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United States Postal Service wants to expand into grocery delivery business

10.14.14

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

United States Postal Service wants to expand into grocery delivery business

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, October 3rd- While labor organizations have called for a boycott of Staples office supply stores throughout the nation, wanting to get the retailer out of the postal business, the United States Postal Service (USPS) wants to deliver groceries for Amazon.com and other retailers.

In June the American Postal Workers Union (APWU), and the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington DC, announced a boycott of all Staples Inc. stores throughout the nation.

The APWU is boycotting all Staples office supply stores in the United States, Staples.com and Staples Advantage.

In 2013 the United States Postal Service (USPS) entered into an agreement with Staples to establish a ‘pilot program’ that placed knock-off ‘post offices’ in 82 Staples stores nationwide. The APWU stated the office supplier chain was utilizing nonunion, low-paid Staples employees instead of unionized, and well-trained USPS employees.

The APWU, which represents mail processing employees of the USPS throughout the nation, began a campaign against Staples Inc. stores have conducted protest at the retailers stores throughout the nation and in Pennsylvania because some of the Staples stores of the chain now provides the postal services.

The Pennsylvania American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) in Harrisburg announced on July 21st, which approximately 800,000 union members from throughout Pennsylvania are affiliated through their labor organizations, it endorsed the Staples boycott and requested their affiliated labor organizations stop purchasing office supplies at the retailer. “We are asking our members, friends, family members and colleagues to take their business elsewhere,” stated Richard Bloomingdale, President of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO.

Meanwhile, other labor organizations have joined the boycott requesting their members and affiliated local unions to not patronize Staples.

The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Union joined the boycott of Stamples stating that the USPS is adding more low-wage jobs to the American economy by outsourcing work to low-wage employer Staples and replacing USPS workers with their workers who average only $8.50 an hour.

The USPS Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe suggested that the partnership between the postal service and Staples will not result in job losses at the USPS, but will grow the business, something the APWU is finding hard to believe.

Meanwhile, the USPS is seeking approval for a two-year test run of a plan where the agency could deliver prepackaged groceries in the morning.

The USPS filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission requesting permission to expand their services and suggested the business could bring in as much as $10 million a year in revenue.

Meanwhile, Staples primary competitor, Office Depot Inc., announced it has lost more than $190 million so far this year despite the recent merger with OfficeMax, another competitor.

That announcement only strengthens the APWU question of why the USPS would enter into an agreement with a business model that clearly is in decline, and should it fail it would leave many customers without access to any nearby post offices.

Labor community requesting their members participate in election mobilization

10.13.14

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

Labor community requesting their members participate in election mobilization

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, October 3rd- Activity by the labor community members during this political campaign with the biggest prize being who will be the Governor of Pennsylvania for the next four years, has so-far been lite.

The labor community is attempting to mobilized their members for the November 4th 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 election. The labor community has put a high priority on defeating Mr. Corbett in 2014.

However, with just weeks ahead of the election, the labor community is finding it difficult energizing their members, most likely because independent polls show Pennsylvania gubernatorial Democratic candidate Tom Wolf ahead by a large margin.

The labor community have mostly endorsed Mr.Wolf, an York businessman. 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.

“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.

“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 responsiveto the hopes, needs and aspirations of working people in Pennsylvania,” added Mr. Sirianni.

“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,” continued Mr. Snyder.

However, in Northeastern Pennsylvania union represented volunteers so-far during the fall political season have been hard to come by. The volunteers are being utilized to participate in door-to-door member labor walks, which includes knocking on the doors of fellow union members homes. Also, conducting phone banks, which involves calling union members at home on the phone, and speaking to them about how important it is to get out and vote on November 4th and support Mr. Wolf and the other labor endorsed candidates.

Mr. Wolf has made it clear if elected he would support issues important to the labor community if elected in November.

State Representative candidate Cipriani labor endorsed

10.13.14

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

State Representative candidate Cipriani labor endorsed

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, October 3rd- Pennsylvania State Representative 120th Legislative District Democratic candidate Eileen Cipriani is being supported by the labor community throughout Luzerne County and was endorsed to replace retiring Representative Phyllis Mundy by the Pennsylvania American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) in Harrisburg.

In the Primary Election held on May 20th, Mrs. Cipriani easily defeated her Democratic party challenger to gain her party’s nomination to face-off against Republican Aaron Kaufer.

Mr. Kaufer challenged Ms. Mundy in 2012 and received fourty-four percent of the vote.

Phyllis Mundy announced in early 2014 she would not seek a thirteenth two-year term representing the 120th Legislative District in Harrisburg, which is made-up of part of Luzerne County including Exeter, Jackson and Kingston Townships. Also, the district includes the boroughs of Forty-Fort, Kingston, Pringle, Swoyersville, West Wyoming and Luzerne.

Because of re-districting, the 120th will include the Borough of Edwardsville in 2015.

Mrs. Cipriani worked for more than twenty-four years as a Medical Technologist at Nesbitt Hospital and the Wilkes-Barre General Hospital, but was not part of the bargaining unit at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital.

She told the newspaper if elected she would support the labor community and is thankful for the endorsement of organized labor.

IBT Local 229 files petition seeking NLRB election

10.13.14

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

IBT Local 229 files petition seeking NLRB election

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, October 6th- The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 229 in Dunmore, filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia after getting more than 65 percent of the workers at the Pocono FedEx facility to sign union authorization cards. Local 229 must now wait until the agency conducts a hearing and schedules an election to determine if the workers want to be represented by the union for the purpose of collective bargaining.

In the previous edition of the newspaper, it was reported that the IBT in Washington DC, has began to attempt to organize FedEx ground employees by conducting a national campaign to gain enough signatures of workers to petition the NLRB to conduct a representation election. So-far eleven petitions have been filed nationally.

It was previously report that according to information provided by the IBT there is no time-table to file petitions with the NLRB requesting the agency conduct an election to determine if FedEx Ground employees want to be represented by the union.

FedEx is a competitor of UPS, which employees are represented by the IBT. The Union represents all drivers and warehouse workers. Also, the IBT has a separate CBA with UPS for their drivers of UPS Freight company, which was once called the Overnite Trucking Company. Overnite was once the largest nonunion trucking company in the nation.

The majority of FedEx workers are nonunion. The pilots of the company voted to be represented by the Airline Pilots Association (APA) International Union several years ago.

Local 229 and workers of the Pocono facility of FedEx have met several times over the past several months and each time more workers have signed authorization cards that request the NLRB conduct a election. Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct), at least 30 percent of the workforce unit must sign the cards before they can request an election.

However, most labor organizations wait until a clear majority sign the cards before requesting the NLRB conduct a election. A labor organization must receive 50 percent plus one of the participating eligible to vote employees in the election to become their bargaining representative.

Charlie Miller, Business Representative of Local 229, told the newspaper the IBT in Washington, DC requested that a local wait until at least 70 percent of the workers of FedEx sign authorization cards before they petition the NLRB.