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Corey O’Brien pledges to support labor community if elected

02.15.10

FEBRUARY 2010 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Corey O’Brien pledges to support labor community if elected

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, February 4th- Lackawanna County Majority Democratic Commissioner Corey O’Brien is attempting to gain the support of the labor community which in the past supported incumbent United States House of Representative Paul Kanjorski (11th Legislative District). Mr. O’Brien is challenging Mr. Kanjorski for their party nomination in May. Mr. Kanjorski is serving a 13th term in Washington, DC.

“We are not writing-off organized labor to Mr. O’Brien. Congressman Kanjorski has one of the best labor voting records in Washington. He has supported labor’s agenda, and will continue to do so,” said Ed Mitchell, Mr. Kanjorski’s media consultant.

Justin Carroll, O’Brien for Congress Campaign Manager, told the newspaper several unions have contributed to his campaign that in the past supported Mr. Kanjorski. Mr. Carroll also stated the International Association of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Union Local 329 in Scranton endorsed Mr. O’Brien over Mr. Kanjorski.

Mr. Carroll stated both the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters International Union Local 524 in Scranton and the Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen International Union (BAC) Local 5 in Harrisburg have given funds to Mr. O’Brien’s campaign. “We are cutting into Mr. Kanjorski’s base. If elected Corey will be a strong voice for labor in Washington. Also, he will be accessible to the labor community, something Mr. Kanjorski is not,” said Mr. Carroll.

Mr. Carroll said the labor community will have Mr. O’Brien’s cell phone number and will even be able to call him on the floor of the House of Representatives if they have any questions or any problems.

The newspaper contacted several labor leaders throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania including unions that represent construction workers, government employees and industrial workers but most did not want to be interviewed on the record about the Primary Election on May 11th.

John Gatto, Assistant Business Manager of the Painters and Allied Trades International Union (IUPAT) District Council 21, Drums, stated what several of the labor leaders told the newspaper, Mr. Kanjorski’s labor voting record should not be ignored when union members vote in the May Primary Election. “Corey has been a supporter of us, but you can’t just forget Paul’s labor voting record,” said Mr. Gatto.

Mr. Kanjorski voted to increase the federal minimum wage in January 2007 and voted for passage of the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCAct) legislation in 2008. The Employee Free Choice Act legislation passed in the House of Representatives 241-185 but failed in the United States Senate. The labor community made passage of the legislation a priority in the 2009 legislative session but it stalled in the Senate.

Mr. Mitchell said Corey O’Brien’s pledge to support organized labor in Washington if elected means nothing because Congressman Kanjorski is already one of the most labor progressive votes in the nation’s capitol.

“He has voted to support the working people for more than two decades. He has fought against the conservative anti-union agenda. The labor community has been able to count on his vote,” added Mr. Mitchell.

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