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Labor Community getting involve with Counties leadership campaign’s

02.22.11

FEBRUARY 2011 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

Labor Community getting involve with Counties leadership campaign’s

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, February 7th- The labor community is getting ready to be involve in both Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties government leadership political campaigns for 2011.

Incumbent Democratic Lackawanna County Commissioner Corey O’Brien announced his new running mate would be Blakely Borough Mayor Jeanette Acciare-Mariani, and he told the newspaper if the team is elected the labor community will find a “smooth transition” with the new team.

John Gatto, Assistant Business Manager of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) Union District Council 21, told the newspaper his union will likely support Mr. O’Brien, who is seeking a second four-year term in the commissioner office.

“He has been responsive to our union. When we reached out to him I would say he has at least attempted to help us,” said Mr. Gatto.

Incumbent two-term Democratic Commissioner Mike Washo is not seeking a third term. Mr. O’Brien and Mr. Washo ran as a team during the 2007 campaign season.

“I have an outstanding labor record. My core values are with working familes. Labor will continue to have a friend in County government if we are successful in winning,” said Mr. O’Brien.

Mr. O’Brien told the newspaper that he wants a local workforce on local projects instead of workers from New Jersey and elsewhere. “I won’t shy away from union support, unlike many candidates today. I won’t apologize for supporting labor. People always know where I’m at,” added Mr. O’Brien.

In Luzerne County the labor community wants to form their own “political slate” for the 11 member government council. Luzerne County residents voted in 2010 to replace the current three-commissioner setup with a 11 member home-rule-charter council. Each government council member will be paid $8,000 a year and be elected by the voters in November, and begin their terms in January 2012.

Edward Harry, President of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Labor Council labor federation, and a former American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) District Council 87 Union, Business Representative, told the newspaper the labor organization plans to support at least 11 “pro-labor” candidates including several union members. “Getting people on that council that will support labor is vital,” he said.

Patrick Connors, Secretary-Treasurer/Business Representative and Principal Officer of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 401 in Wilkes-Barre, which has several bargaining agreements with Luzerne County, stated there are around 13 labor contracts, union members on government boards, and Project Labor Agreements (PLA’s) that need to be “watched-out for” and it is very important that labor is represented on the new council.

“We (the labor community) are afraid anti-union people will control the council and they will hire a manager that will be bad for labor,” said Mr. Connors.

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