Union leaders from across the Syracuse area are pressing their "Bring Jobs Home" campaign. Congress is expected to take up several proposals to eliminate any tax incentives for companies to move jobs overseas. YNN's Bill Carey says it's an issue the labor movement hopes will gain traction in the coming political season.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- From 1925 on, it was a place where hundreds of workers earned a good living. Muench-Kreuzer, better known as Emkay, was one of five candle companies that flourished in the Syracuse area for much of the 20th century.
Down to just a handful of workers, it finally went out of business last year. Only one of the candle makers remains in operation. The jobs and business have gone overseas.
Standing outside the closed factory, local labor leaders say it is an all too common story.
“I've lived here 30 years now and everybody I knew had a good job, working in a factory. They're all gone,” said Ann Marie Taliercio, CNY Area Labor Federation President.
The unions continue to argue that without some action in Washington, more jobs will be lost and more factories like Emkay Candle will stand vacant in the future.
“A lot of people did not realize about the tax incentives, that existed in the U.S. policies, that actually benefit corporations that take these jobs off shore while it's devastating to the American worker,” said Richard Knowles, United Steelworkers Union.
The union leaders claimed the rally was non-political. The issue, they say, is not Democrat or Republican, but American. Still with both the Democratic and Green party candidates for Congress in attendance, it was also clear that a Republican dominated House in Washington is an obstacle when it comes to achieving the union goals.
“They have to wake up to common sense approaches. They have to understand that if we don't put families back to work, this recession will continue into a greater depression of our American people,” said Rosemary Rivera, "We Are NY" Co-Chair.
The key, these activists say, is in getting the public to demand action. That has been a difficult struggle.
“When you're working all day and taking care of your kids, and coming home and having to cook dinner and trying to figure out how to make your paycheck meet all your bills, it's hard to sit down and listen to what all the issues are,” said Taliercio.
The message here is that it's time to start listening and demanding action.