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Pete Seeger heads union rally in Newburgh

Mar 03, 2011 12:53 pm

Legendary folksinger Pete Seeger is joining hundreds of area labor union supporters at a Hudson Valley Solidarity rally Thursday, March 3 at 4:30 p.m. at the Newburgh Teamster Hall on Stone Castle Road, as noted in a press release from the Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation AFL-CIO. According to Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation spokesperson Beth Soto, the rally is being organized in support of the Wisconsin public employees. “All working people should be concerned about the threat to the collective bargaining process not just in Wisconsin, but in other states as well.” Soto said that hundreds of area union members and supporters are expected at the rally, streaming in from as far north as the Adirondacks and as far south as New York City and Long Island. "If any employer, public or private sector, is experiencing profound financial difficulties, the union can negotiate wages and benefits," said Adrian Huff, Principal Officer of Teamsters Local 445. "However, the one thing we will never negotiate is our right to collective bargaining." Lee Cutler, the Secretary-Treasurer of New York State United Teachers, said “This is a moment in our nation's history as important as any struggle before. This Wisconsin attack on collective bargaining rights is also an attack on democracy and the middle class. We must all stand in solidarity with the public sector union members in Wisconsin as well as the courageous Democratic Senators whose heroic actions give us hope." Todd Diorio, Business Manager of Laborers Local 17 and President of Hudson Valley Building Trades said: “Every union must set their differences apart and focus on what is in front of us, and what’s in front of us now, is an attack from many against organized labor. Unions must think reasonable compromise and educate their members who their political allies are before it’s too late.” “Do you want to live in Pottersville or Bedford Falls?” asks John O’Malley, President of Hudson Catskill CLC and BA for CWA Local 1120. The Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation represents 113,000 union families across seven counties: Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Orange, Rockland, Sullivan and Ulster.