In Hastings, Pennsylvania, an old coal mining area, Marcellus Shale is an important component of local commerce.  The  sedimentary rock is in fact a very familiar part of the entire region’s landscape, where you can drive for miles and miles alongside cliff faces that look almost as though someone cut through the mountains with a serrated knife.  Through the slice were all the once thriving coal mining towns that used to scatter the Pennsylvania mountainside.  These alien-looking areas of Pennsylvania, while few of them coal mining spots anymore, are now some of the most promising natural gas resources this side of the country.  With the rising prices of gas, the environmental stronghold over coal, and the recent increase in political hostility toward oil, many are turning to natural gas to fill a void.  In 2008, there were 52 active permits for natural gas drilling in Cambria County alone, as drillers began courting landowners for access.  And in 2011, as towns like Hastings struggle to create jobs in a down economy, some are relying upon natural gas to create those jobs.

Well…not SEIU, apparently.  The union has teamed up with environmentalists in the area to start harassing the natural gas companies.  They’ve scheduled a protest to demand that these evil drillers pay their fair share!  Only – there’s one small problem.  The place that SEIU selected to protest?  Yeah…not actually a Marcellus drilling location.

When union workers and environmental activists picked a Hastings-area site to protest inaction on a Marcellus Shale severance tax, they made one mistake.

Marcellus activity isn’t occurring within miles of it.

Service Employees International Union officials issued an apology Monday, saying they mistakenly set up their protest Thursday – and a makeshift tollbooth asking the industry to pay its fair share – next to a surface well property that has been around for years and isn’t set up for shale drilling.

“There is no Marcellus Shale drilling on that property, and we’ve contacted the property owners and apologized. It was a mistake, and there was no malice intended even when we thought it was a Marcellus well,” said Neil Bhaerman, a SEIU Healthcare spokesman. “It was an honest mistake that we are going to take extra care to ensure never happens again.”

The union, with environmental officials and area parents, set up protests at three western Pennsylvania sites Thursday to urge for the shale drilling industry to pay its fair share.

Bhaerman said local workers from an area nursing home told them about an apparent drilling site near Third Avenue, just outside of Hastings, and the union didn’t do enough homework on it.   Read the full article.

Imagine that.  The union didn’t do their homework.

I seem to recall that when SEIU protested at ESSA Bank & Trust in East Stroudsburg because of their dispute with Pocono Medical Center, they hadn’t done their homework then, either.

Because while they thought they were intimidating the bank president Gary Olson, who also happens to be chairman of the hospital’s board of directors, they weren’t aware of the fact that Olson has zero authority over any labor issues at the medical center.  He himself has said,  “the union members wouldn’t benefit by targeting me. I’m a volunteer director who was elected chair of the board and am not involved in any union negotiations.”   They didn’t exactly do their homework then, either.  And they still continue to harass the same individual.

The union has  been embroiled in a dispute with the hospital over the issue of a prior vote to make union membership voluntary and  the “closed shop” clause in workers’ contracts, a detail the union vehemently opposes.  SEIU wants to continue to force workers to join their union.

“…local workers from an area nursing home told them about an apparent drilling site near Third Avenue.”

Chances are the bad tip mentioned above came from other workers at the nearby Golden LivingCenter-Haida (GLC-Haida), a nursing home on Third Avenue represented by SEIU Healthcare PA, though this hasn’t been confirmed.  The nursing home is part of a well-known chain of facilities in Cambria County, statewide across Pennsylvania, and nationwide.  GLC workers on the eastern side of the state in East Stroudsburg, PA have participating in the actions against Pocono Medical Center.

Funny how all these supposedly random little occurrences all seem to be connected all the time, isn’t it?

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