Rochester-Genesee Valley Area Labor Federation


Each week, we take a look at the biggest friends and foes of labor. We celebrate the workers winning big and small battles, and we shame the companies or people trying to deny working people their rights. Read more >>>

Every week, we bring you a roundup of the top news and commentary about issues and events important to working families. Here’s this week’s Working People Weekly List. Read more >>>

Labor Day Parade 2016

Join us on June 23rd for great food and friends!

 The Rochester & Genesee Valley Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO welcomes a new Executive Vice President! 

Good from Bad Water

Union members have been helping out Flint, Michigan, residents during its water crisis. Read the full article>>>

 Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As the new Lead Field Organizer for the RGALF, I want to take the time to thank Erin Young for her many years of service. Her efforts have introduced an "unquantifiable" amount of worth to the labor movement . We embrace this transition on extremely great terms, and have been working together to make sure that all issues and items are seamless moving forward.

Please see her letter below.

The Very Best Regards,

Amorette Shaw, Lead Field Organizer, RGVALF, AFL-CIO

 Fighting the Double-Standard in New York State Before it Costs More Jobs

By David Young Jr.


 Fight for Fifteen Day of Protest
Rochester, New York
November 10, 2015

Statement of Bruce Popper
President, Rochester and Vicinity Labor Council, AFL-CIO
Vice-president, 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East

Local and Federal Issues Merge in the Bigger Picture

 By David Young Jr.

I know that you have not heard from me for a while, and for good reason. The battles we are facing in upcoming months will make history not just in our towns, but in our state and our country. I do not mean to sound melodramatic, which is truly not in my nature, but there is really no other way to stress the importance of what could potentially occur in quite a short amount of time.
Our focus has been on all fronts, which presents a serious priority issue. Since the release of the NYS budget, there is a list of issues affecting our trades that remain unresolved and must be discussed. These issues involve the scaffold law (which rumor has will not be coming up in this legislative session), design build (which has been granted on bridges and parks) and numerous others which may or may not eventually affect us here in the western part of state, but will be addressed in my communications when appropriate.
But what I find most troubling is what is going on with the recent trade agreement (the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP) as well as recent local politics involving the Ginna Nuclear Power Plant in Wayne County. When you break down the power plays dictating the conversation both in local and national media, it leaves little power in the hands of the local people in each region that such important decisions directly affect. It is scary just how hard we could be hit by these choices, which makes it easy for me to direct this statement to anyone and everyone reading this: If you think this will not have ramifications to the world you live in the way you know it, than think again.

 As the token Labor Representative on the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Commission I am not surprised at the ignorance toward this initiative encouraged and fostered mainly by the historically right wing, pro-business, and anti-Labor Gannett corporation. They have encouraged the unrealistic belief that we have the ability to end poverty in our community in the face of National and Global policies that have redistributed the wealth created by workers to the one percent. The bosses of the Gannett corporation have encouraged and supported the policies that for decades are about redistribution to those that need it the least. Please do not confuse my critique of corporate Gannett with the excellent reporters and journalists who can hold there own with any reporters in larger markets. They do an excellent job.

 There has been much discussion about the extreme high poverty levels in our county, with much higher numbers in the City of Rochester. For many months, the discussion revolved around the question of how we got here; how is this possible in a city that not just a two decades ago was seen as the land of opportunity and jobs aplenty? It was unfathomable to some, but to union leaders here in Monroe County, it is just flat out unacceptable.

David Young Jr., President of the Rochester Building & Construction Trades Council and Business Manager of the IBEW Local 86 in Rochester address the issues involving the nation's need for infrastrure improvement

Organized Labor in New York has been mobilizing to change or oppose a number of items in the Governor's budgets and legislation advocated by the Governor designed to implement budget initiatives. As a member of the New York State AFL_CIO Executive Council representing 2.5 million union members, their families, and retirees we oppose S2010, A3010 Budget, "The Education Opportunity Act".

This legislation amends various sections of the Education Law to, among other things, remove collective bargaining protections for school district personnel, strip teachers of basic due process rights with regard to disciplinary proceedings and evaluation proceedings and removes any negotiated and objective measuring standards from the teacher evaluation process. Further, the bill allows for privatization of public education by dramatically increasing the allowed number of charter schools in the state and allowing for the takeover of underperforming schools by private entities.

Rather than address the problems that public schools face, in too many ways, this bill abandons them. Nowhere is it clearer than in the plan to allow for the negating of collective bargaining agreements in underperforming public schools and eliminating due process for our teachers when it come to discipline. These proposals single out teachers and all other school employees and places blame on them for the myriad of problems that frustrate progress in education every day.

Over the past several years as Executive Director of our local Chapter of the AFL-CIO here in Rochester and surrounding 11 counties, I have seen a predicable amount of activity year after year during election season. Typically, those “off-season” years of local elections is the slowest, has the lowest turnout, and a serious lack of volunteers.
The problem is, I am not the only one who has noticed this trend. The ever-destructive American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), funded by special interest multi-billionaires like the Koch brothers have not only noticed, but are currently seizing this as an opportunity to move their agenda forward with military-like strategic precision. And to be perfectly honest, I don’t know how else to warn the general populace in our area about the potential dangers of ignoring local politics at this point in time other than to wave my arms in the air in every media outlet that will allow me to.

A letter from Erin Young (RGVALF) to the Editor of the Democrat and Chronicle

February 2015

 NY State Budget: Why the Governor's proposals not in the best interests of children

 President of the Rochester Building & Construction Trades and Business Manager of the IBEW Local 86, David Young, Jr. comments on our concerns for 2015...

“FAIR WAGES FOR FAIR WORK” A Public Hearing on Low Wage Work by the Education Committee of the Rochester and Vicinity Labor Council, AFL-CIO November 8, 2014 Remarks of Bruce Popper Executive Vice-president Rochester and Genesee Valley Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO Vice-president 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East

View the 2014 political endorsements of the Rochester & Genesee Valley Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO!!

 On Labor Day , we remember all of America's working people that keep our nation running. As we celebrate America's workers, the challenges faced by working people are not being addressed. The Great Recession that began in December 2007 and collapsed our economy in September of 2008 , with the bursting of the housing bubble based on fraud, has officially ended. However, the jobs that came back pay 23% less than before the recession, and unemployment, especially for minorities, remain at depression levels, while 30 million Americans are working but are in poverty. Wall Street Executives and Bankers, who are responsible for this mess are back on top while America's workers, who are blameless, are forced to pay for it with home foreclosures, job loss from off shoring and/or privatization, lower wages, cuts to food stamps mostly affecting children, and cuts to unemployment benefits. Read more >>>

(By James Bertolone, as seen in the Rochester Business Journal, 3/28/14)

Fear, uncertainty and doubt—or just FUD—is a well-known marketing technique used in business and politics to undermine and harm your competition. In the last three decades we have seen FUD used to attack the people who provide public services, so that big corporations can grab as much of our tax dollars as possible.

We strongly urge you to support funding for the Workforce Development Institute for operations and programming this year.

Feel free to view a template/sample letter to your local legislators urging their support for these critical prgrams to our area.


President Barack Obama continues to break a campaign promise on trade agreements. While campaigning for the Democratic nomination in 2008, both Obama and Hillary Clinton promised to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. Afterward, that promise was quickly tossed in the trash, and the neo-liberal trade model continues to destroy opportunity, wages and our middle class.

After nearly four years of negotiations, the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade and investment negotiations are on the brink of finalization. Although government trade negotiators have spoken of the sense of urgency in order to make “needed compromises” through “fast-track” trade deals, what they rarely speak of is the urgent need to make trade policy choices that will have immediate, positive impacts on the lives of people they are supposed to be representing.

In the wake of the government shutdown-at an estimated cost to our economy of $24 billion, not to mention the threat of a default on the full faith and credit of America-I was mildly surprised to see the Senate pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. ENDA would prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. It is currently legal in more than 30 states to discriminate, even firing someone, based on sexual orientation. Of course, there is not much chance that the speaker of the House will allow a vote for equality in the House of Representatives.

The latest video from the Electrical Workers (IBEW) shows that skilled union workers were among the first on the scene when Superstorm Sandy hit, and they helped get power back to the families affected by the hurricane. The advertisement is airing in New York and New Jersey. Read more >>>

 Twenty years ago, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was signed into law. At the time, advocates painted a rosy picture of booming U.S. exports creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs, and economic development in Mexico, which would bring the struggling country in line with its wealthier northern neighbors. Two decades later, those promises have failed to materialize. U.S. trade deficits with both Canada and Mexico have surged, crippling domestic industries, prompting massive job displacement and the replacement of living wage union jobs with jobs in sectors with low pay, minimal benefits and no job security. Wealth disparity among Mexico and the United States and Canada has increased. In all three countries, wages are stagnant and workers face increased attacks on their fundamental rights. Read more >>>

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