Press coverage of the rally:
On August 15th, clergy, people of faith, and union allies joined with locked out workers from United Auto Workers Local 1508 to support them in their calls for fair contract negotiations. These 41 workers have been locked out of work for over three months after rejecting a contract offer from Honeywell that would have dramatically raised healthcare costs.
Mark Emanatian, of the Capital District Area Labor Federation, explains the situation:
“The 41 hard working union members are just trying to keep their families and communities alive. They aren’t asking to be rich. They are asking for a living wage, decent benefits and safe working conditions. They remember a time when there were thousands of union manufacturing jobs in Green Island and many thousands more in the communities close by. They remember the days when hard work meant something.
This is a modern day David and Goliath story. And the only way these workers can win and return to their jobs and make a decent life for their families is with unprecedented solidarity. This fight has to become our fight. Every one of us who is angry about the war the super rich is waging on poor and working people. Every one of us who is for justice. Every one of us that is for democracy and progress. Every one of us that are for unions. Every one of us.”
Rev. Jim Ketcham of the FOCUS Churches of Albany highlighted the connections between the Honeywell lockout and other labor struggles. “The FOCUS Churches of Albany have joined in solidarity with low-wage workers as part of the Fight for $15 to demand fair treatment from multi-billion dollar fast food corporations. We can see the same corporate strategy from Honeywell – pushing more and more costs onto workers, and union busting. Our sacred texts repeatedly demand the fair treatment of workers, and we call on Honeywell to do the right thing: negotiate with the union in good faith, and get these workers back on the job.”
Rev. Peter Cook, executive director of the New York State Council of Churches, opened with a pastoral note to the workers, “We deeply value you as people, and as great contributors, not only to our economy, but to our society and the social fabric of our community and state. We grieve that you have had to struggle for so long…we raise up our voices as strongly as we can, to support you in your struggle.”