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Union officials ask board's help in securing jobs in county

Published January 07. 2011 05:00PM

Two union officials appeared at the work session of Schuylkill County Commissioners Wednesday requesting adoption of a project labor agreement in awarding contracts for construction projects.

Dennis Keefer, president of Schuylkill County Building and Construction Trade Council, and Laine Gehres, field representative of Brick Layers and Allied Craft Workers, told the commissioners about 2,500 union members who live in Schuylkill County are unemployed; the remainder of the members work out of the county.

They said a solution is needed about how to keep the labor force working in the county, and asked the help of the commissioners.

The commissioners expressed interest and showed great concern, but cautioned the officials that the county has to award contracts to the low bidder and doesn't know how it can force the contractor to hire only union employees.

The commissioners promised to make a study of the problem and hopefully come up with a solution to reduce the unemployment.

The commissioners received only one bid for disposal of solid waste at the courthouse, prison, human services building, Rest Haven Home and Hospital, adult probation building, senior center in Mahanoy City and the office of solid waste.

The lone bidder was Waste Management, of Lancaster, which bid $155,806.48 for a three-year period.

On behalf of the Real Estate and Engineering Office the commissioners approved a traffic planning and design plan for the county bridge which carries Mill Street over the Little Schuylkill River in Port Carbon.

The county received six proposals and a committee consisting of county engineer Lisa Mahall and Charles Ross and Gail Raring of the planning office, who selected Traffic Planning and Design Company, of Center Valley.

The price proposal is now being submitted to PennDOT for approval.

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