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Sunday Labor Column: The Cattaraugus-Allegany Central Labor Council Gets Ready To Hold A “We Are One!” Rally In Olean On Tuesday, Congrats To NABET-CWA’s Bob Hellwitz and American Labor Studies Center Paul Cole & Two Videos You Must Watch

Published Sunday, April 17, 2011 11:00 am
by Tom Campbell/Editor-Publisher

News, Notes & A Bunch Of Observations Made While Covering The Western New York Labor Community Over The Past Several Days:


First off - A reminder the Cattaraugus-Allegany AFL-CIO Central Labor Council will hold a “We Are One!” Rally against the current attack on Workers’ Rights that’s 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.  The rally starts at 5 p.m.  Cattaraugus-Allegany Council President Karen Fenner tells among those area Unions that have 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.  The Cattaraugus-Allegany 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 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,” says Fenner. would like to send out a round of Congratulations to National Association of Broadcast Employees & Technicians-Communications Workers of America (NABET-CWA) Local 25 Vice President Robert "Bob" Hellwitz – who posted on the Social Network Facebook that he’s received the Member of the Year Award from NABET-CWA Region 2 and 6. “I feel very humble!,” Hellwitz posted on his Facebook Page.  It’s a well-deserving honor for Bob, who’s a tireless Union Advocate who seems to be at every major Labor Meeting, Event & Rally in the Buffalo area. 


And speaking of Congratulations, would also like to pass along ours to Paul Cole, who served as Secretary/Treasurer for the New York State AFL-CIO from 1984 through 2005 and who is founder and executive director of the American Labor Studies Center (ALSC) - a not-for-profit organization that collects, evaluates and disseminates Labor History and Labor Studies Curriculum to K-12 teachers nationwide through its website:  Paul was recently honored by the New York State AFL-CIO, which dedicated one of its buildings on South Swan Street in Albany in his name.  “It was an incredible honor,” Cole tells  New York State AFL-CIO President Denis Hughes and Secretary-Treasurer Terrence Melvin issued a joint statement praising Cole: “The New York State AFL-CIO is proud to honor you by dedicating its 96 South Swan Street in your name, in recognition of your long and very distinguished career as a Labor Leader.  Words alone can never do justice to your contributions to this organization or to the Labor Movement in general.  Simply stated, the Working Men and Women of New York should be forever grateful that you chose to lead and not to follow.  Your career in the Labor Movement and your dedication to the cause of Organized Labor has set a lofty standard for all future leaders.  Congratulations.”  Cole held the second highest office in the New York State Labor Movement - Secretary-Treasurer of the 2.3 million-member New York State AFL-CIO - from 1984 through 2005.  He was elected Secretary-Treasurer Emeritus in December 2005.  Cole also served as a vice president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) from 1974 to January 2006 and was an assistant to the president of the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), as well as serving as political director of the New York State AFL-CIO.  Cole knows first-hand the importance of teaching Labor History in classrooms across New York State, first as a Social Studies Teacher for 23 years at Lewiston-Porter Senior High School here in Western New York in Niagara County and now as the founder of the ALSC, which is located at the Kate Mullany National Historic Site in Loudonville, New York.


If you haven’t watched it yet, encourages our Viewers/Readers to take a couple of minutes and go to our Featured Labor Video Cube that’s located in the Lower Fold of our Front/Home Page and watch Fight Back!  It’s from the United Steelworkers and if it doesn’t get you fired up, nothing will.  The corporate-led attacks on Workers’ Rights are coming from every level, in every state.  Across the Nation, Union Members and Working People are indeed standing up. And, if you're a Union Member, you need to watch another video viewed during this past week that involves a leaked anti-Union Home Depot presentation to its non-Unionized workforce.  You can watch it on the Internet via  In the video, an individual dressed in a Home Depot uniform says workers shouldn't be "paying the Union to get them jobs."  In the end, I believe this video underscores the point that Home Depot workers do need Union Representation.  I don't know about you, but Home Depot will no longer get any of my money.  Based on this video, I think there are much better places to spend it.


While on Facebook, received two interesting snippets via Facebook last week: How many people make more than $250,000 per year?  The short answer: Based on information from the Internal Revenue Service, fewer than 3% of tax returns (4 million returns out of 138 million total returns) claimed more than $200,000 in Adjusted Gross Income in Tax Year 2006 (more current data is not available).  By definition, the number making more than $250,000 must be less than 3% (since some will fall in the range between $200,000 and $250,000).  For more information, visit


And on that note, this from Facebook Friend and Retired Ironworker Dale Dumas: What’s behind Workers’ struggles in so many States?  Billionaires buying governors, for one.  Thousands of Michigan Workers, Students, Seniors and others waged a massive rally in the state Capitol against Republican Governor Rick Snyder’s proposed budget.  Snyder wants to cut $900 million from education and tax pensions, raise taxes for Low-Income Families and slash vital services - all while giving corporations a $1.7 billion tax break. The war on Working People and Workers’ Rights is expanding and if there’s any Union Member out there who does not believe it’s coming to their State, then think again.  All Working People, Union and non, must stand shoulder-to-shoulder to do battle with the Republican Party and the Wealthy, who are counting on the fact that you’re so dysfunctional and fractured that there’s no way you can come together and do so.  I know, like so many others in the Labor Movement, that’s not true…


And finally, this from Paul McGavis  - a CWA Verizon Retiree Activist who regularly forwards his thoughts to  Says Paul – “President Obama, in his speech, as usual, was criticized for not laying out the exact things he is proposing so the Republicans can start to lie about them.  They’re continuing to lie about everything they propose.  They don't care about anything you and I want and need, and will slash it all without hesitation.  Instead – they’re still proposing a tax cut for the wealthy.  Isn't that a clue?  Some cuts Obama proposed are tough, but they're also smart and surgical - helping us balance our books while still doing the right things to win the future.  President Obama's plan would protect the Middle Class, invest in our kids' education and make sure we don't protect the wealthiest Americans from the costs of reform at the expense of the most vulnerable.  You can't let them baloney you this election year like they just did in the last one.  Remember, the Supreme Court let them spend all the money they want on government and election publicity without disclosing by whom or what is being spent.  They are spending it every day.  You have to vote the facts, not the b.s.  You have to vote for the Middle Income Interests – THAT’S YOU!”


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