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Building Trade unions protest hiring of out-of-the-area (non-union) workers


September 2008, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

Building Trade unions protest hiring of out-of-the-area workers


REGION, August 21st- The unions affiliated with the Building and Construction Trades Council of the Lehigh Valley protested the hiring of out-of-the-area nonunion workers at the Lehigh Valley Mall in Bethlehem Township by holding a labor rally on August 15th.

Approximately seventy-five union members and representives attended the protest to bring public attention to the hiring of construction workers, mostly from the southern states, by some retail stores under construction at the Lehigh Valley Mall.

According to William Newhard, President of the twenty local unions member affiliated labor federation, most of the affiliated unions were represented at the event.

Mr. Newhard said the hiring of the out-of-the-area workers was not the doing of the owners of the Lehigh Valley Mall. If fact, the labor federation and the retail center owners for more than a decade have had a “cooperation agreement” for any renovation work inside the mall. However, a retailer can hire an out-of-the-area general contractor and in turn hire out-of-the-area subcontractors for the project.

Mr. Newhard, who is the Business Manager and Principal Officer of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union Local 375 in Allentown, said his members have not been hired for the retail construction project.

Local 375 represents IBEW members employed within the electrical construction industry throughout the Lehigh Valley except in the Easton and Phillipsburg, New Jersey area. IBEW members employed within the electrical construction industry in that area are represented by Local 102 in Parsippany and has a office in Easton.

Mr. Newhard said hiring workers from outside Pennsylvania does nothing for the local economy because the workers will return to their home region and spend the money they earn in the Lehigh Valley there.

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