CNY Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO New Officers

At a virtual meeting on Saturday, September 25, former Congressman Anthony Brindisi swore in a new leadership team for the Central New York Area Labor Federation (ALF).

The team, led by UNITE HERE Local 150 President Ann Marie Taliercio, will serve the eleven counties of the ALF area for the next three years.

In her address to the gathering, Taliercio boldly challenged organized labor to rise to the demands of a new era.

"This is a moment for Central New York workers to celebrate, to regroup, and to prepare for the struggles ahead.

Think about where we were three years ago at our last swearing in.

The most anti-labor President in history. Tax cuts for the wealthy. An endless assault on the rights of workers to organize. Across many industries, the word was out that labor was in retreat.

Not today. Organized labor is showing this economy how to build back better.

It’s useful to look back, just for a second, to give ourselves perspective on how far we have come.

Organized labor, in coalition with our allies and partners, helped to turn Donald Trump out of the White House. Organized labor helped flip the Senate in favor of a party that, while we must keep their feet to the fire, at least knows to listen to our cause. With our legislative majorities both in New York State and nationally, we are now enacting an agenda that at last turns the tide in favor of working families and their unions.

Here in Central New York, we have built alliances that go beyond any single politician or party. We are poised to organize the labor force that is building a better Central New York economy based on principles of justice and inclusion.

Our movement, like our nation, has been under assault for a generation or more. Crises such as poverty, climate change, and racial inequity are not something we can ignore. Our members bring them to us every day. The pandemic is just one more example of how badly unions are needed as a strong voice for front line workers across our economy.

 Our movement faces a crossroads. We can either stick with what we have and guard our own interests, or we can, as President Biden says, build back better.

We need an even more inclusive, more powerful labor movement. Our country is changing; our communities are changing. We need to welcome, indeed embrace these changes. One of the developments regionally that we can be most proud of these past three years has been the dynamic growth of the CNY Chapter of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, led by King Davis. As we watch the transformation of our cities and our region in the coming years, the Coalition will be at the table insisting that everyone in our community has access to the well-paying jobs that come with highways and other projects. I am committed to supporting their work as I know all of you are.

 Our history shows that when labor is strong, our communities are strong. When labor is strong, the middle class grows. When labor is strong, housing and construction booms. When labor is strong, education for our children prospers. When labor is strong, families have the time and resources they need to care for loved ones. In short, when labor is strong, communities are stronger, healthier, and more productive.

Please join with me today as we boldly envision where we can be three years from now. We need to support one another, back one another up. We need to organize, and lobby, and educate the public, and build the movement that American workers, Central New York workers deserve.

Brothers and sisters, let us build back better.