Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

Right-to-work passage would have been likely in 2015 if not for Tom Wolf election

12.17.14

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

Right-to-work passage would have been likely in 2015 if not for Tom Wolf election

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, December 4th- Pennsylvania House of Representatives Mike Carroll (Democrat-118th Legislative District) believes the only thing standing it the way of Pennsylvania becoming the twenty-fifth state in the nation to be a right-to-work state is incoming Democratic Governor Tom Wolf. Mr. Wolf easily defeated incumbent anti-union Republican Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett in the November election.

“Without him, labor will be in huge trouble,” said Mr. Carroll. He pointed out that Mr. Corbett was generally unsuccessful in getting most of the anti-union legislation through the Pennsylvania General Assembly the past four years because there were enough Democrats and pro-worker Republicans to stop most of it.

However, the Republican party were successful is gaining seats to their majority in November and come January 2015 they will have a ten seat majority in the State Senate.

Mr. Carroll, the Chairman of the Northeast Pennsylvania Democratic delegation, expressed to the newspaper that Mr. Wolf will be the only “fire-wall” the labor community will have over at least the next two years.

But, the labor community will have to work even harder to put the brakes on the anti-union bills that will surely by pushed by the pro-business legislature in Harrisburg the next two years, Mr. Carroll stated.

Labor community political candidates were generally successful in Northeastern Pennsylvania that faced an opponent for the November 4th election. However, one labor endorsed candidate seeking to replace retiring Pennsylvania House of Representative Phyllis Mundy (Democrat-120th Legislative District) was defeated. Eileen Cipriani, easily defeated her Democratic party challenger in the May Primary Election but was defeated by Republican Aaron Kaufer.

With other the losses across the state, the Democratic party will be outnumber in the State House beginning in January by more than 30 votes. Also, several labor supported political candidates running for state senate seats also loss and the Republican party, who have many members that are anti-union, will hold a 30 to 20 majority.

The issue of pushing legislation in Harrisburg to ban union security clauses in labor bargaining agreements was “front and center” during 2013 after billionaire Dick Yuengling Jr., leader of the D.G. Yuengling and Son Inc. brewery, said Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett should push for legislation banning union security clauses in labor contracts.

Mr. Carroll, who now represents citizens’ in Lackawanna and Monroe Counties because of re-districting due to the 2010 census, stated anti-union legislation will be on the Republican menu in 2015 but, Mr. Wolf will be there to at least slow it down or stop it.

Teamsters win FedEx elections, local petition withdrawn

12.17.14

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

Teamsters win FedEx elections, local petition withdrawn

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, December 8th- The International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 229 in Lackawanna County, filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia requesting the agency conduct a election after getting more than 65 percent of the workers at the Pocono FedEx facility to sign union authorization cards, however the union withdrew the petition just days before the agency was scheduled to conduct the representation election.

In the previous edition of the newspaper, it was reported that the IBT in Washington DC, has began to attempt to organize FedEx Ground Freight employees by conducting a national campaign to gain enough signatures of workers to petition the NLRB to conduct representation elections. The workers haul packages throughout the FedEx system. They do not deliver packages to customers homes and businesses.

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

The IBT Local 107 in Philadelphia won the right to represent 47 drivers at FedEx East Philadelphia terminal in Croydon, Pennsylvania after the workers voted 26 for to 18 against being represented by Local 107 on October 14th in a NLRB conducted election.

“I am proud of these guys at the East Philadelphia terminal, who stayed strong and united despite the company spending truckloads of money to hire union-busters,” said William Hamilton, President and Principal Officer of Local 107.

IBT Local 229 and workers of the Pocono facility of FedEx had met over the past several months and each time more workers signed authorization cards that requested 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 a election.

A labor organization must receive 50 percent plus one of the participating eligible to vote employees in a NLRB conducted election to become their bargaining representative.

Charlie Miller, Business Representative of Local 229, told the newspaper the IBT wants a local to get around 70 percent of the FedEx workers to sign cards before they petition the NLRB for a election.

The NLRB was scheduled to conduct Representation Election at the Pocono facility on December 11th to determine if the workers want to be represented by the IBT for the purpose of collective bargaining, however Mr. Miller told the newspaper the Union felt they would not win the election at this time and withdrew the petition which will allow Local 229 to refile it in six months.

Meanwhile, on November 19th, approximately 222 drivers of FedEx at their Charlotte, North Carolina facility voted to become members of IBT Local 71 in a NLRB conducted election.

“Like the drivers in Philadelphia and in South Brunswick, New Jersey, who voted to join the Teamsters, the workers in Charlotte want to be treated fairly and they want to have consistent, fair work rules,” stated IBT Local 71 President Steve Bess.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA’s unemployment rate drops, but remains highest in state

12.17.14

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

MSA’s unemployment rate drops, but remains highest in state

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, December 4th- The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) continues to have the highest unemployment rate among the 14 MSA’s within Pennsylvania but according to the recently released data the rate has decreased by four-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. The MSA has had the highest unemployment rate within Pennsylvania for more than six 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 6.3 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 8.7 percent. The current unemployment rate for the MSA is the lowest since August 2008 when it was also at 6.3 percent.

The main reason the MSA’s unemployment has declined during the past year is because of the decline of the workforce, not because the job market has improved. The MSA’s civilian labor-force was 280,000 twelve months ago but currently the labor-force is at 273,600. Also, one year ago there were 255,800 civilians employed within the MSA while currently there are 256,200 employed within the civilian workforce. The main-stream newspaper, reported that the local economy has improved from twelve months ago because the lowering of the MSA’s unemployment rate.

The unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 5.4 percent, decreasing by three-tenths of a percentage point from the previous month. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted civilian labor force of 6,363,000 with 345,000 not working. Pennsylvania has 6,019,000 civilians with employment. Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate decreased by one and seven-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 5.8 percent, decreasing by one-tenth of a percentage point from the previous report.

The Johnstown MSA has the second highest unemployment rate at 6.1 percent, the Philadelphia MSA has the third highest unemployment rate at 5.8 percent while the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the fourth highest unemployment rate in the state at 5.6 percent.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 4.1 percent. The Lancaster MSA and the Lebanon MSA are tied for the second lowest at 4.3 percent while the Harrisburg MSA has the third lowest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 4.4 percent.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA has the fifth largest labor-force in Pennsylvania with 273,600 civilians, unchanged from the previous report. There are 17,300 civilians without employment, decreasing by 900 from the previous report. The Philadelphia MSA has the largest labor-force in Pennsylvania at 2,976,500 with 173,800 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor-force at 1,239,600 with 61,800 without jobs; and the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor-force at 427,400 with 23,700 not working.

The Williamsport MSA has the smallest labor-force in Pennsylvania with 62,800 civilians and 3,400 of them have no jobs. The Altoona MSA has the second smallest labor-force with 63,900 civilians with 3,100 without employment and the Johnstown MSA is third with a labor-force of 65,300 and 4,000 of them are not working.

Lackawanna County has the lowest unemployment rate within the MSA at 5.7 percent, dropping by four-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report.

Luzerne County has the highest unemployment rate within the MSA at 6.1 percent, dropping by seven-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. Wyoming County’s unemployment rate is 5.9 percent.