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Lackawanna County Public Defenders seek unionization


FEBRUARY 2013, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Lackawanna County Public Defenders seek unionization


REGION, January 30th- Lackawanna County Public Defenders, First Assistants and Assistant Public Defenders are seeking to become members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 229, North Main Avenue in Scranton.

According to Craig Pawlik, Secretary/Treasurer and Principal Officer of Local 229, which represents IBT members throughout Lackawanna County, there are employment issues currently within the Lackawanna County Public Defenders office that has resulted in the employees seeking the protection of a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with Lackawanna County.

Mr. Pawlik told the newspaper the Union filed a Representation Petition with the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (PLRB) in Harrisburg after first requesting the Lackawanna County Commissioners Office recognize Local 229 as the employees bargaining representative. Mr. Pawlik stated Lackawanna County Democratic Majority Commissioners, Corey O’Brien and Jim Wansacz refused. The request was made on January 8th, 2013 and was refused on January 9th, 2013.

Nine of the ten employees of Lackawanna County Public Defenders office signed authorization cards seeking the PLRB conduct an election to determine if they want IBT Local 229 to represent them for the purpose of collective bargaining.

“We really believed they should have just recognized us since we had 9 out of the 10 to sign cards, but they declined,” stated Mr. Pawlik.

According to the PLRB the petition was received on January 28th and has been processed. A election was not yet scheduled at press time.

A labor organization must receive fifty percent plus one of the participating eligible to vote employee to become their bargaining representative.

The Luzerne County Public Defenders office employees are represented by IBT Local 401, South Washington Street in Wilkes-Barre.

According to James Murphy, President and Business Representative of Local 401, the employees of Luzerne County Public Defenders office and the Assistant District Attorneys have been represented by the IBT since 2005.

Mr. Murphy stated the CBA expires in December 2013. The IBT has approximately 25 employees in the bargaining unit.