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IBEW Local 81 withdraws union organizing petition

07.15.12

JULY 2012 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton edition of The Union News

IBEW Local 81 withdraws union organizing petition

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, June 30th- The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union Local 81, Wyoming Avenue in Scranton, attempt to organize workers employed by the MasTec Company, East Lackawanna Avenue in Olyphant, has been delayed because the union withdrew the petition.

On April 30th, IBEW Local 81 filed the representation petition requesting the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region Four office in Philadelphia conduct a election to determine if approximately 50 MasTec employees wanted to be represented by the union for the purpose of collective bargaining.

According to the petition, which was reviewed by the newspaper, the IBEW requested all technicians and warehouse employees participate in the NLRB election. The petition estimated that there was approximately 50 workers in the unit, however after a NLRB review, eighty-two workers were eligible to participate in the election.

The newspaper discovered the petition while reviewing labor complaints and petitions filed at the NLRB office. The Union News is the only member of the local media that reviews and publicizes the information.

Before a labor organization can file a petition requesting a election at least 30 percent of the employees must support the union and sign a petition or authorization card requesting the agency conduct the election.

According to the NLRB, a election was first scheduled for June 9th, however, because a federal judge struck down new election standards, that was intended to shorten when workers could vote whether they wanted to be represented by a labor organization for the purpose of collective bargaining, the new election date was moved to June 28th, 2012.

The first election was scheduled under the new standards but after the federal judge ruled that the agency could not approve the regulations, the company, the IBEW, and the NLRB needed to choose a new election date and the old standards were to be used.

The IBEW withdrew the petition days before the NLRB was to conduct the election because it feared workers of MasTec would vote against unionization. Under NLRB rules if the union lost the election it would need to wait for at least twelve months to try again. However, by withdrawing the petition Local 81 could “refile” in six months.

According to Eugene Arcurie Jr., Organizer and Treasurer of Local 81, company management began a anti-union campaign and he feared some of the workers were unsure if they wanted to be union represented.

Mr. Arcurie stated the union now has more time to speak to the workers about the benefits of unionization, counter what company paid consultants told them and see if management follows through on promises made to the workers.

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