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December 27, 2012 - 4:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, employment, labor.

There are more jobs in Genesee County, but a higher unemployment rate locally, according to statistics released today by the Department of Labor.

In November 2012, there were 29,300 jobs in the county, compared to 29,000 a year ago.

However, the county's unemployment rate went up slightly year-over-year from 7.3 percent to 7.4 percent. That translates into 2,400 people counted as unemployed in November 2012 compared to 2,300 a year ago.

Rochester's unemployment rate went from 7.2 percent to 7.4 percent and Buffalo also saw an increase from 7.5 to 7.9 percent.

Orleans County has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state at 10.1 percent.

March 10, 2010 - 2:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, labor, CSEA.

A spokeswoman for the union that represents most county workers issued a statement this afternoon asking the County Legislature to table a resolution on tonight's agenda to freeze county employee pay.

Lynn Miller writes:

The legislature is expected to vote on the terms and conditions of the contract tonight following failed mediation and a fact-finding recommendation rejected, in part, by the union. CSEA had asked the county to return to the table to fine tune the fact-finding report. In addition, the union provided several alternatives for the county’s consideration.

“The fact-finding decision brought the two parties a bit closer, and with further talks an acceptable agreement may have been reached,” said CSEA Genesee County Unit President Debby Long. “We are disappointed the county manager turned down both our request to negotiate and the alternatives we offered."

Throughout negotiations, the county’s negotiator has asked for CSEA to agree to a “second tier” wage scale. The new scale would cut 10 percent from the salaries of newly hired county workers. CSEA considers that to be the major sticking point.

“Creating a second tier wage scale does little more than drive a wedge between employees,” Long said. “The county didn’t suggest any other union agree to the second tier. We do not believe it is in the best interest of the membership.”

September 9, 2009 - 3:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in business, agriculture, steve hawley, Mike Ranzenhofer, labor.

The New York Senate will be in session tomorrow and Majority Leader Pedro Espada is apparently looking to score points with New York City labor unions -- he's calling for passage of what upstate legislators call "the farm death bill."

The bill, the Farmworkers Omnibus Labor Standards Bill, AB 1867, has already passed the Assembly.

If it becomes law, the bill will require farmers to pay time-and-a-half for over time, allow farm workers to join labor unions and require a day off during harvest season. It will also require farmers to pay into the unemployment system, among other provisions.

The bill is sponsored by Catherine Nolan, who represents Queens. Assemblyman Steve Hawley once pinned her down during a floor debate into admitting that in her district contains "less than one farm."

Sen. Mike Ranzenhofer plans to vote Nay if the bill does come to a vote. He said even upstate farm workers he's spoken with are concerned that passage of the bill will cost them their livelihoods.

"They are alarmed about the bill," Ranzenhofer said. "They're concerned about losing their jobs because farms will be going out of business."

Area farmers and farm workers alike tell both Hawley and Ranzenhofer that many of the issues the bill is trying to address is already taken care of by farmers. Most farmers do supply workers with adequate housing and health care. Workers are paid for all the hours they work, but not necessarily time-and-a-half. Because farm work is seasonal, the legislators note that a great deal of work must be packed into a short amount of time.

But by mandating such services, allowing labor unions to get involved and increasing government oversight, the bill will drive up costs on farmers tremendously.

The supporters of the bill just don't understand farming and that without farms, there is no food, both Hawley and Ranzenhofer say.

"The sponsors are from New York City," Ranzenhofer said. "They don't understand that the relationship between farmers and workers is mutually beneficial. This is a New York City union issue and really has nothing to do with farming in Upstate New York."

It's unclear just how the Senate will vote on the measure. It could go either way.

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