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Sunday Labor Column: Welcomes Aboard Our Newest Union Subscribers: The 400 Members Of OPEIU Local 212 & Erie County Exec-Elect Poloncarz Names The Western New York Labor Federation’s Patty DeVinney To Transition Team

Also… UB Salutes The Buffalo Building Trades, Buffalo Newspaper Guild Members Ratify New Two-Year Contract At The News & Who Was That Labor Leader Grilling Hot Dogs At The Tailgate For The Buffalo Trades Outside UB Stadium On Saturday?

Published Sunday, November 20, 2011 7:00 pm
Sunday Labor Column: Welcomes Aboard Our Newest Union Subscribers: The 400 Members Of OPEIU Local 212 & Erie County Exec-Elect Poloncarz Names The Western New York Labor Federation’s Patty DeVinney To Transition Team

News, Notes & A Bunch Of Observations Made While Covering The Western New York Labor Community Over The Past Several Days: Welcomes Aboard OPEIU Local 212 would like to welcome aboard our newest Union Subscriber: OPEIU (Office and Professional Employees International Union) Local 212, which represents nearly 400 Workers at Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Western New York.  Your Regional, On-Line Labor Newspaper would like to thank Local 212 President Caroline Muszynski and the Union’s Officers and Staff for making the decision to underwrite a one-year, paid subscription for Local 212’s entire Membership.  This now brings the total to seven area Labor Unions whose Executive Boards have made a decision to underwrite the cost of a one-year subscription to for their entire Memberships, including: The International Union of Operating Engineers with 2,000; Painters District Council 4 with 1,000 (which includes Painters Local 43 with 200 - the first Union to make a decision to do so); Sheet Metal Workers Local 71 with 300 (Local 71 Business Manager John Helak also thought Your Regional, On-Line Labor Newspaper was so important to Organized Labor that he convinced the Sheet Metal Workers Statewide Council to take another 120, one-year subscriptions to; IBEW Local 106 with 200; and CWA Local 1117 with 120.  Combined with our newest Viewer/Readers - who are making the decision to subscribe on a daily basis - now has around 5,000 paid subscribers.   Our goal is to reach 50,000 paid subscribers in the coming months so Your Regional, On-Line Labor Newspaper can expand our Labor News Coverage, create, produce and broadcast a Labor News TV Program off our Front Page and offer a weekly, one-hour-long Labor News Radio Program on a major Buffalo-area AM Station.  Should be successful in reaching these goals, no other Labor Community across the entire United States could boast of having a bonafide, on-line Labor Newspaper, a Labor News TV Program and a Labor News Radio Program.  With such a high level of support from Organized Labor, its Members and our growing list of Viewers/Readers, is confident we’ll reach those goals.  On that note, if your Union or Labor Organization is interested in doing what these area Labor Unions have done, we ask you contact Editor-Publisher Tom Campbell at 716-681-2300 or 716-440-8051 or via e-mail at  If anyone you know would like to become an individual subscriber to, send them to this direct link:  Through a secured site, your $5 yearly subscription can be charged automatically to your credit card.  You’ll also be able to create your own individual password to gain immediate access to’s Labor News content in just seconds and you’ll be on your way to getting a variety of Labor News not found anywhere else across the Western New York mainstream media, as well as in many media outlets across the country. thanks you in advance for your consideration and support!


The Western New York AFL-CIO Labor Federation’s Patty DeVinney Named To Erie County Executive-Elect Poloncarz’s Transition Team

It was good to see Western New York AFL-CIO Area Labor Federation Field Coordinator and former Communications Workers of America-Represented Nurse Patty DeVinney was named to the Transition Team announced by Erie County Executive-Elect Mark Poloncarz over the weekend.  DeVinney was the only representative from Organized Labor named to the 14-Member Transition Team.  However, it was refreshing to see Poloncarz – the Labor-Endorsed Democrat who defeated incumbent Republican Erie County Executive Chris Collins in the November Election - included a representative of Organized Labor on his Team.  After dealing with a County Executive that’s been nothing short of the most anti-Worker/Anti-Union Elected Official that Erie County’s Labor Unions have ever dealt with, it’s expected Poloncarz will deal with Organized Labor in a fair fashion when it comes to sitting down at the negotiating table over new contracts.  As they’ve publicly stated, that’s what Organized Labor was hoping for after unsuccessfully attempting to negotiate new deals with Collins, a Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker clone.  It will be very interesting to see how things progress after Poloncarz is sworn in on January 1st, but you can be sure that Organized Labor - especially Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) Local 815, which represents County Workers - is more than looking forward to forging a constructive, fair and positive relationship with the new County Executive.


The University At Buffalo Salutes The Buffalo Building & Construction Trades Council

It was also good to see both the University at Buffalo and the Buffalo Building & Construction Trades Council giving each other a public pat on the back on Saturday at the UB Bulls Football game against the Akron Zips at UB Stadium, in addition to UB President Satish Tripathi making the effort to spend some personal time with the Trades’ many individual Member Unions and Trades Leadership during a casual tailgate event held in a very big blue-and-white tent outside the stadium before the game.  Tripathi, who proved to be very down-to-earth during an interview with, had a number of very positive things to say about the Building Trades Leadership, their Members and the construction work they do on UB’s area campuses - and for the important role the Trades played in heavily lobbying New York State to make sure UB’s 20/20 Initiative was finally passed earlier this year – which not only means good things for UB, but also for the Building Trades Unions in terms of employment and construction projects.  Make sure you read’s Labor News Report that was headlined: The University At Buffalo Honors Unionized Construction Workers At Its ‘Made In Buffalo Day’ At UB Stadium/UB President Calls Building Trades “Excellent” & Thanks Them For The Role Trades Leadership Played In Making UB 20/20 Initiative Reality.  All in all, it was a great day for the Trades that featured a very public show of appreciation by UB for the Trades at UB Stadium on Made In Buffalo Day, where the Bulls bulldozed the Akron Zips by a score of 51-10.  Buffalo Trades President Paul Brown, IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) Labor Representative Judd Payne and Elevator Constructors Local 14 Business Manager Don Winkle were part of a Buffalo Trades contingent that was escorted to the 50-yard-line to take part in the coin toss before the game.  The Trades purchased a block of 900 tickets for the game – which UB Representatives told was the largest ever, single ticket purchase by an outside organization in the history of UB Football.  The Trades offered them to Unionized Construction Workers and their families.  Their tailgate party that was held inside a massive blue-and-white (UB’s colors) tent that was set up not too far from the entrance to UB Stadium, where Unionized Construction Workers and Trades Leadership enjoyed grilled hot dogs, potato chips and beverages before the game.  Also handed out to Trades Members were blue-knitted, Made In The USA hats that carried the lettering: Buffalo Building Trades, UB, SUCCESS.  “This works back and forth - they helped us and we’re here helping them,” IBEW Local 41’s Payne told  “We’re out here supporting the Bulls.  This is a small way of giving back and showing ‘our’ appreciation to UB.  We appreciate the decisions they’ve made to ‘Build Union.’  The man-hours our Unions have had here (on campus) are enormous.  For example, the IBEW has had more than two-hundred of our Members working out here and I know the Laborers have had more than one-hundred-thousand man hours and the Plasters ten-thousand (man hours).  It also allows us to build camaraderie between the member Unions of the Building Trades.”


And speaking of the Trades/UB Tailgate Party, that was Laborers Local 210 Business Manager Sam Capitano (pictured below) grilling the hot dogs while was in attendance.  Sam did a great job and made sure no one left without their hot dog buns toasted on the hot grill.  It was also good to see many of the individual Leaders of the Building Trades and their families in attendance, including the families of Trades President Brown and the Elevator Constructors’ Winkle. also saw Heat & Frost Insulators Local 4 Business Manager Bob Hess and Teamsters Local 449 President George Harrigan in attendance at the Tailgate, as well as interim Western New York AFL-CIO Area Labor President Richard Lipsitz.  



Congratulations To The Orchard Park Police Benevolent Association And Command Officers Association For Their Efforts In Maintaining Police Services In Orchard Park would like to pass along our congratulations to the Orchard Park Police Benevolent Association and the Orchard Park Command Officers Association for their successful efforts in helping maintain Police Services in Orchard Park.  On November 17th, the Town Board - which was considering closing a $1.3 million budget gap by cutting at least four department positions - voted 4-to-1 to restore funding to the Orchard Park Police Department in the Town’s 2012 Budget.  The two Police Unions joined together to hold a major rally in Orchard Park on November 2nd to call attention to the Town Board’s plans to make cuts to Police Services (See’s Labor News Coverage: Unionized Orchard Park Police Officers Fight Back, Reach Out To Town Residents For Support As Town Board Aims To Drastically Cut Department Services/Officers Charge Board With Making Budget Cuts That Will Drag Police Staffing Back to 1976 Levels).  I for one am sure that Orchard Park Residents/Taxpayers had never witnessed such a large public action that occurred that evening, including more than 100 protestors who carried signs to show their displeasure with the Town Board.  In addition, many of those Orchard Park Residents/Taxpayers took the time to attend the Town Board’s nightly meetings in order to physically voice their displeasure, which - in the end - carried a lot of weight.  As a result, the Orchard Park Town Board voted not to cut the Police Services that it had initially targeted.  Again, what transpired in Orchard Park shows what can be accomplished when Organized Labor rallies together and takes the time to truly educate and inform the general public, as well as mobilize its Members and their families to get involved in such a large public action - which helps sends that positive message just a bit further.


Buffalo Newspaper Guild Members Ratify New Two-Year Contract At The Buffalo News ran into Buffalo News Medical Reporter Henry Davis, who serves as president of the Buffalo Newspaper Guild, Saturday evening and learned that Union Members at Buffalo’s daily newspaper have ratified a new, two-year contract by a vote of 114-to-9 (See Your Regional, On-Line Labor Newspaper’s Labor News Report: Buffalo Newspaper Guild/CWA Local 31026 Reaches Tentative, Two-Year Agreement With The Buffalo News, Union Representatives Call New Agreement A “Good Contract”).  The contract includes no changes in News Guild Members’ Health Insurance and a cash bonus of $400 for part-timers and $800 for full-timers, Union Officials had said.  “This is a good contract considering the bleak state of the newspaper industry and the economy,” Guild President Davis added. “We came a long way since the start of bargaining in May with the threat of layoffs and wage reductions.”


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