The Ithaca Public Workers Coalition (IPWC) has been a vocal advocate for the rights and interests of local workers since its inception nearly a year ago.
The group has recently demonstrated support for Cynthia Brock, a Ward 1 candidate for the Ithaca Common Council, endorsed by the Midstate Central Labor Council, a branch of the New York State AFL-CIO. Members of various professions including police officers, firefighters, and electricians have been canvassing in Ward 1 to discuss with union members why Brock is the favored candidate for labor. The IPWC was recognized for its commitment to union solidarity and public service, receiving the Joe Hill Award at the annual Labor Day Picnic.
The coalition has been monitoring labor agreements closely, and since Labor Day, one of its member unions, the Ithaca Professional Firefighters Association, secured a new labor contract with the City of Ithaca after working without an agreement since 2020. IPWC spokesperson, Tom Condzella expressed satisfaction at the results of union solidarity, emphasizing the importance of fair deals for public servants, especially frontline workers like firefighters. He anticipates new labor agreements for the Ithaca Police Benevolent Association and the Executive Association by year-end, attributing positive advancements to the city’s new negotiations team and the removal of the City Attorney from the bargaining table.
Regarding financial contributions from Cornell University to the City of Ithaca, the IPWC insists on more frequent reviews and renegotiations of the agreement and calls for increased funding comparable to Cornell’s peer institutions. Condzella emphasized the strain on local public workers and city infrastructure due to increased service demand and staffing shortages. He pointed out the critical need for a balanced agreement between Cornell and the city that takes into account the working people of Ithaca and the community, including Cornell’s faculty, students, and staff. The coalition remains hopeful for a resolution that prevents any disruption or diminishment of public services in the City of Ithaca.
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