidate.

The Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA) District Council of Western Pennsylvania and the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 154 have endorsed Mr. Corbett despite being considered to be one of or the most anti-union governor in Pennsylvania’s history.

The two largest public sector labor organizations that endorsed Mr. McCord for the spring election have since announced they will support Mr. Wolf for the November election.

The Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union Council 13 voted to endorse Mr. Wolf only days after the primary election.

Mr. Wolf has made it clear if elected he would support issues important to the labor community including: improving oversight of charter and cyber charter schools; protect the right of workers to unionize and collectively bargain; veto any legislation that restricts the rights of workers, including repealing the agency fee, doing away with union dues deduction, eliminating the right of school employees to strike, and any change to the prevailing wage law.