Wednesday, June 30, 2010



AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka addresses delegates on Tuesday at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.
(photo by Bess Watts)
click on images for a larger view

Boston, Mass.--  What I remember most about what happened yesterday (Tuesday) is the riveting speech from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, the tribute to Ted Kennedy (his wife Victoria spoke) and the almost puerile child-like behavior of the delegates on the convention floor.  The 800 lb. elephant in the room is the looming election for secretary-treasurer that will take place on Thursday, pitting CSEA's leader Danny Donohue against McEntee's staff assistant, Lee Saunders.  Right now, it seems as if the delegates are evenly divided about who to support-- this process is heated and sometimes very ugly-- unfortunately, it brings out the worst in our brothers and sisters because we are such passionate people. 

Yesterday (Tuesday) on the convention floor, we confirmed the nominations of the candidates who will lead us into the future.  Earlier today we rallied outside at the Boston Commons in support of the Jobs bill now before Congress.  Tons of committee meetings and caucus events were also scheduled until the end of the day.

Getting back to Trumka's speech, he recognized the success of AFSCME’s organizing program, saying, “Of all the unions of the AFL-CIO, AFSCME is the largest and fastest-growing. Even in the face of an economic crisis, large-scale layoffs, and the scapegoating of public employees by politicians from both parties, more than 145,000 workers have organized with AFSCME over the past four years.”

He spoke of the “triple whammy” state and local governments are up against. “With the severe recession and soaring unemployment, tax revenues are taking a dive. The financial crisis and the busted bubbles from Wall Street’s shenanigans are taking a big bite out of pension funds. And now as always, when hard times hit, the demand for public services actually increases — from unemployment compensation to job training, public assistance, and mental health care.”

You can watch the full video on the AFSCME convention website and read the full transcript here.

There was also one other important moment I will never forget, and that was my conversation with Bill Lucy.  I asked him if he ever knew Bayard Rustin, the longtime civil rights activist that was a contemporary of Martin Luther King, Jr.  Lucy told me he did, and went on to say "when Martin got shot, everyone asked Bayard what we should do.  He said everyone should give one dollar to the striking transit workers, and we wound up with $400,000 in cash stuffed inside two duffel bags."  It was a short and poignant moment I will never forget told by a living civil rights legend.

Also, amid the chaos on the convention floor today, I was struck by the arrogance and rudeness of our AFSCME President Gerald McEntee.  He will have alot of mending to do once this convention wraps up.  I hope we can leave Boston with a sense of accomplishment and a spirit of solidarity--overcoming this diviseness might be our biggest challenge yet.  We'll see.

Photo above shows a broadside image for the Donohue campaign.  Lots of information and news to come so stay tuned right here at the Voice Reporter.  If you have a facebook account, you can follow me here.  

Yours in Solidarity,

Bess Watts
President, CSEA Monroe County Local 828
AFSCME Delegate 2010

(All photos by Bess Watts.  Photo above shows Danny Donohue flanked by heavily stickered WNY Region 6 members Sheri Ambuske and Donald Williams.  You can see additional photos of the 39th Annual AFSCME Delegates Convention by clicking on the Local 828 photo gallery link on the right side of this page "My Blog List.")

Monday, June 28, 2010


Boston, Mass.--  AFSCME’s 39th International Convention opened today at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center with more than 5,000 delegates, alternates and guests converging on the city of Boston, Massachusetts. The convention will run through July 2.  Cris Zaffuto and myself are representing our Local and plan to bring the convention to you through a series of posts, images and video.

International President Gerald W. McEntee set the stage this morning with a keynote address.

There was a special tribute to William Lucy, who retired as secretary-treasurer last week.  Danny Donohue, CSEA President and candidate to replace Lucy, gave a very heartfelt and impassioned speech about Mr. Lucy and his 40-year plus legacy of dedicated work to improve the lives of working Americans.

Additionally, CSEA Statewide Secretary Denise Berkley addressed the delegates as well. You can watch a video of her speech right here. This afternoon we had a full schedule of committee meetings.

During the week, we’ll rally with Boston Council 93 to help protect public services, and urge Congress to approve the jobs bill. We will also consider key policy resolutions and Constitutional amendments.

Wednesday, AFSCME members who perform the same work will meet at 21 special caucuses to discuss ways to debunk the myths about public service workers.

Thursday, we’ll elect a new secretary-treasurer to replace Bill (pictured below). CSEA is firmly standing behind our President, Danny Donohue with a “block vote.”

We gather here in Boston at a time when public services are at risk, and during the worst fiscal crises to face state and local governments since The Great Depression. That’s why this year’s Convention battle cry is “Ready to Fight! Ready to Lead!”

Stay tuned to more posts, photos and video from the convention floor this week. Until then, keep fighting the good fight.  Cris and I will see you all when we return!

In Solidarity,

Bess Watts
President, CSEA Monroe County Local 828
AFSCME Delegate 2010
(Above photo is Region 6 President Flo Tripi holding sign on the convention floor.  Photos and video courtesy of Bess Watts)

Saturday, June 26, 2010


CSEA stands in solidarity with RWDSU Local 220 in Wayne County, N.Y.  Pictured here are married union activists, Rick and Anne Bulman who don tee-shirts from their respective unions.
(photos courtesy of Bess Watts)
click on images for a larger view

Williamson, N.Y.-- Hundreds of supporters converged at the picket lines outside the Mott's manufacturing plant today in Williamson, N.Y., protesting what workers define as a classic case of corporate greed versus the working class.

The Mott's plant, which also produces apple juice and apple concentrate, is one of the largest buyers of local apples, while Wayne County is one of the nation's largest counties for apple production.

In response to the ongoing strike, the office of U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-New York) urged the profitable beverage maker to "come back to the negotiating table and bargain in good faith." A spokesperson for Schumer appeared at the rally today in support of ending the strike.

Earlier this week, Senator Schumer sent a firm letter to Mr. Larry D. Young, President and CEO of Dr. Pepper Snapple Group expressing concern that the "livelihoods of thousands of the region's residents could be negatively impacted if this situation (the four week strike) is not resolved soon."

Schumer wrote "my office has been closely monitoring and communicating with leaders of the RWDSU. With unemployment in the Rochester area nearly 10 percent, the ongoing labor shortage is not only harming the 305 workers of the RWDSU Local 220 who work in the facility, but can harm the entire Wayne County economy due to the facility's centrality to the regional and state apple market."

Senator Schumer ended his letter to Mr. Young urging the company to get back to the negotiating table so the "proud and productive workers of Mott's can go back to work."

Congressman Dan Maffei (D- New York) passionately echoed the serious concerns of Canadian officials regarding the health and safety risks of Mott's beverages in light of the company's use of untrained, inexperienced temporary workers to replace its highly-skilled workforce currently on strike.

Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union said, "We are grateful for the support and public comments by Senator Charles Schumer."

Supporters of the strike say the rank and file workers helped make Mott’s the highly profitable company they are, and they should not be treated like a bunch of rotten apples by overpaid executives. Appelbaum added, "Whittling down wage and benefit standards, while exponentially increasing CEO compensation is just rotten business, and frankly un-American."

Bess Watts, Monroe County Local 828 President said the rally had a strong CSEA contingent, especially the public employees who work in Wayne County. She added that today's protest was "empowering" and "another defining moment in class warfare in upstate New York."

Mott's products are produced by Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (DPS), the North American beverages division spun off by Cadbury Schweppes in 2008, whose leading brands in addition to Mott's include Snapple, Yoo-hoo, A&W and Hires root beers, Crush, Sunkist, Hawaiian Punch, Canada Dry, Squirt, RC Cola, Diet Rite, and of course Schweppes, among others. The Williamson plant is the only Mott's facility to make the company's popular apple sauce and organic apple juice concentrate. Citizens that see this strike as a social justice issue are advocating consumers to forgo these products until further notice.

You can view more photos of today's rally at the Voice Reporter photostream.


Interpreting Families

Commentary by U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis
Washington, D.C.--  Changes to the Family and Medical Leave Act allowing family leave to anyone who assumes the role of caring for a child aren't just niceties for LGBT families — they're necessities.
It’s been 17 years since Congress passed the Family and Medical Leave Act — groundbreaking legislation that allows parents to take unpaid time off from work to care for their children.

Since then, thanks in large measure to technology, work has changed. And as a result, workers have changed, often at warp speed. But what many have been slow to recognize is the fact that “families” have been changing for a very long time.

Well, the administration took a major step in recognizing that change Tuesday, when the U.S. Department of Labor clarified the definition of “son and daughter” under the FMLA. Our interpretation ensures that an employee who assumes the role of caring for a child receives parental rights to family leave regardless of the legal or biological relationship. We’ve done so because the realities of who is a “mother” and who is a “father” — and new, important and responsible concepts of “parenthood” — simply demand it ... at home and at work.

It’s called in loco parentis, a Latin phrase and legal doctrine meaning in the place of a parent. When applied to the new realities of work and family, it means that all employees who have assumed the responsibility for parenting a child, whether they have a biological or legal relationship with the child or not, may be entitled to FMLA leave.

Consider the case of Nazanin Meftah and her partner, Lydia BaƱuelos, a lesbian couple in Tucson. Meftah developed medical complications after the birth of the couple’s children in 2007 and 2009. Despite a clear need and obvious relationship to the children, BaƱuelos was denied unpaid leave both times by her employer. She wasn’t able to care for the kids because she was not a biological parent or legal guardian.

I had the chance to meet Meftah, and her story is sadly as common as it is compelling. The Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law estimates that more than 100,000 children growing up with same-sex parents could benefit from this simple but important action.

The Labor Department’s interpretation of the FMLA makes clear that children can get the support and care they need from the people who love them and are responsible for them. This is certainly a win for LGBT families, and it recognizes the importance of a partner who shares in the parenting of a child in a same-sex relationship. But it’s also a win for “Tia” (Spanish for aunt) who steps in to care for her young nephew when his mother has been called to active military duty, or a grandmother who takes responsibility for her grandchild.

We know that family-friendly policies and laws like the FMLA aren’t “niceties” but rather necessities that contribute to the well-being of all families and a better bottom line for employers.

No further interpretation of that is required.

Friday, June 25, 2010


CSEA Monroe County Local 828 delivering food to the striking Mott's workers in nearby Wayne County. 
(photos by Bess Watts)
click on images for larger view

Williamson, N.Y.--  As the Mott's strike enters it's fifth week, the basic need to make ends meet rush to minds of the workers and their families as they walk the picket lines in this rural stretch of RT. 104 in Wayne County.  The union said as many as 200 striking families have been seeking some type of assistance.

Bess Watts, President of CSEA Monroe County Local 828 is asking CSEA members to donate non-perishable food items such as pasta, sauce, cereals, boxed meals, and canned goods.  We are teaming up with Next Generation United to provide weekly drop-offs - Thursdays from 2-4 P.M. at the NILICO office, 1567 East Henrietta Road, Rochester, NY 14623, or you can call 585.426.0862 to arrange a pick up if necessary.

 NILICO (OPEIU Local 277) has pledged to keep this drive running until the strike ends and CSEA is committed to help these families in a time of need and crisis. 

See you on Saturday, June 26 at a huge rally (see related story) at the Mott's plant on RT. 104 in Williamson, N.Y. at 11:00 A.M.  Park your car at the Williamson Town Hall/Public Library, 6380 Route 21 (Lake Avenue) - Behind McDonald's on Route 104, less than 1/2 mile walk to rally site or catch the shuttle buses that will be provided.

Let's stand united and keep fighting the good fight.  The Mott's workers are not only sacrificing for themselves and their loved ones, they are doing it for all working families.  See a video of RWDSU workers speaking out about how this fight has affected their lives.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Washington, D.C.--  In a news item that was posted today on, writer Kevin Bogardus reports that a debate over Democratic politics is an issue that AFSCME members need to consider when they cast their votes at convention next week.  The official running for the second-ranking position of the national public employees union wants to increase the number of primary challengers for Democrats moving against labor’s agenda.

“I hope it would happen more, because unfortunately over the last year we have seen a darker side of our friends who have not stood up for principles that labor has espoused for years,” said CSEA President Danny Donohue in an interview with The Hill.

Donohue is running for secretary-treasurer at the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. AFSCME members next week will elect a new secretary-treasurer at their national convention in Boston.

Donohue now serves as president of AFSCME’s largest affiliate union, the 265,000 member-strong New York State Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA).

Donohue’s candidacy is backed by the current AFSCME No. 2, Bill Lucy. His competition is Lee Saunders, the executive assistant to AFSCME President Gerry McEntee. Saunders has his mentor's full support.  Right now, it's anyone's guess who will win the post. 

The election has huge implications for the future of the union and labor’s ongoing political strategy.

To read the entire article, you can go here.

(Pictured above is CSEA President Danny Donohue.  Photo by Ove Overmyer)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Williamson, N.Y. -- More than three hundred workers at the highly profitable Mott's plant in Williamson, New York are on their 30th day of protesting deep cuts in pay and benefits while the company they have been laboring for reaches out to an eager, unskilled temporary workforce. The employer’s refusal to bargain a fair contract defies logic.

On June 14, and in separate letters to Larry D. Young, President and CEO of Dr. Pepper Snapple Group, Inc., and Carole Swan, President of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), leading Canadian officials expressed serious concerns regarding the health and safety risks of Mott's beverages in light of the company's use of untrained, inexperienced temporary workers to replace its highly-skilled workforce currently on strike.

Mott's is produced by Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (DPS), the North American beverages division spun off by Cadbury Schweppes in 2008, whose leading brands in addition to Mott's include Snapple, Yoo-hoo, A&W and Hires root beers, Crush, Sunkist, Hawaiian Punch, Canada Dry, Squirt, RC Cola, Diet Rite, and of course Schweppes, among others. The Williamson plant is the only Mott's facility to make the company's popular apple sauce and organic apple juice concentrate. Local labor activists are encouraging consumers to forgo these products until further notice.

DPS has been enjoying record profits, earning $555 million and increased their market share in a highly competitive beverage sector. Shareholders have seen the company's stock soar and the CEO has given himself a 113% compensation increase to $6.5 million annually. If this doesn’t fit the definition of greed, I don’t know what does.

DPS implemented an across the board reduction of $1.50 per hour, eliminated the pension, increased employee health care contributions and cut the 401k benefit by 20 percent. Workers strongly rejected these demands and authorized the union's negotiating committee to call an unfair labor practice strike, which began one month ago.

According to several news outlets, strikers have been traveling the country telling their story and letting DPS know wherever DPS is, Local 220 members will follow. In Texas, RWDSU members turned out for the annual shareholder meeting on May 20 to question the CEO and Board members about the rationale behind aggressive pay cuts at a time of record growth, profits and executive compensation. In response, they were told they were overpaid - despite the fact that their pay is in line with the average wage in their industry and geography.

DPS also failed to explain how they reconcile the clear conflict of interest and breach of ethics posed by the membership on the DPS Board of Anne Szostak. Szostak is also on the Board of Directors of the SFN Group, whose Spherion supplies temporary agency workers (and potential strikebreakers!) to the Williamson plant. DPS corporate governance guidelines explicitly precludes such relationships.

Besides the main protest taking place in our back yard, strikers and supporters have taken their message to consumers in Galveston, TX and St. Louis, MO. Picket lines were extended to another Mott’s plant in Aspers, PA.

The Mott's workers are standing up to rampant corporate greed-and holding the line for decent pay and conditions where they work, in their community and for US food and beverage workers as a whole. They need our support now.

You can support their struggle – please send a message to Mott's telling them to stop assaulting living standards and start bargaining in good faith!

Commentary authored by Ove Overmyer


Striking Mott's workers in Williamson, N.Y. have been off the job since May 23.  Many workers and their families are now seeking assistance at local food pantries and church ministries.
(photo by Bess Watts)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Union members who work at Mott’s, in Wayne County, have been on strike for one month as of today. The plant’s owner, Dr. Pepper/Snapple (DPS) of Plano, Texas, is demanding a $1.50 per hour pay cut, less health insurance, a pension freeze, and many other concessions. That was the company’s final offer in spite of making a $555 million profit in 2009.

This fight is our fight – to keep decent paying jobs in the Rochester area.

PLEASE JOIN CSEA AND OTHER ACTIVISTS WHO CARE ABOUT THE WORKING FAMILIES OF UPSTATE NEW YORK. Wear your CSEA shirts or if you don't have one, I'll have some extras at the rally. I hope to see you Saturday!!

What:  Rally with Local 220 members and their families, RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum, UFCW International Executive Vice President Pat O'Niell, NYS AFL-CIO President Denis Hughes, Workers United President Bruce Raynor, Fr. Brian Jordan and many others.

When:  Saturday, June 26th, at 11:00 am

Where:  4363 RT. 104, Williamson, N.Y. (you can't miss it)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Public safety is threatened and crime is likely to increase if Monroe County officials do not fully staff and appropriately distribute cases in the Probation Department-- that’s the argument CSEA hopes to prove in arbitration June 23.

CSEA, the union representing Monroe County probation officers, has filed a grievance against the county stating that the department is understaffed and that cases are not distributed in an equitable manner. The potential result is that probationers will not be adequately supervised, placing the public at increased risk. June 23rd will be the second day of hearings on the issue.

“We are calling on Monroe County to fully staff the probation department so that each probation case can receive the time and attention necessary to keep the public safe,” said CSEA Western Region President Flo Tripi. “Crime cannot be controlled without a properly staffed department.”

While staffing has dwindled, Officers have seen their workloads rise to impossible levels. Caseloads include violent offenders, gang members, high risk sex offenders, DWI repeat offenders, and persons with significant mental health and substance abuse problems.

“Without a full staff of probation officers, we fear that a serious offender may slip through the cracks and that public safety could be in jeopardy as a result,” said CSEA Monroe County Local President Bess Watts.

Probationers have been linked to other crimes during their probation period. In the three years from 2006-2009, Monroe County had 153 homicide cases. Of these cases, 128 involved individuals with a probation history. Nineteen people were named as suspects in homicides while on probation. Fourteen people were victims of homicide while on probation.

“These stats on their own are very alarming,” said Cris Zaffuto, President of the CSEA Monroe County Unit. “More importantly, they illustrate that more probation officers need to be hired in the county to appropriately conduct probationer supervision and keep the public safe.”

The county has for years attempted to keep costs in the department artificially low through the hiring of probation officer trainees instead of full probation officers. The problem is the trainees are required to have reduced caseloads. The end result is a short-staffed department and, ultimately, an increased danger for the public.

“Monroe County probation officers are calling on public officials to correct these staffing inadequacies so we can fully serve the public and provide the highest possible level of safety,” said CSEA Probation Section President Todd Wersinger.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Take a defensive driving course online and keep New Yorkers safe!

Rochester, N.Y.--  As summer officially starts today, teenage drivers across the USA are poised to enjoy school-free days, summer jobs and youthful frolics.

Their parents might be less eager. Automobile crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers in the USA, and the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day is the deadliest for drivers ages 15-20, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

CSEA members and their families can now complete a six-hour defensive driving course online through the New York Safety Program, which also continues to offer the traditional classroom course to members.
New York Safety Program sponsors the Driver Improvement Course that has been approved by the New York State Dept. Of Motor Vehicles for Point Reduction and the Dept. of Insurance for Insurance Reduction in New York State. The NYSP course is a six hour classroom course that uses behavior modification methodology to positively influence attitude and therefore, behavior behind the wheel.
Certified instructors, using modern multimedia techniques, will teach you the roles and responsibilities of the individual driver, traffic laws, emergency and defensive driving methods. There are no tests to pass and there is no driving involved. The NYSP course is available statewide through a network of approved training agencies.
The NYSP Behavior Modification Course shows the most dramatic results with a 65% reduction in traffic violations.  The results of a similar test again show the NYSP Behavior Modification Course to decrease vehicle accidents with a 35% reduction.

For more information about the online or classroom program, visit this link for a class in the Monroe County area (click on red bar) or call toll free at 1.800.942.6874.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Williamson, New York--
A trip to the striking workers picket line at the Mott’s plant on Route 104 in Williamson, N.Y. is simultaneously inspiring and frightening if you are part of the working class. You feel a sense of bravado driven by desperation in the 300 blue-collar industrial workers who around the clock walk the perimeter of the Mott’s property discouraging strike-breaking scabs from crossing the picket line.

Mott’s, once a worker-friendly hometown company in Wayne County, is now owned by Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (DPSG) from Plano, Texas. DPSG made $555 million in profit last year and its President and CEO Larry Young, was given a whopping $6.6 million in compensation. In a tight economy, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group generates that kind of profit the old-fashioned way-- by oppressing workers.

Weeks ago DPSG dumped a “take it or leave it” contract proposal on workers calling for an across the board wage cut of $1.50 hour, greatly increased health care premiums, medical co-pays and deductibles in the thousands of dollars, pension freezes and cuts in company 401k contributions.

Additionally, Mott’s insists on arbitrary changes in job descriptions designed to lower salaries and displace skilled senior workers. For weeks DPSG negotiators have refused to return to the bargaining table despite the fact that workers are proposing a “flat contract” which only continues their current agreement without an increase in salary.

The perceived arrogance and greed of Dr. Pepper Snapple Group has generated widespread international and community support.  Motorists and passing vehicles often honk and wave in favor of the workers. On June 14, bags of food were dropped off for strikers and representatives of several other unions including, CSEA, SEIU, NYSUT, Pride At Work and NGU (Next Generation United). 

Along with Rochester Genesee Valley Area Labor Federation President Jim Bertolone, workers from other local unions took time out of their busy schedules to walk the picket line in solidarity.  Additionally, Congressman Dan Maffei, and Rochester Mayor Bob Duffy have publicly pledged support of the striking workers.

CSEA Local 828 President Bess Watts spoke with the strikers and reflects, “This is not simply about money. The wage cut is almost secondary to the huge cuts in benefits. One long time Mott’s employee told me it would cost $6000.00 out of pocket in medical expenses to have a baby.”

Watts added, “Everyone is struggling at the negotiation table right now and this strike has special significance to all local unions because of the extreme undercutting of worker benefits and compensation by this large national corporation. If this strike fails, which union wants to be the next domino to fall to so low a level? So this fight is our fight and we will support the courageous RWDSU (Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union) strikers. Backs to the wall, they speak for CSEA and all American workers when they say-- enough is enough!

Watts encourages all union and nonunion workers to support the Mott’s strikers by joining the picket line for a few hours to visibly show unity of purpose. 

Also, please join the boycott of Dr. Pepper Snapple Group products listed here until further notice:

7UP, A&W, Canada Dry, Clamato, Country Time, Crush, Deja Blue, Diet Rite, Dr Pepper, Hawaiian Punch, Hires, IBC, Margaritaville, Mott’s, Mr and Mrs T, Nantucket Nectars, Orangina, Penafiel, RC Cola, ReaLemon, Rose’s, Schweppes, Snapple, Squirt, Stewart’s, Sundrop, Sunkist, Vernors, Welch’s and Yoo-hoo.

(Pictured in the photo are CSEA's Doris Cota and Terri Ferrara.  Photos by Bess Watts.)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


For now, the streets of the Village of Brockport
will continue to be maintained by CSEA members.
(photo by Ove Overmyer)

Brockport, N.Y.--  The village of Brockport will remain a village for now, as residents defeated the proposal to dissolve the village government in a heated campaign that attracted media attention from all over New York State.  The unofficial tally was 645 for dissolution and 911 against the plan.

Supporters of dissolution had said village taxes are too high and that the town of Sweden is in a much better financial position to provide services.  Opponents feared that dissolution could have interrupted many services people receive from the village.

There were also many concerns related to a new state law which requires people to vote for dissolution before a dissolution plan is actually drawn up.

CSEA represents the workers in the Department of Public Works for the Village of Brockport. They are members of the Monroe County Local 828. Our members provide valuable services to the village and for now, these services will continue to exist under a village government.

Bess Watts, CSEA Local 828 President, immediately got on the phone and called Unit President John Streb when she finally heard the news. “I’m relieved for our members. Now, perhaps they might get a better night's sleep knowing that their jobs are safe for now.  I thanked John for his leadership in this effort.”

Streb says CSEA staff, particularly Region 6 Political Action Coordinator Courtney Brunelle, was indespensible in fighting this effort to dissolve village government.  He said, "Courtney is a huge asset for CSEA and for the entire labor community."

As a reminder, our CSEA members who work for the Village DPW currently provide residents with quarterly brush pickup, roadside leaf pickup and Christmas tree pickup. Crews also clean and maintain storm drains, as well as repair and replace them at the first sign of trouble.

CSEA road crews maintain and re-pave streets and parking lots as needed to ensure smooth travel through the village. They perform regular pothole repair and routine maintenance of street signs and street lights. Street sweeping keeps village roads neat and clean, improving the appearance of neighborhoods and ultimately increasing property values.

Village crews also repair and replace sidewalks so that families can safely walk, push strollers, bike and even roller-skate on a sunny afternoon.

Trimming, maintaining and planting of village-owned trees is another service residents receive. These efforts have earned Brockport the designation of “Tree City USA.” Village crews also maintain all village owned parks and buildings. They decorate public areas for the holidays and provide additional assistance for special events, such as parades, the arts festival, the farmers’ market and many more.

Sewer repair, replacement and cleaning are other services Brockport residents receive. Village crews also repair and replace village-owned water lines, protecting the water supply.

Village personnel are on call 24-hours a day, seven-days-a-week to respond to water and sewer emergencies. Time is critical when these systems do not work properly. Fixing sanitary sewer problems expeditiously is a matter of public health.

In winter, village crews provide punctual and efficient plowing of streets and parking lots. The town of Sweden does not offer plowing of sidewalks, meaning residents would have been responsible for clearing the walk in front of their homes if the village dissolved. That’s a service that’s not too common and would be sorely missed if residents voted for dissolution.

The Monroe County Board of Elections said Tuesday night's results do not include write-in or affidavit ballots, which will be counted on Wednesday.

Monday, June 14, 2010


Albany, N.Y.--  Over the weekend, the Gannett network of newspapers in New York state, including Rochester, Albany, Binghamton, WGRZ-TV in Buffalo, Poughkeepsie and other locations ran several editorials bashing the pension fund  system and asking lawmakers to raise the age of retirement.

Here is an excerpt of the State Comptroller Tom Di Napoli's press release issued earlier today about that subject:

“There have been a number of outrageous and unfounded rumors and erroneous press reports that I will allow a raid of the pension fund to balance the state budget."

He added, “Let me be very clear: The pension fund will not be used to balance the budget."

“The Pew Center recognized New York as one of only four fully-funded state pension systems. New York’s strong position has been achieved through long-term, fiscally responsible practices. My first job as state comptroller is to protect the one million members, and the rest of New York State taxpayers, from the irresponsibility that has left New Jersey, Illinois, California and dozens of other public pension funds across the nation dangerously under-funded. I will fight any raids on the New York State Common Retirement Fund."

“Shame on those individuals who are playing politics, trying to mislead taxpayers and scare members and retirees who rely on the fund for their financial security. The fund is not a political football."

“The fund is strong. I recently reported that SFY 2009-10 was the third best investment year in the past 20 years. The Pew Report found that our fund is one of the best managed funds in the nation. I will not sacrifice that strength to a dysfunctional budget process."

“The State Comptroller’s office has a long history of protecting the fund from raids.  I will protect the fund from any raids under any circumstances.”

Facts about the Fund:

Third Highest Return in Last 20 Years: The pension fund posted a 25.9 percent rate of return for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2010, driving the value of fund assets to approximately $132.6 billion.

Nationally Recognized for Excellence by Pew Center: In February, the Pew Center on the States issued a report calling New York one of the best managed pension funds in the country. Only four states in the country are fully-funded: New York, Florida, Washington and Wisconsin.

Safe, Strong and Secure: The pension fund is one of the best funded public pension funds in the nation and can cover its current and future obligations.

In a statement from CSEA released moments ago, it read:

 "CSEA fully supports New York State Comptroller Tom Di Napoli's position against any attempt to undermine the integrity of the New York State Retirement Fund.  There are few if any issues of greater concern to CSEA members than protecting the retirement system. CSEA is proud that Comptroller Di Napoli has demonstrated strength and character in clearly and forcefully rejecting pressure to let the fund be used for political purposes."

Saturday, June 12, 2010


The Washington media works in mysterious ways. A group of editors sit around a table and they try to come up with a theme or narrative for the election year. If they can link broad-based sweeping stories from edition to edition, they think we the readers might continue to buy their soapy stories regardless if they have any bearing on the truth or reality. What they want is continuity, drama and intrigue-- just like any Harlequin novel.  But politics is anything but predictable.  It is chaos.  They also seem preoccupied by what everybody else is writing, and have forgotten how critical original primary sources are to a story.

Back in February, CNN released a poll that suggested only a third of U.S. voters think that most members of Congress deserve to be re-elected this year. That's the lowest number ever recorded for that question in a CNN survey, so I kind of understand where they were coming from before we started having primaries around the nation.

In any event, right-wing bloggers and some very influential media types have been trying to lump together, contextualize and explain what is going on in this crazy election cycle. We readers are wired to accept explanations, not just raw data. Here's the thing, though. When the raw data, when the actual news totally contradicts the story of what is really happening in America, do the reporters have a responsibility to tell it like it is? One would think so. But alas, that's not what's being reported at some of the largest media houses in the country.

When the media is more interested in explaining their own stories that fits their business agenda than actually reporting the facts, you get headlines from ABC News that went something like this after a May 4 primary, "Unharnessed Anger:  Incumbents Win in North Carolina, Ohio and Indiana."  Huh?

However, there are a few people out there in the news business that see what's really happening. Rachel Maddow from MSNBC is one such journalist. She has been poking holes in her competitor's stories, and we love her for it. I'm glad some progressives are starting to understand that there really isn't an anti-incumbency wave going on after all.

You would think that these editors and media moguls would slow down this sweeping narrative runaway train.  But no, their anti-incumbency wave theory keeps getting disproven by the facts.  As of today, I am politely asking them, "Can we stop all this foolishness now before you lose any shred of credibility that you have left?"

The New York Times, FOX Media the Associated Press, to name a few, really want to be able to hold on to this narrative that the country “is angry” and the Tea-Partier's are shifting the voter dial right of center on the political continuum. But the truth is all the incumbents are winning their primaries. That's the story.

Case in point. In the June 9 edition of the New York Times, it reads, "Anti-Incumbent Rage Bypasses Arkansas." Here's another one from Reuters, " Arkansas Democrat Blanche Lincoln Survives Anti- incumbent Wave." I guess the wave effect depends on which incumbent fits the story. Unfortunately, they had to contradict themselves in their very own headline.

And, check out this Washington Post headline, "Antipathy toward elected officials and the establishment, a dispirited public is demanding change." So that's the big story, right? Public demands change. It's as if they decided this is going to be an anti-incumbency year whether voters like it or not, no matter what. We have to sell newspapers, damn it! Well, as it is turning out, the anti-incumbency theme is just plain wrong.  It ain't happenin'. 

Here are some facts. In New Jersey, 13 incumbents on the ballot, all of them won. In California, a whopping 52 incumbents were on the ballot and each and every one of them winners. In Virginia, with eleven incumbents on the ballot, all 11 incumbents won. In Iowa, seven incumbents on the ballot--they all won as well. In Arkansas, three incumbents on the ballot, all three incumbents won. In South Dakota, two incumbents who ran, both were winners. In Maine, there were two incumbents, both winners. In Montana and North Dakota, one incumbent each, not one of them a caught the mythical anti-incumbent fever. In fact, if you look at this whole campaign season, all of the races, all together, who among the incumbents has been thrown out? Well, there aren't that many.   

There were a few guys who switched parties and they lost and there were two guys with corruption scandals who lost. According to my sources, Bob Inglis of South Carolina is the only incumbent who got voted down in a primary without a corruption scandal or a party switch or a weird activists-only vote at a convention to explain it. Bob Inglis is the one piece of data supporting the whole national narrative of the anti-incumbency wave. And really, for what it's worth, he didn't even lose yet. He's in a runoff. So the big national, everybody agrees anti-incumbency wave story is a good story. Gimme a break.  Wake up and smell the coffee.

Commentary by Ove Overmyer with prodding from Rachel Maddow.  This post does not relfect the opinion of CSEA, only of the author.

Friday, June 11, 2010


On Tuesday, June 8, CSEA Monroe County Local 828 VP and City of Rochester Library Unit President Ove Overmyer spoke before the Monroe County Legislature.  This was his 2 minute talk:

If you went to the Monroe County website today, you would know that the County Executive kicked off a summer reading program at DeWitt Road elementary school in Webster.

But what you didn’t read on the homepage is that the Monroe County Library System and specifically the Central Library of Rochester and Monroe County did not receive the county funding request it deserved for the next fiscal year. Library advocates asked for a modest increase based on usage and demand and we are getting considerably less than what we expected.

I also want you to know that this funding blunder hurts all 30 public libraries of the Monroe County Library System, not just the Central Library.

Even with using some library reserve funds to help bridge a gap for the operation of the Central Library, we still need an additional $300,000 to stay even and keep our existing staff and services in place.

This development has resulted in the proposal by the library boards to close the Central Library on Sundays this fall...a severe blow to many of us in the library community. On any given Sunday in a four-hour period, over 1,100 patrons walk through the doors of the Central Library.

Now, at the same time, there has been some media attention given to upping the salary of our Public Administrator (PA). For those who are not aware of who the public administrator is-- he is a court-appointed lawyer who earns hundreds of thousands of dollars a year tending to the estates of County residents who die without a will or an executor.

He draws most of his pay from the estates in attorney fees intended to offset office expenses, netting anywhere from a half a million dollars annually.

Our PA also collects another $48,000 a year from the county for "the operation of his office," a unique arrangement that enables him to be compensated twice for expenses his office incurs.

Now, the County Executive has asked you to double this contract to $100,000. Before the PA was appointed by the Surrogate Court Judge in January 2000, the county offered a stipend of $12,500.

That's a 567 percent increase in just nine years. Wouldn't you say that is a little excessive? Where are our priorities? Are they with one well-connected lawyer or with 1,100 library users?

Additionally, if I am not mistaken, there is a building on West Main Street which is rented to the County at a cost of nearly $500,000 a year and at last report was occupied by only 3 (yes 3) County employees.

Can someone in this room tell me why we can't even come up with $130,000 to keep the Central Library open on Sundays? Let me pose this question, if the Central Library was in Webster or Pittsford, would we even be having this discussion?  Not funding the Central Library downtown reeks of geo-political posturing.  It's offensive.

The library community is asking the County Legislature to reconsider this funding misnomer-- give us the resources we need to keep our communities whole. We need a library champion to step up-- so; who is it going to be?
To view past Monroe County Legislature full session meetings, you can go here.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


MCC employees Ann Gilbert (Instructional Technologies) and Tricia Storms (Campus Center), seated right, volunteer at the polling site on the Brighton Campus.  They are showing off the official ballot.
(photo by Bess Watts) 

Monroe County, N.Y.--  On June 7, members of CSEA Local 828 Unit 7402 (Monroe Community College, Brighton Main Campus and the downtown Damon Campus) voted to ratify a 2-year tentative labor agreement with college administrators.

Out of 289 members, 247 workers cast a ballot.  Terms of the agreement will be forthcoming.  When the contract is signed and delivered to members, CSEA WNY Region 6 HQ will be distributing a press release about the complete details of the collective bargaining agreement.
Monroe Community College, Rochester, N.Y., is the home away from home and worksite of nearly 300 members of CSEA Local 828 Unit 7402.

Monday, June 7, 2010


These traffic cones displayed at the spring statewide Health & Safety conference in Lake Placid, N.Y. served as a reminder of all the brothers and sisters we have lost while working on the job.
(photo by Ove Overmyer)

Rochester, N.Y.--  In an email addressed to Health & Safety committee members dated June 7, CSEA Local 828 Treasurer and H&S Committee Co-Chair Sue Trottier has requested the presence of at least one member from every Unit in our Local 828 to attend a meeting scheduled for Wednesday, June 16th at 5:30 PM.  H&S Committee Co-Chairs Howie Miller and Sue Trottier will be co-meeting managers.  There will be a light dinner and the meeting will immediately follow. 

The meeting will be held at the CSEA Region 6 Satellite Office - 3495 Winton Place, Building E, Suite 3.

The main topic of discussion will be how are workplaces are implementing the Workplace Violence Prevention Act.  Trottier says, "If you already have a policy in place or are presently working with your employer to put one together, please be prepared to share this information with your union brothers and sisters." 

All Unit Presidents or Unit H&S committee chairs must contact Sue Trottier no later than June 11th regardless if you can make it or not.  You can also contact President Bess Watts for any questions regarding this mandatory meeting.  Your Local 828 officers also would like to you to take the pledge today to "Don't Zone Out" in work zones!

You can pledge in two ways, on-line or through the mail!  Click here to take the pledge on-line or go to the link for the mailing address.

Remember, we are counting on you to RSVP by June 11.

Friday, June 4, 2010


Albany, N.Y.--  The 2010 Retirement Incentive Program (Chapter 105, Laws of 2010) is a temporary program for certain New York State and Local Government Employees’ Retirement System (ERS) members. This program does not apply to Police and Fire Retirement System members.

The Program has two distinct parts.

Part A is a targeted incentive. Employers must identify eligible titles. Part A provides one additional month of service credit for each year of credited service an eligible member has at retirement. The maximum additional incentive service credit is three years.

Part B is not targeted. It is open to all eligible Tier 2, 3 and 4 members unless you deem a member’s position critical to the maintenance of public health and safety. Part B allows members who are at least age 55 and have 25 years or more of service credit to retire without a benefit reduction.  We assume that most Local 828 members will fall into Part B

Members whose employer offers both parts of the program, and who meet the eligibility requirements of both parts, must choose between the two. They can have either part, but not both.

Employers that participate in the New York State and Local Employees’ Retirement System can elect to provide Part A incentive benefits to certain members on or before August 31, 2010.

Employers that elect to participate in Part A must target positions as eligible for the incentive. If there are more employees interested in the incentive than positions targeted in that title, the law requires that eligibility shall be determined by seniority. Employers are not required to eliminate the targeted positions if they have developed a savings plan. The plan must demonstrate that replacement employees’ base salaries result in a minimum savings of 50 percent of the targeted employees’ combined two-year salaries during the following two years.

Benefit Description

Part A provides eligible employees with one additional month of service credit for each year of service credit as of the date of retirement. The maximum amount of additional service credit provided under Part A is three years.

The Open Period

Any employer that adopts Part A of Chapter 105 must establish an “open period” during which eligible employees can retire and be entitled to incentive benefits. The open period must be at least 30 days but not more than 90 days. Additionally, it cannot begin before June 2, 2010 and cannot extend beyond December 31, 2010.

Formal Adoption Procedures

Counties, cities, towns and villages must enact a local law in accordance with Municipal Home Rule Law, and the rules and regulations established by the New York State Department of State. The enactment must be completed no later than August 31, 2010. Local laws must be filed with the Department of State in accordance with its regulations.

Employers must file a certified copy of that local law with the Retirement System. (The original law must be filed with the Department of State.) Please indicate the type of incentive (Part A or Part B) on the local law.

The certified copy of the local law must be accompanied by an affidavit stating whether employees are eligible for a separate, employer-provided incentive through a collective bargaining agreement, or by any other arrangement with their employer, and if the employer will allow employees to collect both benefits. The affidavit must also indicate the payment option selected by the employer.

If an employer does provide a separate incentive and will not allow their employees to collect both benefits, employees who wish to receive the benefits of Part A must waive their rights to the employer-provided incentive. The employer must send the Retirement System a list of the names, Social Security numbers and registration numbers of those employees along with a copy of each member’s waiver. Retirement incentive payments will not be made until a copy of the waiver is on file with the Retirement System.

Incentive Cost for Part A

At the conclusion of the incentive program, the Retirement System will calculate the cost for each employer that participated in Part A. Employers can choose to pay the cost in one lump sum or in five annual installments with the first installment due February 1, 2012. The estimated annual cost may be determined by multiplying the annual salary of those anticipated to retire by the appropriate rate. That figure should then be multiplied by five to determine the total five-year cost.

Age 55/25-year Retirement Benefit (Part B)

Employers that participate in the New York State and Local Employees’ Retirement System can elect to provide Part B incentive benefits to certain members on or before September 1, 2010.

Benefit Description

Part B allows Tier 2, 3 and 4 members who are at least age 55 and have 25 or more years of service to retire without a benefit reduction. All employees who meet the age and service requirements and retire during the open period established by their employer are eligible for the benefit unless the chief executive officer or the governing board determines that the employee’s position is critical to the maintenance of public health and safety.  Any individual denied may request a review of that decision under Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules. Employers must submit a list of excluded employees by the beginning of their open period. If a list is not received by this date, employees who are otherwise eligible for this benefit will not be denied.

Employers must file a certified copy of that local law with the New York State and Local Retirement System. (The original law must be filed with the Department of State.) Please indicate the type of incentive (Part A or Part B) on the local law.

Incentive Cost for Part B

At the conclusion of the incentive program, the Retirement System will calculate the cost for each employer that participated in Part B. Employers can choose to pay the cost in one lump sum or in five annual installments with the first installment due February 1, 2012. The estimated annual cost may be determined by multiplying the annual salary of those anticipated to retire by the appropriate rate. That figure should then be multiplied by five to determine the total five-year cost.

Detailed eligibility requirements are provided under Member Eligibility Requirements & Exclusions. For questions regarding the 2010 Retirement Incentive Programs provided by Chapter 105, email or contact Mary Ellen Kutey, Assistant Director, Member & Employer Services Bureau at (518) 474-0167.

Here are some more FAQ's that your EMPLOYER is asking the NYS Retirement System:

How do I elect to participate in the incentive?

You must enact a local law or, if you are not empowered to enact law, pass a resolution. The enactment/adoption must be on or before July 30, 2010 for educational employers or August 31, 2010 for State and other participating employers. You can download a Sample of a Local Law .

Do I have to adopt both Part A and Part B?

No. You can adopt either or both parts.

If I adopt Part A and Part B, can my eligible employees receive both?

No. Employees can be eligible for Part A and Part B, but can only receive one part of the incentive. If you adopt Part A and Part B and the open periods overlap, your eligible employees will receive the greater benefit. However, if the open periods do not overlap, your employees must choose the part they wish to receive.

How long must the open period be?

An open period for Part A must be at least 30 days in length but not more than 90 days. Part B open periods must be 90 days in length. All open periods must occur during the time frames specified in the legislation. Please see the detailed information for your employer type in the navigation for specific dates.

If I target a position and the employee in that position retires, can I hire someone to fill that position?

State employers must eliminate the position unless this position can be filled by the appointment, transfer or reassignment of another State employee. The former position of that State employee must then be eliminated. Please note, educational employers, municipalities, SUNYs for unclassified employees (faculty) and community colleges can rehire someone to fill that position, but they are required to demonstrate that they will achieve a 50 percent savings over a two-year period.

We are offering our own retirement incentive. Can our employees have both our local incentive and either Part A or Part B?

Yes, if the employer elects to allow its employees to accept both the local and the State provided incentive. If an employer does not elect to allow its employees to have both, employees must file a written statement agreeing to waive any right to a local incentive with you. You must file a copy of this waiver with us. You can download a blank Local Incentive Employee Waiver form for this purpose.

Who determines whether an employee is eligible for Part A?

As the employer, you determine whether an employee can participate in Part A. Only members in positions you target as eligible for Part A (and who meet the other eligibility requirements) can retire with Part A.

What is active service?

*For the 2010 Retirement Incentive Program, active service is defined as:

*Being paid on the payroll

*On a leave of absence with pay

*On another approved leave without pay not to exceed 12 weeks from February 1, 2010 to the beginning of the open period

*The period of time between the end of the June 2010 school term through August 31, 2010

*The employee is employed on a school year basis

*The employee was otherwise in active service on February 1, 2010

Is Part B a targeted incentive?

No. However, if you elect to participate, you can deem certain positions critical to public health and safety. Members in these positions would be excluded from retiring under Part B. All other members who are at least age 55 and have 25 or more years of service credit can retire under Part B.

Will members retiring with the incentive receive any extra service credit?

Only if they retire under Part A. Part B does not provide any additional service credit.

What should I consider in determining eligibility for inclusion in the incentive?

Eligibility for inclusion in the incentive should be determined by seniority.

Who do I contact if I have additional questions or need help?

For more information, please contact the NYS and Local Retirement System Call Center toll-free at 1-866-805-0990 or go to their website.


Albany, N.Y.-- Just moments ago, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has told the state's Working Families Party he will not seek the pro-labor group's endorsement for governor, instead embracing the more conservative Independence Party.  Citing the ongoing federal investigation of the WFP, the campaign of Democratic gubernatorial candidate announced it will not submit his name for consideration at the party’s upcoming convention.

The move is a serious blow to the Party, which must poll at least 50,000 votes in the upcoming gubernatorial contest to maintain its ballot line, the major source of its political clout. Cuomo left open the possibility of re-visiting the issue in September.

Despite its formidable power within New York City and Albany, the WFP has been through one crisis after another and is currently under federal investigation. This week it accepted several internal reforms suggested by former Chief State Judge Judith Kaye.

Most recently the Party has been leading the campaign to win paid sick days for New York City's private sector workforce. WFP officials say at their Buffalo confab this weekend they'll designate a candidate for governor.

In 2008, the WFP played a critical role in the Democratic takeover of the state Senate. 


New York City--  On Wednesday, June 2, former Rep. Rick Lazio became state Republicans’ designated candidate for governor as his chief rival, Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy, failed to gain a spot on the GOP primary ballot. Lazio also won the Conservative Party endorsement just a few days earlier.

Some observers may remember Lazio as the floundering New York Senate candidate who ran against Hillary Clinton in 2000. Lazio got trounced by a 55 percent to 43 percent margin.  Lazio was first elected to Congress to serve the 2nd District in New York (Suffolk County) in 1992.  He served through 2001.

After a tense convention vote in NYC, Lazio said the nomination means he will turn his campaign to the troubled state Capitol and the quest to end the days of Albany’s dysfunction.

Lazio, 52, who described himself as an Albany outsider, said Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo is not the answer to the state’s problems. He accused Cuomo — a heavy favorite against him, polls show — of being “too political for too long” and said Albany could not take four more years of Democrats holding all statewide offices.

“The people deserve more than politicians who choose to cling to power. The people are looking for new leaders who are not part of the culture of Albany,” Lazio said at the convention.

Lazio formally introduced Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards as his pick for lieutenant governor outside the Capitol on May 21.

But Lazio may face a Republican primary challenger yet: Carl Paladino — Buffalo real-estate tycoon, the guy who compared healthcare to 9/11, adulterer, and porn aficionado — has vowed to collect the 15,000 signatures needed to get on the ballot.

Lazio and the state workforce

According to his website, Rick Lazio issued this statement on Governor Paterson's decision to include furloughs in one of his budget extenders:

Rick Lazio said, “Governor Paterson has offered a way to prevent New York from defaulting on payments next month. Democrats and union bosses are obligated to decide to accept this choice or offer another sustainable reduction in the labor costs to the state. We need responsible leadership from Albany and the public employee unions to reduce spending.”

He added, “That’s why I’ve called for eliminating member items, cutting legislative support spending, freezing state salaries and shrinking the size of the state workforce. With the budget now more than a month late, it’s clear that we need sweeping and fundamental change if we’re going to have the kind of government the people want and deserve. I will be a Governor who provides that change,” concluded Lazio.

On June 3, Lazio defended Governor Paterson’s layoff plan, and pointed boney fingers at CSEA and PEF. Lazio’s congressional report on civil rights for LGBT workers is weak. According to, he supported NAFTA, Gingrich’s Contract for America, and privatizing Social Security.

Education is the final key pillar of Lazio’s gubernatorial platform. Lazio calls for merit pay for teachers and an end to “rubber rooms” so that incompetent teachers can be fired. He supports ending the cap on charter schools as a way to increase competition and wants to provide tax credits for after-school programs for “at risk” kids.

Will Lazio self-implode again?

Lazio was dogged during the 2000 senatorial campaign with questioning by the SEC into his stock option transactions (e.g., Quick & Reilly, Monsanto, U.S. Filter).  After Lazio responded to the inquiry, the SEC took no further action.  By the way, Monsanto is a notorious anti-labor enthusiast, who has poured millions of dollars in the fight to prevent workers from organizing. 

We at the Voice Reporter remember a decisive moment in that senate race which led to the collapse of his campaign. It came during a September 13, 2000 debate where he left his podium, walked over to Clinton with a piece of paper that he called the "New York Freedom From Soft Money Pledge" and demanded she sign it.  Clinton refused. 

Some debate viewers were turned off by Lazio's demeanor towards Clinton– and as a result, Clinton's support among women solidified and most knowledgeable voters knew right then that he was unelectable.  Many Albany insiders are saying under their breath today that they are just waiting for his campaign to self-implode again. As one credible Republican source told the Voice Reporter, “It’s just a matter of time.”

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Rochester, N.Y. – Members of The Rochester Finger Lakes Chapter of Pride At Work, AFL-CIO, will team up with the local PBS affiliate WXXI on June 9 to volunteer by taking telephone pledges at the annual television membership drive that began on June 1.  PAW dues paying members come from both the public and private sectors, many of them belonging to bargaining units in CSEA, IBEW, Federation of Social Workers, SEIU and PEF.

Bess Watts, President of the local chapter says, “Our members understand that partnering with community organizations and nonprofits that share our vision of a working world free of discrimination plays a crucial role in the overall success of the labor movement.  Every part of WXXI’s many endeavors to present music, culture, education and special events benefit the whole community, and we want to thank them for the years of LGBT inclusive programming by volunteering during these tough fiscal times.”

During the month of June, WXXI will broadcast several programs of interest to the labor and LGBT communities, including the documentaries, Out in the Silence and Everyone and Anyone.  They will air at 8:00 and 10:00 pm respectively in the Rochester market on Tuesday, June 8.

Pride At Work are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender labor advocates, and our straight allies. We organize mutual support between the organized Labor Movement and the LGBT Community for social and economic justice. We oppose all forms of discrimination on the job and in our unions based on sex, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, race, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, religion or political views.