January 26, 2017
By WNYLaborToday.com Editor-Publisher Tom Campbell
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Lewiston, NY – Despite the doom and gloom cast over the Labor Movement by the election of Donald Trump as president, an upbeat, defiant and fired up message was delivered by a number of area Labor Leaders and Members who spoke at last week’s 2017 Niagara-Orleans AFL-CIO Labor Council’s Annual Awards Dinner in Lewiston.
More than 170 area Labor Leaders, Members, Elected Officials and Friends of Labor attended the event, which honored several awardees and gave Labor the opportunity to look back at 2016 and the results of the Presidential Election, as well as chart a course for 2017 and underscore what must be done to not only stand up for those Unions represent, but to make further gains on behalf of Working People under a White House and Congress controlled by Republicans.
Saying it was not time to give in to an “end-of-the-world” outlook and encouraging those in attendance to join the fight to ensure Labor’s existence under the administration of newly-elected President Donald Trump, the speakers – one by one – underscored the importance for Unions and their Members to “mobilize” and to provide their younger Members with the chance to get more involved in their Unions, as well to “engage them” in the overall process.
Niagara-Orleans Labor Council President Jim Briggs (pictured below) told those at the dinner: “We just got ‘beat up’ by a person (Trump) who’s ‘out to destroy’ Organized Labor. ‘He’s going to try to put us out of business.’ We ‘had better recognize the battle we’re in’ and ‘we need to fight harder today and tomorrow.’ Unions ‘need’ our Members’ participation. This is ‘why’ we come together. We have to ‘fight for our existence for our children to have the right to sit at the table’ – ‘and we better be ready for it.’ ‘We have to stay united’ – Private Sector, Public Sector and the Building Trades, and ‘be willing to put in the extra time.’ So when you come to your next Union meeting, ‘bring a friend.’”