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Scranton hires IBT members fired by new parking garages operators

11.02.12

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

Scranton hires IBT members fired by new parking garages operators

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, October 24th- One of the first things Central Parking management did after being hired to operate the facilities formerly run by the Scranton Parking Authority (SPA) was fire the employees, which are represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 229, North Main Avenue in Scranton.

Former Lackawanna County Democratic Commissioner Mike Washo, who while serving as Commissioner claimed to support the labor community, was appointed in August by a Lackawanna County Court judge as receiver to oversee the operations of the five parking garages and financial obligations of the Scranton Parking Authority. The court action was sought by the trustee who represented the people who held bonds for the construction and renovation of the Authority’s parking garages.

The holder of the bonds, Well Fargo Bank, sued to have a receiver appointed after the Scranton Parking Authority defaulted on a $1 million bond payment.

The SPA failed to be able to pay the bonds because of mis-management and Scranton would not back the bonds, causing the organization to not make payments on the bonds.

Mr. Washo announced just days after taking control of the Scranton Parking Authority assets, Central Parking would be hired to operate the parking garages. The company then fired the 12 members of Local 229 that were employed by the SPA and advertised for their jobs.

Craig Pawlik, Secretary-Treasurer and Principal Officer of Local 229, told the newspaper Central Parking is the largest parking garage operator in the United States and is anti-union. The IBT represent workers at Central Parking operated garages in Boston, Detroit and Philadelphia and they have had labor-management problems with the company.

Mr. Pawlik said his union contract with the Scranton Parking Authority does not expire until November 5th, 2012. The previous labor agreement expired on July 5th, 2012, however the two sides agreed to extend the pact until November 5th, 2012.

The union filed grievances over the termination of the IBT members, which includes maintenance employees, meter people, and a secretary.

At first Mr. Pawlik believed the union would file charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) over the termination of his members but he later said Local 229’s legal counsel advised pursuing the lay-offs through the labor contract before an arbitrator.

“I’m disappointed with Mike Washo. We supported him when he ran for Lackawanna County Commissioner and now he won’t even return my phone calls,” stated Mr. Pawlik. The newspaper did not speak to Mr. Washo regarding this story because he failed to return phone messages.

The meter people have since been hired by the City of Scranton and are working under the terms and conditions of the IBT contract with the Scranton Parking Authority, Mr. Pawlik stated.

Scranton Mayor Chris Doherty did return our phone message and stated he met with Mr. Pawlik and told him he would negotiate with Local 229 for a contract between the city and the IBT for the meter personnel.

Scranton hired the six people that collect money from the parking meters. Mr. Doherty explained the city receives 10 percent of all the money collected through the meters and the municipality can not afford to lose that income.

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