600 N. 2nd Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101-1092
Circa 900,000 members
A biennial convention passes resolutions that set policy. Between conventions, the executive officers and 60 Vice Presidents govern the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO. Vice Presidents are elected to two-year terms by their respective union caucuses at the biennial convention. The President and Secretary-Treasurer of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO are elected to four-year terms at the Pittsburgh conventions.
The PA AFL-CIO also has Six Area Labor Federations (see Appendix) and 34 regional central labor councils (see Appendix).
Richard W. Bloomingdale, President, AFSCME
Richard (Rick) Bloomingdale became the fourth President of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO on June 1, 2010 following his unanimous election by delegates at the 39th Pennsylvania AFL-CIO Convention.
Prior to his election as President, Rick served as the Secretary-Treasurer of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO, a role he held since June 1, 1994. He began his career in the labor movement with AFSCME in 1977. From Project Staff Representative of Local 449, he eventually worked his way to AFSCME International to State Political/Legislative Director for AFSCME Council 13.
In 1992, Rick worked, on loan from AFSCME in Little Rock, Arkansas as Labor Liaison for the Clinton for President Campaign.
As Secretary-Treasurer, Rick served on various Boards. In December of 2003, Rick was appointed by Governor Rendell and confirmed by the Pennsylvania Senate to serve on the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review. In August of 2005, Rick was appointed Chairman of the Unemployment Compensation Board of Review by the Governor, a position he held until 2012. He also serves as a member of the PA Unemployment Compensation Advisory Council.
Rick is a member of the Board of Directors of Drug-Free Pennsylvania, Inc. and Treasurer of the Keystone Research Center.
Frank Snyder, Secretary-Treasurer, USW
Frank Snyder is a third-generation-Steelworker, who began his adult working life at a steel mill in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. He soon became USWA Local 8148 Financial Secretary and then Union President. The Local represented workers from virtually every employment sector including manufacturing, healthcare, and public sector employees.
Snyder served as an officer of the Beaver County Central Labor Council, chaired the Monaca Union Building Fund, was a founding board member of the Beaver County Area Labor Management Committee, and served on several community service boards.
In 1996 Frank became a union organizer for Steelworkers District 10. In 1999, the National AFL-CIO recruited him to serve as the Federation’s Special Assistant to the Northeast Region Director.
National AFL-CIO chose Frank to be the Pennsylvania State Director in 2007. He worked closely with President Bill George and Secretary Treasurer Rick Bloomingdale and the unions of the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO to help move an array of successful political elections in 2008. He also helped propel the Employee Free Choice Act campaign in the Keystone State and most recently, the national field operation for healthcare reform.
In 2010, Frank was called on by newly elected AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka to direct the national field program for the AFL-CIO’s Political Department.
He was unanimously elected to the office of Secretary-Treasurer on April 14, 2010 of the 900,000 member Pennsylvania AFL-CIO.
A thorough internet search yields no proof of any PA AFL-CIO positive involvement in the issues of climate change, green jobs, and environmental degradation.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “Most of Pennsylvania’s natural gas is trapped inside the Marcellus Shale, an underground formation that also runs through parts of Ohio, West Virginia and New York. Finding and bringing this gas to the surface has become the state’s fastest-growing industry—and its most controversial one… due to the hydraulic fracturing methods required for extracting the gas. The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry says “industries related to natural-gas extraction directly and indirectly created just over 13,000 jobs in the state in 2010.” With these figures, it’s likely that PA workers will need to make a decision about fracking soon.
The USW represents a large portion of the union’s membership. The USW, both an outspoken environmental advocate and supporter of oil-workers has not offered an official statement on the controversy of fracking. It’s likely that PA’s many USW workers will benefit from the expansion of natural gas drilling in the state.
Already, the PA AFL-CIO Legislative Director, Abe Amoros, of LIUNA has come out in favor of Marcellus Shale Drilling. Amoros joined the Marcellus Coalition and voiced his support at a 2012 rally. ““Marcellus Shale has been a tremendous boost for our members,” Amoros said. “We’re glad these jobs are here to stay and will be around for at least a generation.”
However, this recent development by no means indicates the full support of fracking by the PA AFL-CIO. The environmental group PennEnvironment released a report, Clean Energy, Bright Future, which proposed massive investment in renewables and was critical of coal and oil industries. It was released with a quote from Michael Fedor, Director of the Central PA AFL-CIO:
“Green collar jobs represent the future of reviving America’s manufacturing and industrial strength.” It is time we put Americans to work making things again, and what better place to start than with good paying jobs that will work to reverse the effects of global climate change.”
Fedor participated in a PennEnvironment conference on green jobs February 7, 2009. Feder said organized labor “wants opportunities for a career, not just a job” from the green economy. He also declared, “Every green-collar job created should take us closer, to a middle class that makes enough to not only live but save.”
Further Comments or Analysis
Additional Comments and Analysis
A potential resource for raising climate issues with the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO may be the Keystone Research Center with which it is closely associated. President Bloomingdale, as well as several other labor leaders, serves on its board.
Appendix 1: PA CENTRAL LABOR COUNCILS: