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Unions not sure if members will be hire for Casino projects

11.02.12

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

Unions not sure if members will be hire for Casino projects

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, October 22nd- Progress has been slow but affiliated union members of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Building and Construction Trades Council labor federation are beginning to get work at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Plains Township which is building a new hotel and convention center.

The two daily newspapers of Wilkes-Barre recently published articles regarding a letter mailed to members of the building trades unions requesting they return their Mohegan Sun Players Club cards to their labor organization. The unions’ intend to present the cards to Mohegan Sun officials if they failed to hire union workers from the area for the $50 million construction project.

The project was devided into two parts, the construction of the hotel and the construction of the convention center.

Kevin McHugh, Business Manager of the Iron Workers Union Local 489 in Yatesville, told the newspaper he wasn’t optimistic his members would be hire for the building project. However, several weeks later Mr. McHugh informed the newspaper that his members have been hired for some of the work but out-of-the-area nonunion iron workers were also hired. Some members of Local 489 have returned their Player Club cards, Mr. McHugh told the newspaper.

Mike Rozitski, President of the labor federation, told the newspaper he is continuing to meet and communicate with Mohegan Sun officials regarding hiring local union tradespeople for the projects. He stated signatory contractors of at least 5 local unions have been hired so-far for at least one of the projects. There are 14 local unions affiliated with the labor federation.

Mr. Rozitski said in 2005, when the main casino building was built, a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) was used. But, Mohegan Sun would not sign a PLA for these projects. A PLA is a comprehensive agreement signed by a builder and local craft unions under which a defined construction project is agreed to be completed by workers from local union halls, in return for a guarantee of no strikes, a steady labor supply, and labor peace. Under a PLA, a nonunion contractor could still be hired for a project, but if selected, local unionized workers must be hired.

Paul Johnson, Secretary/Treasurer of the labor federation and President of the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators Union Local 38 in Wilkes-Barre, stated he is holding the cards that the members of the building trades have returned. Mr. Rozitski said at least 500 members have turned-in their cards so far.

“We are trying to work this out. They should think it over. If workers are hired from out of the area, do they think those workers will be spending their money in Wilkes-Barre. Our members go there, they should think about that,” stated Mr. Rozitski.

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