President Taliercio's Message

11-03-21

Many news reports are calling it “Striketober”.

Organized workers by the tens of thousands walked off their jobs last month for a variety of reasons. But the resurgence of militant action among workers began long before October and shows no sign of letting up.

Nabisco workers belonging to the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers' International Union, AFL-CIO, walked off the job in late summer to protest company cuts in pension funds, longer work shifts, and the threat of moving more jobs to Mexico. The workers who make those Oreo cookies and so many other household staples found support all across the US and won a new contract that included a $5,000 bonus for each employee.

Another nationwide strike by the BCTGM against Kellogg’s is still ongoing.

Closer to home, nurses at Buffalo’s Mercy Hospital, working under unsafe conditions and understaffed throughout the pandemic, went on strike on October 1. Their union, the Communication Workers of America, AFL-CIO, is still waiting for hospital administrators to show up at the table to discuss a new contract.

These work stoppages and many more are showing the country and the world that our economy, and our very lives, depend on putting the welfare and wellbeing of workers at the center of economic decisions. Each and every one of us can take pride in what our union brothers and sisters are doing, and find ways to not only support but to multiply their efforts in pursuit of a more just share of the fruits of our labors.

09-25-21

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.


08-25-21

This is an exciting time to be part of the economic revival taking place all across Central and Western New York, the Finger Lakes and the Southern Tier. After decades of decline, and more than a year of a pandemic, we can see the signs pointing to an economic rebirth of communities large and small.

Organized labor is here to make sure that the fruits of this renewed energy is fairly distributed. This has been the role of labor unions throughout our history.

As Labor Day approaches, we remind ourselves of the people who do the hard work, in sweltering summer and bone chilling winter,  of making life better for all of us. Developers and politicians and bankers can make deals and plans and sign contracts, but those who swing the hammers and serve the salads and operate the keyboards and forklifts and monitor the cameras, who pour the concrete and set those girders in the highway bridges – those workers make New York hum.

We are surviving and struggling to adapt to a new world of going to work amidst a still unpredictable pandemic. We have learned in this past year how important it is to pull together and support, with dollars and actions, not just words, the workers who feed and house and supply us with our daily needs, those who care for us when we are sick, entertain us when we go out.

It is up to us to make sure that those people who are building our new prosperity receive the fair share that they are entitled to. We have seen big dreams come and go in the past. This time, with a new attitude in Washington and in Albany, with renewed energy in the labor movement, the promise is real. But it has to be real for all of us. It is no secret that entire communities have been left behind in past development schemes. Pockets of entrenched generational poverty must be tackled head on.

We all play a part.

The labor movement throughout history fought for and achieved the broadest based economic uplift in the history of the world – and created the American middle class. In recent decades we have been under assault as greed, globalism, and divisive politics have chipped away at labor’s rights and workers’ standard of living.

We need to turn the tide. Here’s how you can help.

This Labor Day we are asking all our members (tens of thousands strong in CNY alone), our neighbors, and our political leaders to join with us in supporting the Richard Trumka ProACT, a bipartisan piece of legislation that would adapt the rules of the game to the modern workplace. Named on behalf of our recently departed AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, the PRO Act seeks to remove onerous roadblocks that stand in the way of workers having a voice. For decades our labor laws have been skewed to favor large businesses. It is time to correct that imbalance, and the PRO Act is the way to do that.

Workers ask for no special treatment. We seek no favors from any politician of any stripe. We need a clear path to organize, and a voice at the table as the future of Upstate New York unfolds.

Have a happy Labor Day weekend.

And tell your elected representatives to pass the PRO Act, so that next year will be even happier.

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May 12, 2021

"Amazon is just the tip of the Iceberg"
Organized Labor understands that in order to continue making a difference in workers lives, we must constantly be organizing and expanding into all of the new twenty first century industries. The working class, the middle class can only thrive and enjoy the benefits and protections under the law once they organize to form a Union and come under the protections of a Labor Agreement.

We look to our brothers and sister in Alabama and their valiant struggle to win a union election, while being forced to swim upstream all the way in one of the most hostile anti-labor environments in the nation. For the moment, the Union’s campaign at Amazon has fallen short, but this should not cause us to lose heart. Instead, we should learn the lessons of Bessemer and recognize that their struggle is also our struggle. It takes a lot of hard work and determination to form a Union. Over a hundred years ago workers came to the understanding that their only hope to attain the American dream was through Union Membership. So too, will the workers of all the new industries, including Amazon also arrive at that truth and Organized Labor will be there to show them the way.

In the meantime, Central New York is about to witness a spurt in job growth unlike anything seen in decades. Think about it – Amazon is building one of the world’s largest warehouses right here in Clay, New York, and has already begun the process of hiring a thousand workers. The new Biden Administration’s infrastructure program includes creating new jobs in diverse fields from construction to clean energy and home health care. There will also be a re-emergence of the service sector and tourism as the pandemic recession recedes which also means more jobs.

The question is this – What kind of jobs will these be?

We cannot wait for management or elected officials alone, to set the standards and rules of engagement for these new jobs. Workers themselves must take control of this process, but they cannot do it alone, nor can a local union. It is that moment in the struggle that calls for all Unions to rise together and stand with the workers as a unified Labor Movement and defeat the anti-labor employer.

Are you ready?

Ann Marie Taliercio
President
CNY Area Labor Federation, The Regional Body of the ALF-CIO