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Rochester & Genesee Valley AFL-CIO Area Labor Federation Praises Agreement Between Occupy Rochester And City Officials/Organized Labor Also Hails Settlement To Facilitate Peaceful Protest On Critical Economic Justice Issues

Published Friday, November 11, 2011 11:00 am
by The Rochester Area Labor Federation

(ROCHESTER) - The Rochester & Genesee Valley AFL-CIO Area Labor Federation, whose 300 affiliated Union Locals combine to represent 100,000 Union Members in the Rochester and Finger Lakes Regions of New York State, are praising an agreement reached between Occupy Rochester and Mayor Thomas Richards that facilitates continued peaceful protests on critical economic justice issues, as well as addresses concerns involving safety.

Rochester & Genesee Valley Area Labor Federation Labor Leaders had strongly condemned the recent arrests of nearly 50 Occupy Rochester participants that took place in Washington Square Park over the past two weeks, including young Union Activists.  A Labor Federation Delegation subsequently met with Mayor Richards and requested the City stop arresting peaceful protesters, consult with other Upstate mayors where Occupy protests have been accommodated and propose a reasonable alternative that would allow a round-the-clock demonstration to occur.

After the Mayor’s Office and Occupy Rochester Representatives reached an agreement, Union Officials expressed both praise and relief.

“The settlement is a win for our community and a win for the First Amendment.  I want to thank the mayor, Rochester Police Department Chief Sheppard, the New York Civil Liberties Union and Occupy Rochester Representatives for reaching an agreement that both allows peaceful protest to happen and also addresses the concerns of City Officials about safety and the appropriate use of City park space.” Rochester & Genesee Valley Area Labor Federation President Jim Bertolone said.

“I also want to recognize the professionalism of the men and women of the Rochester Police Department and the peaceful behavior of the protesters.  In spite of the many civil disobedience arrests, there were no incidents or violence on the part of protesters or police.  Now our police force can get back to focusing on fighting crime and making the streets of our neighborhoods safer,” Bertolone added.

Meanwhile, delegates to the Rochester Labor Council welcomed Occupy Rochester Members to their monthly meeting and passed a resolution that strongly supports continued protests focused on economic justice and the “99%” theme, it was also announced.

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