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Two Unions Affiliate With The Western New York AFL-CIO Area Labor Federation: An AFSCME Local Representing Erie 1 BOCES Employees & The Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation Of Television And Radio Artists

Published Thursday, August 1, 2019
by WNYLaborToday.com Editor-Publisher Tom Campbell
Two Unions Affiliate With The Western New York AFL-CIO Area Labor Federation: An AFSCME Local Representing Erie 1 BOCES Employees & The Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation Of Television And Radio Artists

(BUFFALO, NEW YORK) -  Two Labor Unions have newly-affiliated with the Western New York AFL-CIO Area Labor Federation (WNYALF): American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees (AFSCME)-represented Workers employed at Erie 1 BOCES (Board of Cooperative Educational Services) and the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), which represents Membership across the region.

The WNYALF is the local New York State AFL-CIO Umbrella Labor Organization that oversees Western New York’s five individual Central Labor Councils: Buffalo; Niagara-Orleans, Cattaraugus-Allegany; Dunkirk; and Jamestown.  Combined, the WNYALF has 140 Union Affiliates that combine to represent more than 140,000 Unionized Workers across the region.

“This is ‘fantastic and it is a big deal,’” WNYALF President Richard Lipsitz tells WNYLaborToday.com. “(SAG-AFTRA) ‘wanted to join’ our Labor Organization and ‘we want all’ Unions ‘to be part of our (Area Labor Federation) and to be a part of us’ (the Western New York Labor Movement).  The WNYALF ‘is growing, not losing’ (Affiliated Member Unions).” 

In fact, SAG-AFTRA “called us,” Lipsitz told Your On-Line Labor Newspaper about the Union reaching out to the WNYALF in regards to affiliation.  “Their Membership (estimated to be about several hundred) - Actors and Actresses - are employed in the motion picture industry ‘and they wanted to get involved with (the WNYALF),’” he said.

Local SAG-AFTRA Western New York/Central New York Co-Chairs Joe Wooley and Louise Simon Schoene attended the WNYALF’s Annual Meeting held in March, where the two were introduced to more than 200 Labor Leaders and Representatives in attendance.

Then in June, the WNYALF worked with SAG-AFTRA to host its Western New York Members from Buffalo and Rochester at 1199 Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Healthcare Workers East Offices in Buffalo, where WNYALF President Lipsitz addressed its Membership. 

The meeting featured a presentation regarding the many benefits of Union Membership and ways that SAG-AFTRA Members and Industry Professional can get involved with local Union Activities, including the upcoming and annual Buffalo AFL-CIO Central Labor Council’s Labor Day Parade, as well as a number of other AFL-CIO activities that occur throughout the year.   

New York SAG-AFTRA President Rebecca Damon (Pictured Below with WNYALF President Lipsitz) traveled from New York City to take part in the event. 

As SAG-AFTRA did, WNYALF President Lipsitz said AFSCME Council 66/Erie 1 BOCES Local 2567 reached out the Western New York Labor Organization to ask “how they would affiliate.”  “We let them know the process, ‘which is pretty simple,’” Lipsitz said.  “They’re a ‘wonderful’ workplace development organization ‘that helps’ inner city kids.”

The 370 Members of AFSCME Council 66/Erie 1 BOCES Local 2567 are employed in a variety of positions and departments, including in Maintenance, as Mechanics, in the Clerical, Computer and Technical Departments, as well as in System Analysis, according to Union President Gary Hyla - who is employed as a Data Base Administrator at Erie 1 BOCES

Hyla said he invited WNYALF President Lipsitz to meet with his Membership to “tell them ‘all about’ the WNYALF ‘and why it was a good idea (to affiliate).’”

“We ‘thought it was time to join’ (the WNYALF).  There’s a’ base of knowledge that come from interacting with other Unions,’” Hyla said.  “There are ‘so many things that other Unions face and to find out what’s going on also provides us with information on a number of issues that also might affect us’ (in the future).”

For more than 55 years, Erie 1 BOCES has been helping Western New York School Districts further contain costs by assisting them with district office functions, such as cooperative purchasing, health insurance benefits, policy development and technology services.

In addition to offering a wide range of career programs for adults, West Seneca-based Erie 1 BOCES’ three State-Of-The-Art Career and Technical Centers also offer more than 25 programs to high school students across the region.  

A number of Western New York school districts also partner with Erie 1 BOCES to provide Alternative and Special Education Programs.

Erie 1 BOCES is also home to one of New York State’s 12 Regional Information Centers.  

The Western New York Regional Information Center (WNYRIC) serves more than 100 districts in five BOCES Regions, including: Erie 1; Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus; Cattaraugus-Allegany; Orleans/Niagara; and the Greater Southern Tier BOCES.

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