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Bob Sheridan wants labor member support in election

04.18.15

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

Bob Sheridan wants labor member support in election

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, April 2nd- Bob Sheridan, Scranton School Board member and former police officer of the Scranton Police Department is requesting members of the labor community vote for him in the May primary election to become the Democratic party nominee for Lackawanna County Clerk of Judicial Records beginning in 2016.

The winner of the primary election will likley be successful gaining the seat because there were no Republicans filing. However, there are six Democratic candidates seeking the position.

Mr. Sheridan attended the March delegate assembly of the Scranton Central Labor Union (SCLU) labor federation held at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union District Council 87 building in Dunmore.

Mr. Sheridan stated that he was always a supporter of the labor community and once was a member of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Union Lodge Number 2, which represents the police officers of the Scranton Police Department. “Many of you know me. You know that I have always supported the labor community. While serving on the Scranton School Board, I many times spoke-up on behalf of the unions,” Mr. Sheridan told those attending the meeting.

In fact in 2013, Mr. Sheridan, while serving as the Vice-President of the Scranton School District, made a public issue of the hiring of non-union construction workers for a senior housing building project in Scranton after the developers requested tax breaks for the project. At the time Mr. Sheridan stated he was “disappointed that local union members were not hired” for the project.

Teamsters looking to organize Mt. Pocono FedEx workers

04.18.15

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

Teamsters looking to organize Mt. Pocono FedEx workers

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, April 1st- Representatives of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union in Washington, DC are scheduled to begin meeting with FedEx workers employed at the company’s facility in Mount Pocono Township in Monroe County, to determine if they would like to become union members.

In previous editions of the newspaper it was exclusively reported that IBT Local 229 in Dunmore was attempting to organize the FedEx workers employed at the Mount Pocono facility. The workers haul packages throughout the FedEx system, not deliver packages.

The IBT in Washington DC, announced in 2014 they plan to attempt to organize FedEx Ground Freight employees.

FedEx is a competitor of UPS, which employees are represented by the IBT. The Union represents all drivers and warehouse workers.

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 has had some success in gaining the right to represent FedEx workers for the purpose of collective bargaining by winning representation elections conducted by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

IBT Local 107 in Philadelphia won the right to represent 47 drivers at FedEx East Philadelphia terminal in Croydon, after workers voted 26 for to 18 against being represented by Local 107 on October 14th. Also, in November, approximately 222 drivers of FedEx at their Charlotte, North Carolina facility voted to become members of IBT Local 71 in a NLRB conducted election.

Last fall Local 229 petitioned with the NLRB requesting the agency conduct an election to determine if the workers wanted to be represented by the IBT after more than 65 percent of the workforce signed union authorization cards. Under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRAct), at least 30 percent of an workforce unit must sign the cards before they can request a election.

However, according to Craig Pawlik, Secretary-Treasurer and Principal Officer of Local 229, which represents IBT members in Lackawanna, Susquehanna, Wayne Counties and part of Monroe County, after conducting a campaign leading-up to the NLRB scheduled election for December 11th, the union withdrew their petition. By withdrawing the petition the union can request the agency conduct a election after six months from the date the petition was withdrawn, meaning early this summer.

More retailers announce they will also raise their wages

04.18.15

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

More retailers announce they will also raise their wages

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 30th- This month the anti-union Wal-Mart Inc. will begin raising the starting wage of their workers. The nation’s largest retailer announced in February it would increase their starting wage to around $10.00 an hour, well above the federal minimum wage but will not raise the top level wages of their current workforce.

Wal-Mart Inc. is known to be extremely anti-union but they will increase the starting wage of workers while the federal minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour.

However, current Wal-Mart workers wages “top-out” around $11.00 an hour no matter how long they are employed by the company. Meaning, while new and recent hires will receive a higher wage than previously, long-time employees wages will not increase and see new workers wages be close to their’s despite only recently being hired.

Also, Wal-Mart makes their employees purchase the clothing they must wear while working in their stores and has faced protest by union activist and their own workers for poor treatment by management .

Target Corporation also announced in mid-March that they would boost their workers pay to no less than $9.00 an hour, beginning this month.

Unlike Wal-Mart’s big announcement and media release, Target Corporation officials mainly announced to their employees of the wage increase.

TJX Inc. also stated they would raise the wages for all of their hourly workers to no less than $9.00 an hour this year and up to $10.00 an hour in 2016. TJX Inc. operates T.J. Maxx stores, Marshalls stores, and HomeGoods stores throughout the United States. The company will begin to raise their workers wages starting in June.

Target, the nation’s second largest retailer, has 347,000 workers and pays all of them within their 1,800 stores more than the federal minimum wage.

Wal-Mart stated the new wage package will cost them approximately $1 billion. The company plans to raise the minimum wage for workers to $9.00 an hour this April and continue to raise the wage until reaching $10.00 an hour by February 2016.

The increase will effect around 500,000 employees which work for Wal-Mart stores and Sam’s Club stores or around 1.4 million employees.

USPS still planning to move processing work to Lehigh Valley

04.18.15

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

USPS still planning to move processing work to Lehigh Valley

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION- April 2nd- According to Kevin Gallagher, President of the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Local 101 In Scranton, his members are preparing for the moving of the processing work currently be done at the United States Postal Service (USPS) facility in Scranton to the Lehigh Valley, but there are still many unanswered questions regarding the action.

The USPS announced in 2012 it would consolidate 48 mail processing centers throughout the nation including their operations in Scranton to the Lehigh Valley. The USPS stated the plan would save the agency nearly $1.2 billion a year.

The USPS stated around 5,000 workers would be affected by the consolidation. However, no lays-off would occur instead jobs would be “re-bid” under the labor agreement’s with the USPS and workers is some cases would need to either relocate or travel to other postal service facilities to continue to be employed by the USPS.

Mr. Gallagher stated the merging of the Scranton mail processing center with the Lehigh Valley has been delayed several times in the past and it could be postponed again, but his members must be ready for the possiblity of the closure.

APWU members will be the most effected by the merger. Mr. Gallagher stated more than half of his 180 members will need to be re-located or be re-assigned to other postal duties, such as becoming mail delivery carriers.

Mr. Gallagher told the newspaper that should the processing work be moved to the Lehigh Valley most effected workers will most likley become letter carriers and they will be represented by another union.

Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with the USPS an effected employee could be placed within 50 miles of their current workplace. APWU members are mail clerks, maintenance workers, and conduct clerical work.

There are approximately 25 mail delivery positions currently unfiled in Scranton that the APWU members could be transferred to, around 21 available in Wilkes-Barre, and 17 in Pittston, Mr. Gallagher stated.

However, there would still be around 30 more people that the USPS would need to find jobs for that would be affected by the processing center consolidation.

Mr. Gallagher added that USPS management officials in Pittsburgh indicated to him that those employees without job placement could end-up just sitting in the “lunch-room” during work hours with nothing to do.