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AFGE Local 1647 conducts recruiting drive for members

09.22.14

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

AFGE Local 1647 conducts recruiting drive for members

BY PAUL TUCKER

REGION, September 2nd- The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Union Local 1647 in Tobyhanna, which represents employees of the federal government employed at the Tobyhanna Army Depot, Northeastern Pennsylvania largest employer, conducted a “pig roast” recruiting event on August 20th that was conducted in a attempt to enroll more workers to join the AFGE.

Because veterans affairs facilities and other federal agencies are mandated by law to be a open shop, meaning employees don’t belong to a union unless they actively join, workers employed by the government at Tobyhanna must first sign enrollment forms before they become Local 1647 members.

According to Edward Sabecky, a member of Local 1647 Executive Board, and a delegate for his Union to the Scranton Central Labor Union (SCLU) labor federation in Dunmore, AFGE Local 1647 currently represents approximately 1,200 workers of the 3,000 that could be AFGE union members employed at Tobyhanna Army Depot.

In early 2013, Local 1647 had around 2,300 members of the 5,100 Tobyhanna employees. However, some of the those workers were actually employed by contractors that provided indutrial trade and electronics workers.

The International Association of Machinists (IAM) Union Local Lodge 1717, represented many of those workers.

Many of those workers were laid-off in 2013 following the down-sizing of the military involement by the Defense Department in Iraq and Afghanistan. The workers were employed by URS Federal Support Services Inc.

Also, because of sequester in Washington DC in 2013, and earilier in 2011 because of mandated spending cuts under the Budget Control Act of 2011, many jobs within the private sector were lost.

Mr. Sabecky stated his Union held the “Pig Roast” event at the VFW Post 509 in Tobyhanna Twp. and all regional federal elected representatives were invited and only U.S. House of Representative Matt Cartwright (Democrat-17th Legislative District) attended. He said 100 people showed-up for the recruiting drive but only one signed an enrollment card to join Local 1647.

The AFGE National Veterans Affairs Council recently conducted a national recruiting drive and signed-up their 100,000th member. The milestone was reached on August 25th when AFGE Local 2382 in Phoenix signed-up a new member.

Northeastern chapter of CLUW likely to be formed

09.22.14

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

Northeastern chapter of CLUW likely to be formed

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, September 2nd- A regional chapter of the Coalition of Union Women (CLUW) will likely be formed with only several more people being needed to become members to reach the minimum amount necessary to qualify for the establishment of a chapter.

The first meeting of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Chapter was held in August and a meeting was held on September 3rd at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) District Council 87 Union building, O’Neill Highway in Dunmore.

The newspaper have exclusively reported in the last several editions that AFSCME member Melissa Matoushek has began to form a local chapter of 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 framework 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.

According to Ms. Matoushek, approximately 20 female union members from throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania have so-far become members of CLUW and twenty-five are needed before a chapter can be given to the region.

“I’m very hopeful that we can get the necessary amount very soon,” Ms. Matoushek told the newspaper.

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.

Anyone wanting to join the organization or needs more information can contact Ms. Matoushek at (570) 352-8006. Her e-mail address is: nepacluw@gmail.com.

Labor community requesting there members support Tom Wolf for State Governor

09.22.14

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

Labor community requesting there members support Tom Wolf for State Governor

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, September 3rd- The laber community has began to mobilized themselves for the fall political campaign to hopefully defeat anti-union Pennsylvania Republican Governor Tom Corbett and deny him of a second four-year term.

The Pennsylvania American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Harrisburg and affiliated members of the Pennsylvania State Building and Construction Trades Council in Harrisburg along with non-affiliated labor organizations, such as the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) Union, have began to prepare to energize their members leading-up to the general election, November 4th.

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

The labor community, including those that supported other Democratic candidates in Pennsylvania’s primary election in May, have mostly endorsed Democratic nominee York businessman Tom Wolf. Mr. Wolf defeated three other Democrats that were seeking their party’s nomination for Pennsylvania Governor that wanted the chance to deny Mr. Corbett a second four-year term as Pennsylvania’s governor. There has been several labor organizations that have endorsed Mr. Corbett for the fall election.

Frank Sirianni, President of the Pennsylvania State Building and Construction Trades Council in Harrisburg, a statewide federation of construction trade unions’, stated the labor federation unanimously voted to endorse Mr. Wolf.

“Our members, who are employed in virtually every community of Pennsylvania by more than 3,500 construction contractors and subcontractors, have spoken and they have told us with a forceful clarity that Tom Wolf represents a shining voice in the battle to make our Commonwealth’s government responsive to the hopes, needs and aspirations of working people in Pennsylvania.

Tom Wolf is a voice of welcoming reason who knows, first and foremost, that strengthening our communities, assuring a family sustaning wage for working families, focusing on access to health care for all Pennsylvanians, rationally protecting our resources, fairly securing our economy and enhancing the quality of education for our children are the keys to the return of fairness and progress in our society,” Mr. Sirianni said.

Most of Pennsylvania’s largest labor organizations have endorsed Mr. Wolf, including: the Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA); the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union Council 13; the Pennsylvania International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union in Harrisburg; the United Food and Commerical Workers (UFCW) Union Local 1776; and the Metropolitan Regional Council of Carpenters in Philadelphia.

Mr. Wolf has also gained the support of the Pennsylvania American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Harrisburg.

“We will be deploying our activists and volunteers to reach the worksites and households of workers in every region of the state on behalf of our endorsed candidates,” stated Frank Snyder, Secretary/Treasurer of the PA AFL-CIO.

“This election will be won or lost on voter turnout and we are determined to educate and motivate through Election Day. It’s time to stop playing defense and go on offense and that will only happen if we all vote in November,” continued Mr. Snyder.

Painters planning picket if not hired for U of S project

09.22.14

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

Painters planning picket if not hired for U of S project

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, September 2nd- It is getting more likely each day that members of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 21 in Drums, which represents unionized painters and drywall workers employed within the construction industry throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania, will be picketing along side a ten foot high inflatable rat in front of the new building being built by the University of Scranton. As of press-time, September 6th, IUPAT members have not yet been hired for the University of Scranton $47 million eight-story rehabiliation building on Jefferson Avenue in Scranton.

The union picketed the Adlin Building renovation construction that is located across the alley from the new building. The rehabilitation center under construction is where the former Scranton YWCA was located.

The university hired some nonunion workers for renovations that were done on the upper floors of the Adlin Building, which houses several businesses on the ground floor.

Members of IUPAT Local 218, which is affiliated with District Council 21, protested in May because they were not hired for the renovations of the Adlin Building.

John Gatto, Assistant Business Manager of District Council 21, told the newspaper that a IUPAT signatory contractor has not yet been hired for the painting within the rehabiliation center and if they are not hired for the project, the University of Scranton can count on his members picketing the project along-side the inflatable rate.

“There is still time. We would not be inside the building for several more months,” stated Mr. Gatto.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA’s unemployment rate at 6.8 percent, still highest in state

09.22.14

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

MSA’s unemployment rate at 6.8 percent, still highest in state

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, August 30th- The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) continues to have the highest unemployment rate among the 14 MSA’s within Pennsylvania however, the rate declined by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report. The MSA has had the highest unemployment rate within Pennsylvania for more than 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 6.8 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 9.0 percent. The current unemployment rate for the MSA is the lowest since October 2008 when it was 6.7 percent.

The main reason the MSA’s unemployment is lower is because of the decline of the workforce, not because the job market has improved. The MSA’s civilian labor-force is 1,100 less than it was in the previous report and 7,800 lower than twelve months ago. One year ago there were 257,200 civilians employed within the MSA while currently there are 255,900 employed within the civilian workforce.

The unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 5.7 percent, rising by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous month. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted civilian labor force of 6,371,000 with 361,000 not working and 6,011,000 with employment. Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate decreased by one and eight-tenths of a percentage point over the past twelve months, mainly because of the decrease of the labor-force due to workers having exhausted their unemployment benefits.

Meanwhile, the nation’s unemployment rate was reported to be at 6.2 percent, also increasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report.

The Johnstown MSA has the second highest unemployment rate at 6.5 percent, the Philadelphia MSA and the Erie MSA are tied for the third highest unemployment rate at 6.0 percentwhile the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the fourth highest at 5.9 percent.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 4.1 percent. The Lancaster MSA and the Lebanon are tied for the second lowest at 4.6 percent while the Harrisburg MSA has the third lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 4.8 percent.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA has the fifth largest labor-force in Pennsylvania with 274,500 civilians, dropping by 1,100 from the previous report. There are 18,600 civilians without employment, 400 fewer than the previous report. The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor-force in Pennsylvania at 2,977,700 with 178,400 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor-force at 1,173,400 with 65,400 without jobs; and the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor-force at 427,400 with 25,100 not working.

The Williamsport MSA has the smallest labor-force in Pennsylvania with 62,800 civilians and 3,500 of them have no jobs. The Altoona MSA has the second smallest labor-force with 63,900 civilians with 3,200 without employment and the Johnstown MSA is third with a labor-force of 65,700 and 4,300 of them are not working.

Lackawanna County has the lowest unemployment rate within the MSA at 6.8 percent, increasing by five-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report and dropping by one and eight-tenths percentage points from one year ago. Lackawanna County has a civilian labor force of 104,300, with 7,100 jobless.

Luzerne County and Wyoming County have the same unemployment rate at 7.0 percent.

Luzerne County’s unemployment rate rose by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report and dropped by two and two-tenths percentage points from one year ago. Luzerne County has a civilian labor force of 155,900, with 10,900 civilians not employed.

Wyoming County has a labor-force of 13,800 with 1,000 jobless.

General Dynamics scheduled to lay-off workers in Scranton

09.22.14

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

General Dynamics scheduled to lay-off workers in Scranton

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, September 2nd- Lay-offs at the General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems plant on Cedar Avenue in South Scranton is mounting after the company notified their employees and the Department of Labor (DOL) that an additional fifty-five workers are anticipated to be laid-off starting in November.

The International Association of Machinists (IAM) Union Local Lodge 847 represents plant workers at the facility.

The plant mostly produces military projectiles for the United States Department of Defense including the Army and Navy.

However, because of the military decreases in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military has cut-spending on supplies causing a slow-down within the military suppling industry.

According to the IAM, approximately 25 percent of the work within the plant is non-military contract work.

Elbows for the natural gas industry have also been manufactured at the plant. That industry also has cut-back during 2014.

On September 4th, the DOL was notified that the additional fifty-five workers are expected to begin to be laid-off, without a known recall date, starting in November and running through December. The lay-offs will impact workers with a minimum of 12 to 14 years of seniority.

After those lay-offs are complete, approximately 95 Local Lodge 847 represented employees will be working in the plant, down from around 150 only eight-teen months ago. The overall plant employment will be down to 145 counting management from more than 200 more than a year ago.

Joe Cron, a IAM Local Lodge 847 delegate to the Scranton Central Labor Union (SCLU) labor federation, stated the facility produces 5 inch 54 caliber shell bodies for the United States Navy and a 105 millimeter artillery shell.

Mr. Cron stated that the company had received assurances from the Army that a shell body for them is expected to become available in early 2015. However, the work is not guaranteed unless there are funds allocated for the shells.

The IAM collective bargaining agreement with General Dynamics expires at the end of the year.