June 21, 2011

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UUP president addresses Capitol labor rally


UUP President Phil Smith draws a rousing response from about 1,500 unionists when he asked, “Don’t you think we deserve respect?” Members from UUP, the Public Employees Federation, NYSUT and other unions answered with a resounding “Yes” at a June 20 rally at the Capitol.

Organized by PEF, the rally – one of a dozen conducted across the state – comes in response to the threatened layoffs of 9,800 state workers if state employee unions don’t make major concessions in their contract negotiations.

“Our members at SUNY teach a lot of valuable lessons. Among them is respect,” Smith said. “But how can we educate our students about respect if we ourselves are not respected?”

“Will you stand with me to demand we get a fair contract? It’s time for this ridiculous scapegoating and backbiting to end, and time for real and respectful contract negotiations to begin,” Smith emphasized.

The union members displayed their determination by using clackers and whistles to make noise, carrying placards that read, “Fair contract,” “Hell, no, no one goes,” and chanting, “We demand fairness. We demand justice.”

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