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Labor endorsed Luzerne County council candidates named


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

Labor endorsed Luzerne County council candidates named


REGION, March 27th- The labor community in the Wyoming Valley announced which candidates they will support in the May 17th Primary Election to become members of the Luzerne County Council under the new home-rule charter that was approved by the citizens in 2010.

Edward Harry, President of the Greater Wilkes-Barre Labor Council, and a retired American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union District Council 87 Business Representative, which has several labor agreements with Luzerne County, told the newspaper the labor federation wanted to support at least 11 “pro-labor” candidates for the county council, that will form the new county government beginning in January 2011.

Currently, the government is led by three county commissioners, two from a majority political party and one from a minority party.

The charter establishes 11 part-time county members and will hire a county manager to run county business. Also under the home-rule charter the county will hire a full-time chief solicitor. Other roll-offices will also be elinimated.

“Getting people on that council that will support labor is vital,” Mr. Harry said.

A committee was established by the labor federation to meet with potential candidates and discuss their views regarding collective bargaining rights and whether they would support the labor community if elected.

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 contract agreements with Luzerne County, stated there are approximately 13 labor contracts, union members of government boards, and Project Labor Agreements (PLA’s) with the unions of the building trades, that need to be “watched-out for” and it is very important the working people of Luzerne County vote for the endorsed candidates to assure labor is represented on the new council.

The 11 candidates that the labor federation supports include 10 current or former union members. The candidates are:

Linda Houck, John Nadolny, Theresa Morcavage, Jane Waitkus, Jane Waitkus, Salvatore Licata, John Livingston, Brian Overman, Joe Padavan, Frank Sorokach, Michael Collins, and Michael Chrobak.

According to Mr. Harry the slate is called the “Working Families 4 Better Govenment.” Mr. Harry added a Political Action Committee (PAC) fund has been created to help raise money.

“We will need to raise at least 200,000 dollars to make these candidate viable. There will be anti-union forces out there trying to stop us from getting our candidates elected,” added Mr. Harry.

Mike Kwashnik, Business Manager of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union Local 163 in Wilkes-Barre, stated union members need to support the labor slate and understand it doesn’t have anything to do with any single individual or union, it is about labor as a whole.

“We all need to put our deferences aside and pull together to get our team elected,” said Mr. Kwashnik.

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