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News stories tagged with "labor"

The sign bearing LaBaff's name is made from aluminum smelted at Alcoa in Massena. Photo: David Sommerstein.
The sign bearing LaBaff's name is made from aluminum smelted at Alcoa in Massena. Photo: David Sommerstein.

St. Lawrence county names building for union leader

St. Lawrence County officially named its main job creation building yesterday after a man who's spent a lifetime fighting for jobs. Assemblywoman Addie Russell praised Ernie LaBaff as a man who exemplified "dignity in work".

LaBaff worked at Alcoa in Massena for some 50 years. He's now vice-chairman of the county Industrial Development Agency, whose building now bears his name.  Go to full article
Igor Cordeiro, Brazil, and Dan Kent take a break outside the cucumbers high tunnel. Photo: David Sommerstein.
Igor Cordeiro, Brazil, and Dan Kent take a break outside the cucumbers high tunnel. Photo: David Sommerstein.

A mini United Nations on a St. Lawrence County farm

The last time we checked in with organic vegetable farmer, Dan Kent, it was April, and there was still three feet of snow on the ground. Dan predicted he'd have to plant two weeks to a month late, and he was spot on.

"Even our highest and driest fields were muddy weeks beyond the time when we expected them to be in a condition that we could work and plant,"Dan says. "So, for some crops we were only two weeks late. For others, we were a month late."

It's finally full-on summer. And this week is a big one for Kent Family Growers. They're shipping out the first produce to their approximately 120 CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) members. The deliveries start with spinach, zucchini, and strawberries. "That's always a really, really nice way to kick off the harvesting, with those really sweet red orbs."

Another thing came late this year. The Kent's three foreign workers had to change their flights a week later because of the late start.

This year, David Sommerstein is reporting regularly from Dan and Megan Kent's in the town of Lisbon. In today's episode of A Year on the Farm, this little organic vegetable farm in St. Lawrence County becomes a mini United Nations.  Go to full article
Michael Powers, speaking at a rally in Albany to save the Ogdensburg Correctional Facility. Photo from Powers' website, used by permission
Michael Powers, speaking at a rally in Albany to save the Ogdensburg Correctional Facility. Photo from Powers' website, used by permission

North Country corrections officer could be next to lead the union

Next month, New York will close four more of its prisons. Among them: Chateaugay Correctional Facility in Franklin County and Mt. McGregor in Saratoga County. The closures come as part of Governor Cuomo's pledge to "reduce the madness of an incarceration society." And the Department of Corrections has reported empty beds in their prisons--they estimate the recent series of closures will save taxpayers $184 million.

The loudest voices fighting to keep those prisons open are members of New York's prison guard union--NYSCOPBA--which is set to elect their next president next month. One of frontrunners in the race to head up the union hails from the North Country.  Go to full article

NY court uphold ruling on use of town cars

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York's highest court has confirmed a state board's conclusion that personal use of municipal vehicles is an employment benefit subject to union negotiations.

The Court of Appeals, divided 5-2, has upheld the 2011 Public Employment Relations Board ruling that Islip improperly ended its 20-year practice of letting dozens of workers drive assigned town vehicles home at night.  Go to full article

Lawmakers urge passage of pregnant employee bill

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) A bipartisan group of lawmakers in the Legislature is urging passage of a bill that would accommodate the needs of pregnant women in the workplace.  Go to full article
Polling place in a school gymnasium. Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/hlkljgk/3002212217">Heather Katsoulis</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Polling place in a school gymnasium. Photo: Heather Katsoulis, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

North Country school budget votes today call for painful choices

Communities across the state are voting on their school district budgets today. According to the New York State School Boards Association, about 96 percent of school districts are staying under the 2 percent tax cap. And they say that this year's budgets have fewer layoffs than in recent years.

But in Brasher Falls Central School District, balancing the budget has meant hard choices.  Go to full article
Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/people/wwworks/">woodleywonderworks</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Photo: woodleywonderworks, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Vermont House endorses child care union

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) The Vermont House has voted narrowly to advance a bill to allow home-based child care operators to unionize and negotiate with the state over subsidies for families sending their children to the homes.

The House voted 70-64, with 16 members absent, to give preliminary approval to a bill already passed by the Senate. It would allow home-based child care providers with 12 or fewer children in their care to unionize.  Go to full article
Dairy cows in Canton, NY. Photo: Nora Flaherty
Dairy cows in Canton, NY. Photo: Nora Flaherty

A farmworker speaks out on dairy farm dangers

A Syracuse-area farm worker is touring regional churches and community centers to bring attention to workplace dangers on dairy farms.

Jos Caas is originally from El Salvador, but he's worked in New York agriculture for three years. Caas says he's putting his job on the line to let people know about the risks posed to agricultural laborers from slippery floors, large animals, heavy equipment, and chemicals. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports 55 fatalities on New York State dairy farms since 2006.  Go to full article
NYSUT's new officers: Martin Messner, Secretary-Treasurer; Catalina Fortino, Vice President; Karen Magee, President; Andrew Pallotta, Executive Vice President; Paul Pecorale, Vice President. Photo: <a href="www.nysut.org/news/2014/april/first-woman-to-head-nysut-promises-to-be-a-strong-voice-for-change">NYSUT Media Relations</a>
NYSUT's new officers: Martin Messner, Secretary-Treasurer; Catalina Fortino, Vice President; Karen Magee, President; Andrew Pallotta, Executive Vice President; Paul Pecorale, Vice President. Photo: NYSUT Media Relations

New teachers' union president wants more clout for group

There's a big change at state's largest teacher's union, New York State United Teachers (NYSUT), as members elected new leadership.

The union's new president, Karen Magee, is the first woman to run the organization. The shakeup comes over concerns with the state's flawed implementation of the new Common Core learning standards. Teachers are complaining that they were not adequately prepared to teach to the new standards, and that the test results should not be used to evaluate their performance.  Go to full article
Labor groups at Lobby Day in Albany last year. Photo: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/42626790@N05/8534640659/">CSEA Monroe County</a>, Creative Commons, some rights reserved
Labor groups at Lobby Day in Albany last year. Photo: CSEA Monroe County, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Union members heading to Albany for lobby day

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Union members from across New York are headed to Albany for the annual labor lobby day.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and the Civil Service Employees Association are bringing in busloads of union members from Buffalo, Rochester and the Finger Lakes region. They'll be at the state Capitol on Tuesday to speak to legislators about labor issues.  Go to full article

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