Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

Testimony to be heard regarding complaint filed by Union

02.27.10

MARCH 2010, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Testimony to be heard regarding complaint filed by Union

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, February 17th- The Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) hearing scheduled for April 28th at the Northampton County Courthouse in Easton to hear testimony regarding the complaint filed by the United Steelworkers Union (USW) Local 2599 against Northampton County is still on despite attempts by the union to reach an agreement.

According to Jerry Green, President of Local 2599, there has been an attempt to settle the Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge without conducting the hearing but no settlement has been obtained.

A contract dispute between Northampton County administrators and Local 2599, which represents workers at Gracedale nursing home, has resulted in the union filing the complaint with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board in Harrisburg. Northampton County owns and operates the nusing home in Upper Nazareth Township.

According to Jerry Green, President of Local 2599, which office is located on East Lehigh Street in Bethlehem, the Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charge was filed because the two parties agreed on a new four-year labor agreement but Northampton County administrators have renege on the contract.

“We spent time and money negotiating the contract, now they want to back out of the deal,” said Mr. Green.

Under the contract negotiated with Northampton County officials the 50 Gracedale employees represented by Local 2599 would receive a wage increase of more than four percent each year of the pact.

The previous contract expired on December 31st, 2008 and the two parties agreed to work under the terms and conditions of the old contract while negotiations continued for a successor pact.

On December 15th, 2009 Mr. Green filed the ULP with the PLRB alleging the County leadership willfully and wantonly knew that they would renege of the new agreement that was thought to be reached in good faith.

The Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board will conduct a hearing and receive testimony on whether the Public Employer Relations Act was violated by Northampton County before Hearing Examiner Thomas Leonard on Wednesday, April 28th, in the third floor training room at the Northampton County Courthouse in Easton.

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