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Business groups do not like new NLRB conducted election rules beginning this month

04.17.15

APRIL 2015, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Business groups do not like new NLRB conducted election rules beginning this month

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, April 4th- The labor community is applauding President Barack Obama’s veto of a Republican led resolution that would have overturned a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) rule that will help expedite representation elections through the agency.

Mr. Obama vetoed the Republican attempt to overturn the NLRB rule that wil take effect on April 14th. The veto was seen as a victory for the labor community, and the Democrats in the United States Congress. The resolution was passed by both the House of Representatives and the United States Senate in March. The legislation was supported and passed by mainly members of the Republican party .

The new rules, which was created by the five-member NLRB in Washington in December, is entended to streamline NLRB conducted Representation Elections. The labor community has complained for years that the current process favors companies, mainly larger employers, that have used the procedures of the current system to often delay, sometimes for months or years, of having the election conducted by the NLRB, which oversees the election. The tactic often is used to stall NLRB elections, especially when it appears the union would likely win.

Republicans were unable to override President O’Bama’s vteo because there was not enough Senate Republicans in the chamber. There are 54 Republican seats in the Senate and 67 is needed to override a presidential veto.

Some trade groups waisted little time and have already filed lawsuits in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia attempting to block the new rules. The groups are claiming the election rule violates law by not allowing enough time with employees to communicate with them is hoping to change their minds about voting for union representation for the purpose of collective bargaining. As expected, the United States Chamber of Commerence joined the law-suit.

Under NLRB rules, at least 30 percent of a unit of workers must request the agency conduct an election. During the election at least 50 percent plus one of the eligible to participate employees must vote to be represented by a labor organization to become their bargaining representative for the purpose of collective bargaining.

Richard Trumka, President of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington DC stated the changes are very modest to the election rules but will make it easier for workers to vote on forming a labor union in a timely manner.

Employers will be required to post an “NLRB Notice of Election,” which contains information about the representation petition that was filed, and advises the two parties their rights and obligations. A “Statement of Position” form will need to be submitted by the employer to the NLRB within seven days after the receipt of the petition.

The document must include a list of eligible voters, their job classifications, their shift schedules, and work locations. However, the employer can not present any opinion or evidence on the issue of the representation election or request a delay in the vote.

Under the rules, employers can not challenge voter eligibility before the election, often used to delay elections, and must wait for the post-election hearing. Also, pre-election hearings will be limited to ‘Statement of Position’ the employer submitted not questioning the election merit.

The eligible to participate employees list must be filed electronically two days after the election notice was filed and must include employees names, home addresses, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses.

The new rule has also been criticized by the anti-union Associated Building and Contractors (ABC) group, a nonunion contractors trade association. According to the ABC, shortening elections denies employers their rights to free speech and employees the opportunity to make a fully informed decision. However, the organization did not state why having a election several weeks after a petition was filed would be anti-free speech.

IUPAT members protest not being hired for U of S project

04.17.15

APRIL 2015, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

IUPAT members protest not being hired for U of S project

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 31st - As promised, members of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 21 conducted several days of public protest at the site of the new University of Scranton $47 million eight-story rehabiliation building on Jefferson Avenue in downtown Scranton, which included a ten-foot high inflatable rat.

John Gatto, Assistant Business Manager of District Council 21, told the newspaper that a IUPAT signatory contractor was not hired for the painting of the new building which is more than 60 percent finished.

The rehabilitation center under construction is where the former Scranton YWCA building was located.

Members of IUPAT several months ago protested against the hiring of the nonunion painting contractor for the project and gave-out leaflets stating that the school of higher education lied about hiring union painters.

Mr. Gatto stated that University of Scranton officials previously told a reporter of the Scranton Times-Tribune in April 2014 they would hire a signatory contractor of District Council 21. However, Mr. Gatto told the Union News when contacted, that they now claim they never made no such promise.

During the March protest of the IUPAT members, other members of the building and construction trades unions working on the job site would not cross the picket-line, causing the shut-down of the project for several days. The general contractor created two gates into the project, one for unionized workers, and one for nonunion construction workers.

Labor community getting ready for NALC National Food Drive

04.17.15

APRIL 2015, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Labor community getting ready for NALC National Food Drive

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, April 3rd- The labor community throughout the nation and the region is getting ready for the largest food drive held in the United States by members of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) Union.

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.

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 needy throughout the nation. Last years food drive was the tenth consecutive year in which at least 70 million pounds of food was collected.

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

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 Scranton Central Labor Union and the Greater Wilkes-Barre Labor Council labor federation’s, which are affiliated with the AFL-CIO, will again participate in the annual event.

Labor volunteers are needed to sort food items donated by mail costumers that will be picked-up by NALC members in the Wyoming Valley and Lackawanna Valley and brought to area food banks and pantries.

Sandra Moosic, the AFL-CIO Labor Liaison for the United Way of the Wyoming Valley, the go-between the labor community and the agencies affiliated with the community based organization throughout the Wyoming Valley, and a member of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Labor Council labor federation Community Services Committee, stated members of the labor comunity are needed as volunteers for the May 9th day- long event.

Anyone wanting to volunteer their time to help sort and deliver food items to area food banks can contact Ms. Moosic at: (570) 829-6711.

NEA report finds fault with provision of Health Care Act

04.17.15

APRIL 2015, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

NEA report finds fault with provision of Health Care Act

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, April 4th- The National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest labor organization that represents teachers and education support staff and other educational professionals with more than 3 million members, released a report that finds fault with one of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act. The Pennsylvania State Education Association (PSEA) is affiliated with the NEA. The report analyzed a key tax provision, the excise tax on high-cost health plans.

The NEA stated that the report finds that although the excise tax is often referred to as a tax on overgenerous health benefits, it’s likely to be a tax driven by other things, including where health plan members live, employees and workers in high-cost insurance markets.

“We continue to support the Affordable Care Act because it already has strengthened health benefits for kids and families and provided an opportunity for millions of Americans to obtain quality, affordable care. This new report however, highlights a significant and damaging flaw in the excise tax. The excise tax on high-cost plans can randomly and unfairly cause hardship to American workers and their families. In fact, the excise tax will disproportionately hurt women and older workers,” stated Kim Anderson, senior director of the NEA’s Center for Advocacy and Outreach.

The NEA report stated the excise tax wrongly equates high premiums with overly generous health benefits. It is flawed that some plans offering moderate benefits will face a steep tax, while plans with better benefits may not face any tax at all.

Employers are already preparing to shift health care costs to workers by cutting benefits or passing the tax liability to employees even though the law doesn’t hold employees responsible for paying the tax.

“We believe that it’s more accurate to call the excise tax on high-cost plans an ‘Age Sex-Geography Tax,’ added Ms. Anderson.