Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Union Members Gather To Stand Up For The Shrinking American Middle Class

Music and signs were part of a pro-union rally at the intersection of Routes 17K and 300 in the Town of Newburgh on Monday. Union members and backers protested efforts in other states to limit union rights.

The strains of "Power to the People" and "I Won't Back Down" blared from loudspeakers on a hill above the intersection of Routes 17K and 300 Monday afternoon.

In between tunes, IBEW union members, unions and their supporters put those sentiments into practice as they rallied in support of their brothers and sisters whose very right to bargain is being challenged elsewhere in the United States.

Organizers estimated there were 1,000 or more union members and their supporters lining all four corners of the busy intersection — teachers, iron workers, civil service employees, sheet metal workers, electricians and more. Horns honked almost continuously throughout the rally. This rally was bigger and more informal than one held about a month ago a few miles to the west, but its message was just as clear.

"We're here because the American worker is under attack," said Sam Fratto, senior assistant business manager for Local 363 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. "The middle class is under attack. Somebody needs to stand up for the workers. The unions are going to stand up for the workers."

The rally came on a symbolic day — April 4, the day in 1968 when civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated while in Memphis to support a sanitation workers' strike. Those workers, too, were fighting for collective bargaining rights.

"The (same) issues are still here, unfortunately," said Paul Ellis-Graham, president of the Hudson Valley Area Labor Federation.

The recent labor rallies have come in response to efforts by Republicans to strip union workers of their right to collective bargaining in states such as Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana. Adrian Huff, president of Teamsters Local 445, believes New York workers are safe for now, but need to stand up for those elsewhere whose benefits are in danger.

"That's what politicians want to go after — the contract and the protection it gives you," said Huff.



  1. im glad to see such a great turn out at the rally. Its a comfort to know so many people support the basic right to collective bargaining. I was glad to see such support from our plant at the rally. Way to go guys.
    Sam, great job leading the way for the average american worker. We needed a guy like you at this period in our countrys history. Thanks for waking up all workers to the simple facts of whats going on in corporate america.
    Why dont you run for public office, im sure you would great.

  2. I hope today was a good day of bargaining. It was alousy day at work. Lots of problems. We need a contract to help straighten out this place.

  3. Thanks Sam, and all the reps for using your time to represent me and everyone else. I wish I could be there but I know you have my back

  4. We must learn to live together as brothers or we are going to perish together as fools

  5. sam, you should know, that we have been told that we are all being moved around on the backend. we all know that training for other jobs in the plant "is a good thing'" BUT !!!something stinks about this. we were told that it is a corporate decision, then we heard it was dans decision. none the less this stinks of write ups, and hi-fied inventories it also opens the door for injuries , because of lack of proper training...we had a visit from tony bala and we were told that we are the worst plant in the company for hi-fied inventory, so why would they move us around now, also we will have many, many label changes during this transition. we all know that big problems are just around the corner. my question is WHY MAKE THINGS WORSE, when things are already pretty bad. something stinks bad about this !!!

  6. Was so happy to see the turn out at the rally, made me proud to be a part of the local 363. Good job Sam and all the reps working hard to make my life at MCC better for me and my family.

  7. 9:15 I think your a little too uptight about the moving around thing. You will be protected no ones after you. the voices will stop when you put the bong down.

  8. Just need a little tweaking, that's all.

  9. God help our brothers and sisters on D Crew. Heard superman was training the new supervisor tonight.

  10. I would like to thank all of our negotiaters for putting forth their best efforts on THEIR OWN TIME FOR NO PAY!!! We all need to stand behind them and know they will do the best for ALL of us!!! Thanks Joe D. Bob U. and Stefan...for giving up their time for us!!!! along with all the reps from the other crews!!!!

  11. German chemical sector workers have secured a 4.1 percent pay hike over 15 months, trade union IG BCE and employers said on Thursday.
    The union had demanded a 7 percent raise.

  12. Thank you pickle man! We finished for the week. Both sides felt like we made significant progress this week. Things were clarified and moved further into the process. To use an analogy, I think we are in the fourth quarter now and the timer keeps ticking. I think that in the end both sides are going to be on the winning side.
    I want to thank our membership that came to the hotel today to support all of us. They brought alot of inspiration. They had some great questions and had some great ideas. They were an inspiration to us at the table.
    Wrapping up everything will be when get to the money, pension and benefits, that will tie everything together. We are almost there.
    I am proud of our team members who have worked so hard at the plant through this whole process. I can understand the anxiety and impatience that people might be feeling. Even with those distractions , the plant has been doing business that we have always done. Using our priorities to move us in everything we do. Safety, protecting the customer,quality,production,cost.That is what will always seperate us from the average. That is what this company was built on. Keep it going. Only good things can come from positve.

  13. Monroe-Woodbury teacher salaries will rise 5.5 percent over five years under an agreement the school board approved this month, according to district officials.According to the administration, the raises amounted to 0.45 percent for this year; 1.95 percent for 2011-12; 1.91 percent for 2012-13; 0.42 percent for 2013-14; and 0.73 percent for 2014-15.

  14. and the moon is round and made of cheese. so what?

  15. School teachers dont make millions of dollars for their districts either. At leaset they got a raise. What did you get the last couple of years while the company posts tens of millions of dollars profits just in Newburgh.

  16. Give the new supervisor a chance. Hopefully he has a good head on his shoulders and can see past any stupid ideas superman tells him. Cant wait to see how superman screws things up again in his area.

  17. It appears the unions-especially government unions-are on the wrong side in this debate. I am not comfortable with all the anti-America animus coming from the unions.

  18. an american union manApril 8, 2011 at 4:03 PM

    how do you figure unions are anti american? If anything they are protecting our rights in many ways. What other country protects the right to assemble? How is voicing your opinion anti american? How is joining an establishment to protect your rights anti american? America was established to guarantee that we have the right to pursue happiness right? Liberty too right? How is anything the unions are doing anti american?

  19. I'm saying be careful who you climb in bed with:

    In the wake of changes to government employee unions’ power in Wisconsin and elsewhere, The Communist Party USA is working IN CONJUCTION with national labor unions and other left wing political groups to organize protests in Madison, Wisconsin and across the nation on April 4th.

    The Community Party in particular has benefited from the recent debate over Wisconsin government employee unions’ power to collectively bargain, using the opportunity to build their ranks.

    The Communist Party USA leader said his members cannot just participate alongside other organizations, however. They must continue to join and help lead them.

    ‘We have to totally be embedded in this movement and in these activities,” Marshall said. “Every comrade has a part to play.”

    ~Scott Marshall, Vice Chair of The Communist Party USA.

  20. That Guy Sam SaidApril 8, 2011 at 6:50 PM

    4:33pm - First, anti America animus from American unions? Listen - breathe deep and turn off Sean Hannity for five minutes - your brain is turning to mush.

    Communists involved in our unions?



    "Our cause is the cause of human justice, human rights, human security.

    We refuse, and will always refuse, to condone or tolerate dictatorship or oppression of any kind.

    We will find and expel fro our midst any who might attempt to destroy, by subversion, all that we stand for.

    This Brotherhood will continue to oppose COMMUNISM, NAZISM or and other subversive "ism".

    We will support our God, our Nation, our union." (end quote)

    In this tme of uncertainty and attacks against all American workers - You either stand by those American workers and support them or you make weak excuses explaining why you are not - there is no middle ground.

    4:33pm is against workers moving ahead for some unexplained reason.

    I am on the other side and always will be - you can count on that.

    See you all at the next rally - where you ALWAYS SEE American flags and a PUBLIC SALUTE TO THE FLAG.

    4:33 do us ALL a favor - stay home and watch Sean Hannity on Fox and plot against yourself and your co-workers who are trying to get ahead and survive.

  21. AMEN SAM !!!!!!!!!! That was beautiful....couldn't say it better......4:33, Turn the channel baby and turn on the news and watch the American people getting screwed.

  22. Independent thinkers can figure out what channel they want to watch and don't need to be told how they should think. But you can have an opinion too. that's the beauty of our country. We don't have to follow the loudest voice.

  23. communism? Holy shit you are off your rocker. Im not wasting one moment more on you. Go away Idiot.

  24. Sam,
    Dont waste anymore time on this moron who wants to comment on unions and communism.lol. Any sensible American would disagree with the person who is trying to stir the pot, with his nonsensical comments. Im amazed though how much knowledge the person who tried to equate unions and communism has with the names of the leadership of a communist organization and its functions. Sounds like that guy is the follower of those people.

  25. So let me understand what your saying 4:33.Teachers in Wisconsin are cooperating with a communist party? Ohio too? Pennsylvania? Florida? Every state in the union are in cooperation with a communist party? All state employees that are in unions you feel that they are involved with communism? Your pathetic.

  26. Hey Sam , how about we work that break room remote into the negotiations so we can turn the channel !

  27. We should turn it to the IBEW channel. They can think for us. That way we don't have to. How nice. Our collective voice doing all of the thinking for us. I'd hate to have my own opinion anyway.

  28. Sam, how about letting us know who is helping organize these union rallies in the future.

    Embarrassing that the Communist Party of the USA helped organize the April 4th rally that you encouraged us to be a part of.

  29. That Guy Sam SaidApril 9, 2011 at 7:48 AM

    Actually I organized it.

    Enough time on you. I have people to help.

  30. Wow, you are good.

    You organized the national April 4th rallies all by yourself...

    Fortunately, we can investigate on our own who worked with the unions to stage the April 4th 'We Are One' rally.

  31. Is all this banter true or is someone trying to stir us up? Has anyone researched this communist party accusation? It doesn't seem like the unions would really let it happen. I dont think they would want to associate with them. The publicity could snowball into a complete u turn against the representatives of the workers. I don't believe it.