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Former striking AFSCME members thankful for support

10.11.15

JULY 2015, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Former striking AFSCME members thankful for support

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, July 1st- The union that was recently on strike against Lackawanna County is very grateful to the labor community that supported them during the work-stoppage.

On Friday May 15th members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Union Local 524, who work for Lackawanna County’s Children and Family Services went of strike because of the failure of gaining a successor collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the county government.

The two parties reached an agreement of a new three-year CBA on May 27th and the workers returned to their jobs on Thursday May 28th. AFSCME represents approximately 90 workers employed by Lackawanna County’s Children and Youth agency. There are seven bargaining units of unionized workers under contract with Lackawanna County.

The workers had been working under the terms and conditions of the previous CBA since it expired in December 2014. The new pact will expire in December 2016. The new CBA included a wage increase of 2 percent the first and final year of the agreement but the workers received a 3 percent increase in year two, this year.

The main issue for the workers was wages. Lackawanna County’s final offer included wage increases of 2 percent for 2014; 2 1/2 percent increase for 2015; and an 2 percent increase for 2016. However, the workers believed they were being “disrespected” with the offer and choose to strike for a better economic package.

Local 524 is affiliated with AFSCME District Council 87 in Dunmore, which represents AFSCME members throughout nine counties of Northeastern Pennsylvania.

Mary Rose Moran, President of Local 524, stated she and her fellow union members are extremely grateful for the support the members of the labor community showed them during the strike.

She said, fellow union members from many other labor organizations walked the picket line with them, provided coffee, and used their car horns to show support as they drove by.

The AFSCME members picket daily in front of the Lackawanna County Administration building on Adams Avenue in downtown Scranton. During the strike the three-member County Commissioners did not enter the building through the front and side door entrances. Instead, they entered the building through the back entrance.

Ms. Moran stated the membership has began to resolve any bad feelings toward the few members that cross their own picket line during the strike.