Upstate, N.Y., Teamsters Seek Pols' Aid in Walkout

7/13/2003 8:00 PM Eastern

Adelphia Communications Corp. workers in Auburn, N.Y. — now in their sixth week of a labor walkout — will try to muster the support of the city councilors by staging a march from the cable yard to City Hall.

"They won't honor anything," said striker Linda Leather, reached by telephone. "We're out on the street."

In order to gain attention and support for their cause, the workers will walk to City Hall July 17 to plead with officials. Adelphia's local system is operating under a contract extension that expires this fall.

Nineteen members of Teamsters Local 118 went on strike in June, frustrated over three-and-a-half years of inability to negotiate a contract. The company ordered them back to work June 30. Workers, including a warehouse worker, a technician and an office staffer, have crossed the picket line, Leather said.

A call to local management for comment on the strike was answered by a recording noting the Auburn number has been temporarily disconnected. Callers are referred to a regional call center. Requests there for a referral to the local manager did not receive a response.

According to local newspaper accounts, system general manager Bill Keiser is hiring replacement works. Strikers added that the company is servicing customers with staff from the Buffalo system while management interviews replacements.

"We want our Teamster's pension, not some 401K," Leather, a 16-year system veteran, said. Health benefits and vacation entitlements are also proposed for cutback, she said.

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