WXXI AM News

Assembly Speaker Heastie visits GM picket line in Rochester

Sep 23, 2019

New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie visited GM workers who are on the picket line in Rochester on Monday when he made a few  stops around the area. Around 49,000 members of the United Auto Workers union have been on a national strike against General Motors for eight days as of Monday.

Speaker Heastie speask to members of UAW at their picket line in front of the Rochester GM plant.
Credit Press Office of Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie

Heastie says that people should be prioritized over profits, particularly with the type of profits that GM has.

“And I know there’s a responsibility to shareholders," he says. "But there’s also a responsibility to the people who are helping you to produce that product so that they’re not struggling, that they have protections, that they have healthcare, that they have wages that they can support their families."

While the strike continues, so too does a federal corruption investigation against top union officials over allegations of embezzlement and conspiracy.

Heastie's visit to Rochester is part of his annual statewide tour. He also visited visited Irondequoit Square (I-Square), the Repurpose & More Store, and the Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) at the University of Rochester.

One of the issues Heastie spoke to recently is climate change. Back in June, Heastie announced the passage of the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act by the state assembly. That bill was also approved in the NYS Senate, and it was signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in July.

Assembly Member Jamie Romeo(right) and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie (left) at the Repurpose and More Store at the Child Care Council of Rochester.
Credit Noelle E. C. Evans / WXXI News

But Heastie says that state action alone isn’t enough, and a federal action is needed to mitigate climate change.

“We’re only one of 50 states. We’ll do what we can. But I think it has to be an entire buy-in by the United States, by all industrialized company—c-countries to reduce carbon emissions.”

Global climate strikes erupted last Friday, sparked by 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg’s efforts to galvanize international leaders to treat climate change as an emergency.

Another local climate protest is planned for Friday,September 27 at 3:30 p.m. outside of Rochester City Hall.