Chester County Residents Protest Mariner East Pipeline Construction

This pipeline project is slated to take natural gas liquids out of the US to overseas markets.

Before reaching the Marcus Hook shipping port, the line traverses 350 miles of personal and public property, 1,227 stream crossings, 570 wetland crossings, and 11 pond crossings; 337 of these crossings disturb what DEP refers to as “special protection” waters.

In addition, there are 129 exceptional value wetlands being crossed, including Marsh Creek Lake in Marsh Creek State Park, a drinking water source for 1.75 million people.

“I decided to take direct action because I do not consent to our government allowing a serial offender that harms the waters of our local reservoir,” said Christine “PK” Digiulio.

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Inside A Rural School District Suing State For More Equitable Funding

Panther Valley is a poor, rural district with more than 1,600 students from Carbon and Schuylkill Counties. Its elementary, intermediate, and junior/senior high schools serve four Pennsylvania towns: Summit Hill, Coaldale, Lansford, and Nesquehoning.

“It’s in the heart of what we used to refer to as the coal region of Pennsylvania,” said the district’s superintendent, David McAndrew.

As the country moved away from coal mining, residents lost work. Now, jobs are hard to come by.

Fifty-six percent of children in the district are classified as economically disadvantaged, though McAndrew believes the figure is closer to 70%.

“We have very few businesses,” McAndrew said. “The businesses we have, unfortunately, seem to be leaving us.”

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Workers At Warren General Hospital Vote To Strike

Workers at Allegheny Health Network affiliate Warren General Hospital voted Saturday to strike, straining already fragile medical resources in rural northwest Pennsylvania.

The 114 nurses and health care workers, who are members of the Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, issued a 10-day strike notice at the 87-bed hospital — the only acute care facility in the county.

The labor agreement with workers expired in September, and negotiations were scheduled to continue Monday, hospital CEO Rick Allen said.

The hospital has offered pay increases of 4.2% to over 16%, plus enhanced contributions to employees’ 403(b) retirement plan to 7.12%, Mr. Allen said.

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For Want Of A Dental Plan, Erie Strayer Strike Grinds On

Many people who work hard in full time jobs take a dental plan for granted. Many people who work hard in full-time jobs assume they will get more than a 25-cent-per-hour raise each year. But a group of workers at a cement plant in Erie, Pennsylvania have spent two months on strike trying to win those basic things — and their fight is far from over. 

About 40 workers at the Erie Strayer cement factory are members of Ironworkers Local 851. The company is family-owned, and has been unionized since the 1940s. The union contract expired on April 1. The union spent months at the negotiating table, seeking a fairly modest package of gains. The company refused.

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Teachers Strike Against A ‘Heartless’ School Board In Biden’s Hometown

It was a long time coming, but when 400 members of the Scranton Federation of Teachers marched out of the school board meeting Tuesday night singing “Solidarity Forever,” they were strike-ready.

The school board had just given the go-ahead to cut off educators’ health insurance if they went on strike. This after dozens of teachers and para-educators had spoken about the devastating cuts that students and teachers have endured over the last four years—cuts to PreK education, to the arts, to music, to libraries. And after educators had told the school board about the medical conditions—cancer, multiple sclerosis—that would go untreated or result in monumental bills without health insurance.

In the face of the board’s “callous and heartless” decision, as SFT President Rosemary Boland called it, the union’s 900 members did not back down. Yesterday they hit the picket line.

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Scranton: Teachers Will Go On Strike

Scranton, Pa.—The Scranton Federation of Teachers, which represents more than 800 teachers and paraprofessionals, announced today that it will set up picket lines and go on strike at 12:01 a.m., Nov. 3. The union has been working under a contract that expired in 2017.

“We’ve reached the end of the line and our patience with the Scranton School District. The district has refused to address our concerns about the slash-and-burn budget cuts that are significantly affecting the quality of education,” said Scranton Federation of Teachers President Rosemary Boland. “Strikes are always the last resort. We held off for many months, hoping, in vain, we could agree on conditions that are good for kids and provide decency, fairness, respect and trust for our educators.”

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Years Of Local Opposition Defeats PennEast Pipeline

Environmental and public health advocates on Monday celebrated the demise of a proposed fracked gas pipeline across Pennsylvania and New Jersey after PennEast decided to cease development because of difficulties acquiring certain state permits.

“This is a huge victory. Today, water, the environment, and people spoke louder than fossil fuels,” said Jim Waltman, executive director of the New Jersey-based Watershed Institute, in a statement. “We congratulate and thank the many local, state, and federal officials of both parties and thousands of residents for their determined opposition to this unnecessary and destructive proposal.”

Joseph Otis Minott, Clean Air Council executive director and chief counsel, said that “PennEast’s cancellation of this unneeded, dangerous fracked gas pipeline is a momentous win for the communities that have fought hard for years to defend their property and the environment.”

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In Central York, Kids Rose Up To Save Books From Their Parents

The mess in the Central York School District, which includes several suburban townships just north of York, in a county where Donald Trump won 62% of the vote, started after some parents and teachers had hoped to bolster the curriculum around anti-racism in the wake of the George Floyd protest marches in spring 2020. The move backfired when some parents started complaining about the reading list proposed by a committee. “I don’t want my daughter growing up feeling guilty because she’s white,” one parent, Matt Weyant, told a recent school board meeting. Then, panicked school board members imposed “a freeze” on students using the books. To critics, it sure looked like a school book ban — with a chilling effect on teachers hoping to teach lessons against racism.

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McDonald’s Employees Walk Out

Citing unresolved complaints, disparities in wages with other businesses, staffing shortages and issues with building maintenance, the entire staff of the McDonald’s in Bradford who worked the weekend morning shift walked out in protest Sunday morning.

Due to the lack of staff, the franchise was forced to close for several hours until alternative staff from other McDonald’s franchises could arrive.

According to a former employee who said he quit last week after working for the store for more than a decade, and who asked not to be named, “this is not the first incident of employees walking out of the Bradford store due to issues with executive management.”

He said that last summer, during a night shift, the staff left due to an ongoing issue with the air conditioning units in the kitchen not functioning properly.

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Pennsylvania Town Battles To Shut Down Toxic Waste-To-Energy Plant

So-called waste-to-energy plants are the waste management industry’s way of describing toxic incinerators that burn trash and leave extremely toxic ash containing dioxin, mercury, arsenic and more. The Covanta incinerator in Chester, Pennsylvania, is the largest one of its kind in the U.S. Chester is a low-income community near Philadelphia, with a population of 33,000 people, 72 percent of whom are African American.

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A Crisis Of ‘Forced Mass Displacement’ Of Black Pittsburghers

Pennsylvania – Why did 7,000 Black Pittsburgh residents leave the city between 2014 and 2018?

The answer depends on who’s talking.

Community activist Randall Taylor, a former Pittsburgh Public Schools board member and city council candidate, calls it a “crisis of forced mass displacement” of Black residents.

City councilmen Ricky Burgess and R. Daniel Lavelle say the issue is more nuanced and that most of the 7% of the Black population that left during that time period did so by choice.

Taylor and 31 other city residents on Tuesday petitioned Pittsburgh City Council for a public hearing on the issue and to begin a discussion about what to do about it.

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Citing Unfair Labor Practices, 1,300 Steelworkers Strike In Five States

Brackenridge, PA – At 7:00 AM on Tuesday, March 30, 1,300 Steelworkers employed by Allegheny Technologies Incorporated (ATI) walked out in protest at facilities in Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. The strike comes just over a year after United Steelworkers began negotiations with ATI. According to a statement released that day, the union is dissatisfied with company demands for ​“major economic and contract language concessions.”

United Steelworkers further claims that ATI has committed unfair labor practices. A charge filed with the National Labor Relations Board on March 9 alleges that the company is refusing to furnish the union with essential bargaining information.

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Investigation Into Chemical Exposure From Fracking Provokes Call For Rapid Phaseout

“While financial analysts, policymakers, and massive corporations squabble over the finer points of the fracking debate, families living amidst the wells day in and day out live in constant fear about what the industry might cost them—if they had another child, would they need to worry about birth defects? Are these exposures increasing their kids’ cancer risk? Would it be safer to move to a place far away from all of this, even if it would also mean being far from their extended families, friends, and communities? And even if they could move, how far would they have to go to feel safe?”

Those are just some of the questions facing the western Pennsylvania families featured in a report published Monday by Environmental Health News (EHN), a publication of the nonprofit Environmental Health Sciences. Five families from the region participated in a pilot study on the chemicals commonly found in emissions from fracking sites.

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UAW Workers At Johnson Controls On Strike

Dozens of union workers at the Johnson Controls facility in Hopewell Township have been on strike since late September, seeking an increase in pay and flexibility with using vacation time.

On Thursday afternoon, UAW Local 1872 workers gathered at tents along Renaissance Drive, not far from Interstate 83, for a rally. Arthur Westerfer, a test lab operator, shouted messages through a megaphone toward the massive building.

“If you do not give us a contract, you will not retain your operators, let alone your trainees,” he shouted. “… You are going to lose all of your experience.”

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Victory: East Pittsburgh Community Stops Fracking Well

The East Pittsburgh Zoning and Hearing Board announced this evening that it was rejecting a permit appeal from Merrion Oil & Gas, the company seeking to drill a fracking well at the US Steel plant.

The decision (a 3-2 vote) likely marks the final word on a well project that drew intense community opposition, led by groups like North Braddock Residents For Our Future. The well has long been championed by Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman.

“Communities that have been hard hit by fossil fuel pollution in our state have been raising hell to stop projects like this fracking well…

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