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Union Rallies In Front Of RG&E Building

Michelle Faust

Dozens of people crowded the sidewalk Friday in front of the RG&E  building on East Avenue near Chestnut Street, in a rally organized by local labor groups.

They are upset over demolition work at the Russell and Beebee stations, because union officials say the California contractor doing work there is not hiring local workers.

Daniel Kuntz is a business manager for Laborers' Local 435, and he says the contractor has not been responsive to their request.

"They’re bringing all their labor in from out of the area. This is ratepayer money, the people that live here pay taxes here, pay RG&E bills here, should have an opportunity to work on this project."

Local and state officials also came to the rally. RG&E issued a statement which said that the contractor, NorthStar expects to hire about half of their workforce from the Rochester area, which could mean as many as 50 jobs locally.

The utility says the contract with NorthStar provides the best value for its customers and they say the two year project will produce millions of dollars in economic benefits through local employment and other spending associated with the work.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.