Worker opposed to union dues withdrawal
It’s not often that U. S. Supreme Court decisions are cited in the chambers of the Lehigh County Commissioners, but county employee Francisco Molina did exactly that June 27 when he addressed the board during the public comment part of the agenda.
Medina, who has work for the county since 2004 and for the Lehigh County Office of Children and Youth since 2006, said he does not want the county to provide his banking information to Service Employees International Union so the union can automatically withdraw union dues from his bank account.
“As soon as you give the union my pay info I or someone will sue you,” warned Molina, addressing commissioners.
In a later interview Molina said he doesn’t consider himself a member of the union where he was once a full member and a shop steward.
“I don’t consider myself a member,” said Molina. He said the union had issued new membership cards requiring members to agree to giving the union banking information allowing the union to deduct money from member’s accounts for union dues. He has refused to sign the new cards.
A call requesting to speak to a SEIU representative was not returned.
It is an issue now because on June 27 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 government workers who decide not to join unions could not be forced to pay for collective bargaining.
In other business, commissioners approved a name change for the county’s nursing home.
Cedarbrook Nursing Home will now be called Cedarbrook Senior Care and Rehabilitation.
In a first reading, commissioners gave preliminary approval for a $5,000 grant to the Pennsylvania Music Preservation Society passed its first hurtle and received a first reading or preliminary vote which will place it on the agenda for the next board meeting.
It was not all sweet music as three board members voted against the proposal.
Commissioner Percy Dougherty voted “No,” but said he would support a $2,000 grant because he felt that approving the $5,000 would be letting the fledging nonprofit “jump ahead” of more established organizations such as Allentown’s Marine Band.
The Pennsylvania Music Preservation Society, according to its Facebook page, is a 501(c) (3) charitable nonprofit organization “devoted to the promotion and preservation of Pennsylvania’s musical heritage and cultural history.”
It is headquartered in Allentown at the home of its “first” CEO and Chairwoman of the Board Siobhan “Sam” Bennett.
According to Bennett, the new organization’s mission includes preservation of Lehigh County’s music, culture and art to include the county’s unique hex signs.
“What’s very important is preserving the beating heart of the Pennsylvania Dutch heartland. We’ve forgotten that. We’ve ceded all of that to Berks County,” said Bennett in an interview.
In other business, commissioners honored the Germansville based Lehigh County Task Force 99 Wildland Firefighting Crew nicknamed the Flametamers.
The organization is led by Chief Randy Metzger and specializes in fighting brush fires.
Task Force 99 consists of the Flametamers Wildland Fire Crew, Germansville Brush 1961, Slatington Brush 2461, Slatedale Brush 2361 and UTV 2392, Whitehall Brush 3961, and New Tripoli Brush 1761.
Members of the Flametamers Wildland Fire Crew are composed of 39 firefighters from many different departments throughout Lehigh County including Germansville, Slatington, Slatedale, Laury’s Station, Whitehall, Schnecksville, New Tripoli and Cetronia.