Brendan Keany

Local Labor Leaders Protest Outside New Era Derby Plant

Mark Poloncarz says company doesn't want to talk

January 09, 2019 - 6:14 pm

DERBY (WBEN - Brendan Keany) - Mark Poloncarz joined local labor leaders across the street from the New Era plant in Derby to protest and again urge the company to keep the manufacturing jobs in Western New York.

"If I can say something to the workers who are leaving here right now, I know they can't say anything; they've been told if they do, they're going to get fired, but we've got your back!" said Poloncarz with a cheer from the protesters in the background. "We do have your back because you've been the support that built this company."

Richard Lipsitz is the president of the Western New York Area Labor Federation, and he says this decision goes beyond the 219 workers New Era intends to lay off in March and will have a much larger impact than people realize.

"We're calling upon the Koch family [owners of New Era> to change their mind, to negotiate with CWA at the plant, and to continue to make hats for the domestic market right here in Derby, New York," said Lipsitz. "They are hurting the workers in the plant, they are hurting the Township of Evans, the Hamlet of Derby, and the Lakeshore School system."

However, unfortunately for the workers and their families, Poloncarz says that no recent talks have been initiated between local officials and Christopher Koch to discuss the potential of keeping the plant in service.

"They've indicated no interest, which is disappointing, because I think there's an opportunity to do this," said Poloncarz. "Even if they don't continue to own the plant, there's other opportunities - there's employee stock ownership type plans that have worked with other types of manufacturers, other types of textile garment manufacturers, so I would hope they would do that, but talks have not gone anywhere, and as Richard said, we're going to continue doing this until such time as they just turned on this plant and their workers, or we've found a way to save these jobs."

Brendan Keany

Brendan Keany

Hear full audio from the rally below:

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