Each year, labor unions of a certain size are required to file annual reports with the United States Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. The most recent report filed by IBEW Local 98, aka the powerful electricians union headed by Johnny Doc, covers 2012, and reports numbers like assets (Local 98 has over $22 million in net assets), salaries and other disbursements to officers and employees (Johnny Doc received $210,035, while at least 15 other officers received over $100,000), and other monies spent. Read more »
So, like my occasional flare-ups of hemorrhoids, I see the Transport Workers of America Local 234 has reared its ugly butt once again. Anyone who lives in Philadelphia for a given length of time will eventually encounter the major inconvenience of a transit strike. These things happen with regular frequency, like the Olympics. It disrupts the city, throws hundreds of thousands of commuters into chaos, and it’s accepted as a fact of life. In fact, TWU234 is the most strikiest union there is in Philadelphia.
Four SEPTA contracts are set to expire between now and April 7th, and the leadership of the Local 234 Transport Workers Union says that a SEPTA strike is looming if negotiations don’t go in its favor. “If negotiations fail,” reads a memo sent by TWU Local 234 to its members on Monday, “the unions representing SEPTA workers may all be on strike at the same time, idling bus, trolley, train and regional rail service for the first time ever.” Read more »
There’s a fascinating story in today’s Inquirer by Jeremy Roebuck, detailing the Pennsylvania law that exempts union members in labor disputes from prosecution for stalking, harassment and terroristic threats. Hot dog! And here I thought fair pay and better working conditions were the only benefits of joining a union.
The exemption dates back to the New Deal 1930s, and Republican State Rep. Ron Miller says Pennsylvania “might be the only state to still have an exception like this.” At a hearing last year, AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer Frank Snyder defended the law — but worried the exemption could be used to shield employers. (No word on what William Green would think it.)
CBS Philly reports: “New Jersey state senate president Steve Sweeney has taken over administration of Philadelphia’s ironworkers’ local, after its president and nine members were indicted for strong-arming non-union contractors. … He takes on the role because he’s the regional vice president for the Ironworkers International, and says his job is to restore the local’s reputation.”
6ABC reports Mayor Nutter has reached a contract with the union that represents City Hall’s white-collar workers.
It was a historic moment. 3,500 union member of District Council 47 had been without a contract since 2009. There had been some contentious and heated issues which centered on furloughs, healthcare and pension reform.
Back in September, the union ousted its president, Cathy Scott and put Fred Wright in charge and everything changed.
“Fred Wright is a man of integrity, he is a man of his word, he is a hard working serious focused individual who I have come to enjoy working with,” said Mayor Michael Nutter.
Union Protests At Trolley Car Diner Because They Are Angry About Something Different Than Trolley Car Diner
Real estate developer and Trolley Car Diner owner Ken Weinstein sent out an email to many, many people (from Pete Hoskins to Terry Gillen) to alert them to a…disagreement he’s having with the IBEW over his construction of a Waldorf School campus on Wayne Avenue in Germantown. Weinstein says the diner has been subject to union protests outside.
The president of Weinstein Properties and Philly Office Retail, Weinstein isn’t a newbie to development; he’s been in the business for 24 years, and currently owns and manages 500,000-plus square feet of commercial space. Additionally, Weinstein has been something of an eatery investor, founding (and selling) the Cresheim Cottage Cafe, and buying up the Trolley Car Diner in Mt. Airy and Trolley Car Cafe in East Falls — the two neighborhoods, along with Germantown, into which he puts most of his energies.
Before we look at the union battle, let’s assess Weinstein’s latest project: the conversion of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church — designed by Frank Furness and George Hewitt — on the 6000 block of Wayne Avenue.
A labor war is brewing in Pennsylvania. Bills are circulating in Harrisburg that would ban the state from deducting union dues from the checks of public employees. Supporters say it would empower workers by making it easier for workers to opt out of unions; the unions and their allies say the bill is intended to undermine labor’s political power in Pennsylvania.
Rick Bloomingdale, president of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, led a rally in Harrisburg Tuesday, bringing out several thousand workers to oppose the bill He spoke to Philly Mag afterward, about the bill, about labor’s strength in the state, and why public and private sector workers should be allies instead of enemies.