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The Cattaraugus-Allegany AFL-CIO Labor Council Will Host A “We Are One!” Rally In Olean’s Lincoln Park On Tuesday, April 19th/Public Event Will Bring Attention To Labor’s Fight To Create Good-Paying Jobs & Battle Against Attack On Workers’ Rights

Published Friday, April 8, 2011 1:00 am
by Tom Campbell/Editor-Publisher

(OLEAN) – The Cattaraugus-Allegany AFL-CIO Central Labor Council will hold a “We Are One!” rally in support of job creation and against the current attack on Workers’ Rights that is taking place across the United States in Olean’s Lincoln Park on Tuesday, April 19th, which is located across from City Hall on the corner of East State and South Union streets, Cattaraugus-Allegany Council President Karen Fenner tells WNYLaborToday.com.

“We’re already getting a lot of support from our affiliated Unions,” Fenner told WNYLaborToday.com late Thursday.  The Cattaraugus-Allegany Central Labor Council counts 10 affiliated member Unions that combine to represent 10,000 Union Members across Cattaraugus and Allegany counties in the Southern Tier.  Fenner, a member of Olean’s United Steelworkers (USW) Local 5429 for the past 13 years, became the first woman elected president of the Council earlier this year.

“We want to let our elected representatives in the City of Olean, as well as in the Cattaraugus County Legislature, know that Organized Labor is standing up for and will fight for the need to create good-paying jobs and to stop the attack on Workers’ Rights that started in Wisconsin and is spreading to other States across the country,” Fenner said.

Among those area Unions that have already committed to taking part in the Olean rally are the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA), the New York State Teachers (NYSUT) and the United Steelworkers (USW).  Buffalo-headquartered CSEA Western Region 6 President Flo Tripi is scheduled to be one of the main speakers at the rally, Fenner said.

“We’re also hoping this rally will work to grab the attention and energize all Working People in the Olean area, as well as throughout Cattaraugus County, and motivate them to get more involved in this fight,” Fenner said.

The Cattaraugus-Allegany Central Labor Council and its affiliated Unions have a good working relationship with Olean Mayor Linda Witte, who is a Union Member herself with the New York Nurses Association (NYSNA), Fenner said. 

“Having Linda Witte as mayor and as a Union Leaders provides us with a unique opportunity, especially at the bargaining table, because as a Union Leader, she also knows the needs of Working People,” she added.

Ironically, Witte - like Fenner - holds a similar distinction, as she was the first woman ever elected mayor of the Cattaraugus County City.

Taking over for Hobart “Hobie” Rhinehart, who had guided the Cattaraugus-Allegany Labor Council for the past 15 years, Fenner’s immediate goals have been to involve more area Labor Unions in the Council, as well as beginning to reach out to Young Union Members in order to get them involved in the Southern Tier Labor Movement. 

In January, Fenner told WNYLaborToday.com she was pleased to be on the receiving end of having outgoing Rhinehart “stick around” and provide his many years of experience to Fenner as the transition to new leadership continues to take place.

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