President Taliercio's Message


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