Organized Labor Leads Effort To Convince Verizon To Expand Its Fiber Optic FiOS Service In Buffalo/CWA Local 1122 President James Wagner Says: “The Future Of Buffalo Is Much More Bright When Verizon Turns On The Light And Offers FiOS”
Supporting The “Don’t Bypass Buffalo Verizon, Build FiOS Now!” Campaign, Buffalo AFL-CIO President Michael Hoffert Says: “The Decision Verizon’s Made To Bypass Buffalo Will Have A Direct Impact On The Future Of This Region”
(BUFFALO) – As the Telecommunication Giant Verizon focuses - for the most part - on the suburbs, Buffalo AFL-CIO Central Labor Council President Michael Hoffert and CWA (Communications Workers of America) Local 1122 President James Wagner today joined with a host of area Elected Officials and Community Advocates to call for Verizon’s FiOs ultra-fast Internet Service to be brought into Buffalo’s Urban Sectors.
Joining with Organized Labor to support the Urban-wide “Don’t Bypass Buffalo Verizon, Build FiOS Now!” Campaign (www.Don’tBypassBuffalo.com) was a host of Elected Leaders – including Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, New York State Senator Tim Kennedy, State Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Buffalo City Council Members Darius Pridgen and Demone Smith, as well as a number of Community Advocates, including: The Coalition for Economic Justice: the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and the Community Action Organization. All stood with a number of other concerned citizens who took part in a morning news conference that was held outside Verizon’s Downtown Buffalo headquarters to publicly ask every City Resident to sign an on-line pledge urging the Tele-Communications Giant to commit to bringing FiOS into the City of Buffalo.
“The future of (Buffalo) is much more bright when Verizon turns on the light and offers FiOs,” CWA Local 1122 President Wagner (pictured above) at the news conference. Three area CWA Locals - 1122, 1115 and 1177 – represent nearly 750 Verizon Workers across Erie, Genesee and Niagara counties, as well as across the Southern Tier, including Field Technicians, Central Office Technicians and Clerical Staff.
Buffalo AFL-CIO Council President Hoffert (pictured above), whose Central Labor Council’s affiliated member Unions combine to represent 80,000 Union Workers in Erie County, said he knows the worth of what such a Hi-Tech Communications Service would bring to Buffalo as a sitting board member on the Erie County Industrial Development Agency (ECIDA): “Working with the ECIDA, I’ve learned one of the areas that is often overlooked in economic development is investment in small business and entrepreneurs. Access to Twenty-First Century technology is necessary for these businesses, the true lifeblood of our local economy, to survive, compete and prosper. Our workforce is committed to a better economy and more jobs and opportunities for residents in the City of Buffalo. The future of that economy includes Verizon FiOS and the decision they’ve made to bypass Buffalo will have a direct impact on the future of this region.”
In a Coalition press release, it was stated: “Verizon’s FiOS service is a cutting-edge technology that brings ultra-fast internet and superior video programming over fiber optic cables that run directly into customers’ homes. While Verizon is deploying FiOS throughout many of the suburbs of Buffalo, they are not building FiOS in the City of Buffalo. The residents of Amherst, Tonawanda, Kenmore, Orchard Park, Hamburg, West Seneca and Lackawanna, where Verizon has built FiOS, are, taken as a whole, more affluent and less diverse than Buffalo residents. The deployment of broadband technologies is a key to economic redevelopment in the City, especially since health care and higher education, both very dependent on cutting edge technologies, are leading employers in our area. If Verizon continues to bypass Buffalo, residential consumers, children, and area businesses won’t be able to thrive in the Twenty-First Century economy.”
WNYLaborToday.com Editor’s Note: Buffalo AFL-CIO President Michael Hoffert delivered the following statement during today’s “Don’t Bypass Buffalo Verizon, Build FiOS Now!” Campaign news conference in Downtown Buffalo:
“Good Morning. My name is Mike Hoffert and I am the President of the Buffalo AFL-CIO Central Labor Council - which represents eighty-thousand Local Workers. I also serve as a member of the Erie County Industrial Development Corporation and I understand the need for new development in the Buffalo area - and more importantly - this region. The region’s success actually is dependent on a thriving city, so we can't allow our city to be bypassed. Working with the ECIDA, I’ve learned that one of the areas that are often overlooked in economic development is investment in small business and entrepreneurs. Access to Twenty-First Century technology is necessary for these businesses, the true lifeblood of our local economy - to survive, compete, and prosper. Our workforce is committed to a better economy and more jobs and opportunities for residents in the City of Buffalo. The future of that economy includes Verizon FiOS and the decision they have made to bypass Buffalo will have a direct impact on the future of this region. Corporations like Verizon are steadily growing in their wealth and the average Working Class and Middle-Income Citizen (especially those in the urban core of a city like Buffalo) do not benefit from that corporate wealth. Our success as a city is currently being hampered by Verizon's suburban only development strategy. Our potential for success as a region rests in part on growth in the leading industries our region boasts such as Health Care and Higher Education. But we need the same opportunities our suburbs have to really capitalize on these assets. So with that said - we stand in solidarity with those gathered here today to say to Verizon: ‘Don’t ByPass Buffalo - Verizon Build FiOS Now!’”