Sept. 1, 2014

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UUP shows upstate Labor Day strength

uupdate 9-1-14

Chanting “We are UUP!,” more than 60 UUP members, family and friends marched loudly and proudly alongside thousands of their labor sisters and brothers in the annual Syracuse Labor Day Parade at the New York State Fair.

It was a similar scene in Buffalo, where UUP President Fred Kowal led UUPers from western New York campuses in the yearly AFL-CIO Labor Day Parade.

And in Ithaca, Vice President for Academics Jamie Dangler addressed more than 300 unionists out enjoying Labor Day at the 31st annual Midstate Central Labor Council Labor Day picnic.

Meanwhile, UUP leaders are hopeful that hundreds of UUP members will march in the annual New York City Labor Day parade on Sept. 6. Click here to sign up to march in the parade.

“It is crucial to demonstrate the strength of organized labor, and marching in a Labor Day parade—be it in Buffalo, in Syracuse, or next week in New York City—is an excellent opportunity to do that,” Kowal said.

“Labor is under attack across the country,” said Secretary Eileen Landy, who led marchers in the Syracuse parade. “We need to be part of the larger labor movement.”

Strength in Buffalo

In Buffalo, Kowal and a group of UUP members from Albany, Buffalo Center, Buffalo HSC, Buffalo State, Cobleskill, Downstate and Fredonia paraded to Cazenovia Park, where a Labor Day picnic was held.

UUP Executive Board member Ezra Zubrow of Buffalo Center, left, marches with Treasurer Rowena Blackman-Stroud, Kowal and Vice President for Professionals Philippe Abraham in the Buffalo Labor Day parade.

“One of the great things about this Labor Day experience was marching with my UUP colleagues and joining with working people in a whole host of unions,” Kowal said. “It was a strong showing of solidarity, and the community welcomed us with open arms.”

Kowal said he met with a number of NYSUT-endorsed candidates, including Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, state Sen. Tim Kennedy, state Assembly members Sean Ryan, Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Assembly candidate Mark Mazurek.

State fair solidarity

UUP accomplished that at the State Fair, where members from Cortland, Downstate (Membership Development Officer Edison Bond Jr. was at the parade), Oswego, Potsdam and Upstate Medical University wore red UUP shirts and waved signs that said “Speak up for workers” and “UUP in solidarity.”

Members lined up behind chapter banners from Cortland, Oswego and UMU, marching in step with the Teamsters, CSEA, the National Association of Letter Carriers, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the United Steel Workers and the American Federation of Government Employees, among others.

Oswego Chapter VPP William Canning, left, Landy, center, and Oswego Chapter President Lori Nash, right, show their UUP colors at the New York State Fair.

Unionists proceeded down Tonawanda Street to Chevrolet Court, where leaders from several Syracuse-based unions spoke. U.S. Congressman Dan Maffei, who spent time after the parade talking with unionists, donned a UUP shirt and posed for photos with UUP members. Maffei, who is up for election in November, is endorsed by NYSUT.

“We are public employees and we make the state work,” said Upstate Medical University Chapter President Mike Lyon. “We have to make sure that people know that we work for them.”

Dangler urges action

In Ithaca, Dangler was the featured speaker at the Midstate Central Labor Council picnic, which drew more than 300 unionists from Broome, Cortland, Tompkins and Tioga counties. She urged unionists to become active participants in their unions, get involved in important political campaigns in their districts, and to stand up to big-money adversaries that delight in busting up unions.

Read Dangler's speech here

“We have to work within the House of Labor and we have to build and expand coalitions across our communities to fight back,” she said. We, along with good citizens across our communities, are ready to secure a better future for all. This Labor Day should be a celebration for working families.”

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