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Union-owned bank provides loan to pay Scranton workers

09.12.12

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

Union-owned bank provides loan to pay Scranton workers

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, August 30th- The nation’s largest Labor Union-owned bank provided financing for the City of Scranton while their leaders work out the details of the financial recovering plan.

The Amalgamated Bank of New York, which has 25 retail branches including in New York, Nevada, New Jersey, California and Washington, DC, provided a $6.25 million short-term loan to Scranton that will allow the city to make payroll, nearly two months after Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty reduced the wages of 400 municipal employees to the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.

On August 23rd a revised recovery plan was agreed upon by Mayor Doherty, Scranton City Council, and the Pennsylvania Economy League (PEL) which is Scranton’s co-ordinator under Act 47, Pennsylvania Municipal Recovery law.

On July 6th, Mr. Doherty slashed wages of the nearly 400 employees to the federal minimum wage citing the lack of funds due to his failure to control spending and cut cost. Mr. Doherty has been the mayor of Scranton for nearly 11 years.

“The City of Scranton has faced years of financial turmoil. After every other financial institution abandoned Scranton, Amalgamated Bank today is stepping forward in a bold way to provide critical assistance that will allow Scranton to have time to finalize the details of our recovery plan and get our long-term fiscal house in order,” stated Janet Evans, Scranton City Council President and a retired union member.

The Amalgamated Bank was established by the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union (ACTWU) in 1923. The union merged with the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU) in the 1990’s and currently it is known as Workers United. The Amalgamated Bank is the largest union-owned bank in the United States providing banking and investment management services to hundreds of unions and their members.

The International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Union Local 60 represents the Scranton Fire Department and seen it’s membership drop by more than 35 percent during Mr. Doherty’s tenure as mayor of Scranton. Mr. Doherty has closed neighborhood firehouses and “rewrote” their labor agreement.

“When hearing that Scranton’s fire fighters, police and other municipal employees had their wages cut to minimum wage, the leaders of Amalgamated contacted us to see what they could do to help,” stated John Judge, President of IAFF Local 60 and a Scranton fire fighter.

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