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Teamsters members fired by SPA can seek hearing, court rules

07.14.14

JULY 2014, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Teamsters members fired by SPA can seek hearing, court rules

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, July 1st- The former employees of the Scranton Parking Authority (SPA) that were represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Union Local 229 in Dunmore, have won a major court victory that could eventually lead to their job re-instatement and thousands of dollars in back-pay and benefits.

The six former SPA employees were fired after a private firm began operating the City of Scranton’s five parking garages in 2012, when Scranton defaulted on the bond payment and the facilities were placed under receivership.

Former Lackawanna County Commissioner Mike Washo was appointed receiver over the SPA assets and fired the six maintenance workers of the parking garages.

However, Mr. Washo failed to even return repeated phone messages, e-mails and certified mail sent to him regarding the workers, Mr. Craig Pawlik, Secretary/Treasurer and Principal Officers of Local 229 told the newspaper. “We tried everything. We wanted to sit and discuss the workers with Washo, but he did not return any of our communications,” Mr. Pawlik said.

On June 26th, 2014 the Pennsylvania Appellate Court ruled that Lackawanna County Judge Vito Geroulo erred in 2012 when he ruled the SPA under Mr. Washo denied arbitration for the fired workers regarding their jobs.

The court ruled that Mr. Geroulo was wrong to not grant the arbitration claiming it would harm the receiver without knowning what would first be awarded. Arbitration was not held between the parties because Judge Geroulo ruled it would harm the receiver of the SPA before any hearing was even conducted.

Under the Pennsylvania Appellate Court ruling, the IBT can seek the arbitration hearing under the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) it had with the SPA.

Approximately six workers that were also working under the same CBA that were meter attendants were hired by then Mayor of Scranton, Chris Doherty. Those workers are now employees of Republic Parking, which took over the operation of the parking meters. Mr. Pawlik stated they were able to negotiate a new contract that covered the meter workers only.

As of news copy deadline for this edition of the newspaper, July 3rd, no represertative of the SPA or Mr. Washo have contacted Mr. Pawlik to discuss the latest ruling.