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Annual NALC National Food Drive to be held on May 9th

03.02.15

MARCH 2015, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

Annual NALC National Food Drive to be held on May 9th

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, February 22nd- The annual National Association of Letters Carriers (NALC) Union Food Drive will be held this May.

The NALC represents mail carriers, excluding rural delivery of the United States Postal Service (USPS) throughout the nation.

The 2015 ‘Letters Carriers Stamp out Hunger Food Drive’ will be held on Saturday May 9th in which postal service customers are requested to place non-perishable food items near their mail boxes to be pick-up by the NALC members. The food drive in 2014 was the tenth consecutive year in which at least 70 million pounds of food was collected.

Each year since 1991 the NALC members, with the support of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington DC, conducts the food drive that helps feed the neady throughout the nation.

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

Last year almost 73 million pounds of food was collected in the one day event for people in need throughout the United States.

Regionally, union members affiliated with the Lehigh Valley Labor Council labor federation, which is affiliated with the AFL-CIO, will again participate in the annual event. Branch 274 represents most of the NALC members in the region.

Trucking companies who employees are represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) often volunteer their equipment to haul the collected food to area food banks, pantries and shelters.

The NALC has approximately 200,000 active members. They began the drive in 1991 and while it was not held in 1992 the NALC members have collected food items every year since. Around 1500 NALC Branches participate nationwide.

The United Way of America and Feeding America will again sponsor the food drive with other organizations providing volunteers or financial support for the event. Those organizations provide flyers, bags, and postcards.

While the NALC members collect the food items from their customers, many other union member volunteers sort and deliver the collected food to area shelters and food banks.

The NALC request that postal costumers not put food items with expired dates by their boxes because those will only be discarded.

Government oversite of Teamsters Union to end in five years

03.02.15

MARCH 2015, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

Government oversite of Teamsters Union to end in five years

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, February 23rd- The United States District Court for Southern District of New York Chief Judge Loretta Preska on February 17th approved an agreement reached between the United States of America and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union that will allow the IBT to manage their union without government oversight.

The federal government has overseen the IBT for more than twenty-five years after it was discovered that there were some Teamsters officials allowing unlawful corruption into their labor organization.

The deal between the IBT and the federal government was reached with United States Attorney Preet Bharara’s Manhattan, New York office, it was announced in mid-January.

“The Teamsters Union and the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York filed an application with Chief Judge Loretta Preska requesting that she approve an agreement to end decades of government oversight over the Teamsters Union. We anticipate that she will approve the agreement,” stated James Hoffa, General President of the 1.4 million member IBT. Mr. Hoffa is the son of the legendary IBT General President James R. Hoffa, who disappeared in 1975 and was never found. He served as the IBT General President from 1957 to 1971.

Under the agreement, the United States of America represented by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York in Manhattan, will enter into consideration of its terms and conditions to dismiss its action against the International Brotherhood of Teamsters sounding in the provisions of the Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act Section of 1964 and will thereby extinguish the consent order that was applied against the IBT in 1989.

The agreement calls for the federal government oversight to be phased-out over the next five years and the IBT agreed to appoint independent office holders to probe into corruption allegations. Currently, there is a three-member independent board that includes a federal government appointee that oversees any allegation of corruption. The IBT members pay for the oversight board and all expenses occurred during any investigation or allege corruption through their union dues.

“This is a historic day for our Teamsters. After decades of hard work and millions of dollars spent, we can finally say that corrupt elements have been driven from the Teamsters and that government oversight can come to an end.

When I took office in 1999, I pledged that we would run a clean union, that organized crime would never have a place in the Teamsters Union. I also promised that we would ensure that every rank-and-file Teamster have a direct voice in electing the Union’s International officers. After 15 years, we have accomplished these goals,” added Mr. Hoffa.

The IBT believes by the agreeing to end the RICO complaint against the union, the government is acknowledging that there has been significant success in eliminating corruption from the Teamsters.

The consent decree is replaced with a final order in which the government’s continued involvement in the internal affairs of the IBT will be phased-out during a five-year transition period which will begin immediately and end in 2020.

“Today is a new day for our great union. My administration is first and foremost committed to representing the membership. The members are the heart and soul of our great union,” Mr. Hoffa stated.

Local 773, Hamilton Street in Allentown, represents IBT members throughout the Lehigh Valley. IBT Local 773 was chartered more than 70 years ago. Mr. Dennis Hower is the President and Principal Officer of Local 773.

LEHIGH VALLEY MSA’s unemployment rate decreases to 5.2 percent

03.02.15

MARCH 2015, LEHIGH VALLEY Edition of The Union News

MSA’s unemployment rate decreases to 5.2 percent

BY PAUL LEESON
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, February 20th- According to labor data provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, Center for Workforce Information and Analysis in Harrisburg, the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 5.2 percent, decreasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report which was released approximately four weeks before.

The MSA includes Lehigh, Northampton, and Carbon Counties of Pennsylvania and Warren County, New Jersey. Twelve months ago the unemployment rate for the region was at 7.1 percent.

There are fourteen MSA’s in Pennsylvania and the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the fourth highest unemployment rate.

The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA continues to have the highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania at 5.9 percent. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton MSA has had the highest unemployment rate in Pennsylvania more than four and a half consecutive years. The Johnstown MSA has the second highest unemployment rate at 5.7 percent, and the Philadelphia MSA has the third highest at 5.5 percent. The Erie MSA and the Reading MSA are tied for the fifth highest unemployment within Pennsylvania at 4.9 percent.

The State College MSA has the lowest unemployment rate in the state at 3.8 percent. The State College MSA has traditionally had the lowest unemployment within the state, however, the MSA also has one of the smallest workforces with 76,500 civilians.

The Lancaster MSA and the Lebanon MSA are tied for the second lowest unemployment rate at 3.9 percent, while the Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA has the third lowest at 4.2 percent.

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Pennsylvania was reported to be at 4.8 percent, dropping by three-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report, while decreasing by two full percentage points from twelve months before.

There are 309,000 Pennsylvania residents without jobs, but that number does not include residents that have exhausted their unemployment benefits and stopped looking for work. Pennsylvania has a seasonally adjusted workforce of 6,367,000 and 6,058,000 of them have employment.

The national seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was reported to be 5.6 percent, decreasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report. The national unemployment rate was down one and one-tenth of a percentage point from twelve months before, partly because of workers that have exhausted their unemployment benefits. After workers exhaust their unemployment benefits they are no longer counted within the civilian labor-force.

There are 8,688,000 civilians nationwide without employment, but that number also does not include workers that have exhausted their unemployment benefits and stopped looking for work. However, the data indicates that the number of jobless civilians has dropped by more than 1,000,000 during the past six months.

The Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA has the third largest labor force in Pennsylvania with 426,300 civilians, dropping by 400 from the previous report and decreasing by 1,000 during the past twelve months. There are 22,300 civilians without employment within the Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton MSA, dropping by 500 from the month before and decreasing by 8,200 from one year ago.

The Philadelphia MSA has the largest seasonally adjusted labor force in Pennsylvania at 2,974,900 with 163,400 not working; the Pittsburgh MSA has the second largest labor force at 1,241,700 with 57,500 without jobs. The Harrisburg/Carlisle MSA has the fourth largest labor-force in Pennsylvania while the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre MSA is fifth.

Within the MSA, Carbon County has the highest unemployment rate at 5.9 percent, unchanged from the previous report and dropping by two and one-tenth of a percentage point from twelve months before. Carbon County has a civilian labor force of 31,400, the smallest within the MSA, with 1,800 without employment, decreasing by 700 from twelve months ago.

Lehigh County has the lowest unemployment rate within the MSA at 5.2 percent, decreasing by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report and dropping by two full percentage points from one year before. Lehigh County has a civilian labor force of 182,900, the most within the MSA, with 9,500 without jobs, decreasing by 3,700 during the past twelve months.

Northampton County has a unemployment rate of 5.4 percent, rising by two-tenths of a percentage point from the previous report and dropping by one and six-tenths of a percentage point from twelve months ago. Northampton County has a civilian labor force of 153,100 with 8,300 jobless, rising by 400 from the previous report and decreasing by 2,400 during the past twelve months.