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Building Trades Unions hold rally in Scranton for Dan Onorato

08.26.10

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

Building Trades Unions hold rally in Scranton for Dan Onorato

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, July 30th- Democratic gubernatorial nominee Dan Onorato appeared at the John Mitchell Monument in downtown Scranton before union construction workers and officers to discuss jobs and the Republican nominee Tom Corbett’s remark that unemployed workers would rather collect benefits than go back to work.

Mr. Corbett, currently the Pennsylvania Attorney General, stated in a public radio interview in Elizabethtown that if we keep extending unemployment compensation benefits people are going to just sit there. He suggested that jobless Pennsylvanians would rather continue to collect unemployment benefits than take a job. Adding he has literally had construction companies tell him, “I can’t get people to come back to work.” He stated the employer told him the workers said, “I’ll come back to work when unemployment runs out.”

Mr. Onorato, currently Allegheny County Executive, in May defeated four other Democrats to become their party’s nominee. He and Mr. Corbett wants to replace out-going Pennsylvania Democratic Governor Edward Rendell beginning in January 2011.

Mr. Onorato called on Northeastern Pennsylvania workers and job seekers to rally against Mr. Corbett’s comment.

Mr. Corbett stated on July 12th he didn’t mean to be “insensitive” when he suggested that jobless Pennsylvanians would rather continue to collect unemployment benefits than take a job.

According to the most recent unemployment data from the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry, Center for Workforce Informational and Analysis in Harrisburg, the unemployment rate in Pennsylvania is 9.2 percent.

The information indicates there are 591,000 Pennsylvanians without jobs but the number does not include workers who have exhausted their unemployment benefits or have stopped looking for work.

The Scranton Building and Construction Trades Council labor federation President Drew Simpson contacted affiliated local unions requesting their members participate in the event.

Mr. Simpson, Warden/Representative of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters Union Local 645 in Scranton, told the newspaper while several unions of the building trades supported candidates during the spring campaign, his union did not support any candidate. “Onorato got most of the building trade unions endorsements, but the Carpenters stayed out of it,” said Mr. Simpson.

Mr. Simpson said the Carpenters Union Council, which Local 645 is affiliated, is headquartered in Pittsburgh which is in Allegheny County, and the leadership has worked with Mr. Onorato in the past. “Pittsburgh knows him and has worked with him in the past,” added Mr. Simpson.

The labor community is likely to support and endorse Mr. Onorato during the fall campaign.

The Pennsylvania American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) will meet on August 12th in Harrisburg and will decide which political candidates the labor federation will support. It is likely Mr. Corbett’s comment will damage his chance of receiving the endorsement of the AFL-CIO.

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