New York Department of Labor

The latest monthly unemployment numbers are out from the New York State Labor Department, and the Rochester region saw a steep increase in the jobless rate in April, as did many regions around the state.

The unemployment rate for the Rochester metro was 14.9% compared to a 3.7% unemployment rate a year ago.

The number of unemployed people in the Rochester area rose by more than 55,000 over the last year, to nearly 75,000 individuals who were unemployed last month.

Statewide, the unemployment rate in April was 14.5%.


Rochester’s annual Labor Day Parade, one of the largest in the state, steps off at 11:00 a.m. on Monday.

The parade begins at the intersection of East Avenue and Alexander Street, proceeds down East Avenue to Main Street, then goes west on Main St. to South Plymouth Avenue and turns south on Plymouth to Broad Street.

Downtown traffic and streets along the route will be affected by the parade.

In the latest WXXI Business Report, we talk about:

-The latest job growth numbers from the NYS Labor Dept.

-A move in the Cannabis industry that could also impact a deal with Constellation Brands

-Renovations at some Tops supermarkets

Are construction workers paid fairly in New York State? The legislature has been debating the so-called “prevailing wage.” Non-union workers and business leaders have warned that expanding the prevailing wage will cripple businesses that want to expand, while stalling the clean energy industry. Union leaders have joined many Democrats in calling for more wage protections, arguing that the business community always claims the sky is falling when they have to pay people a little bit more.

Our guests debate it:


Rochester’s annual Labor Day parade steps off  at 11:00 a.m. on Monday near the corner of East Avenue and Alexander Street, proceeds down East Ave. to Main Street, then turns west on Main Street to South Plymouth Avenue.

The parade, which is traditionally one of the largest Labor Day parades in the state, this year will honor Florence ‘Flo’ Tripi, the former CSEA Western Region President who died in July at the age of 79.

With Labor Day approaching, and an election year approaching, we sit down with local labor leaders to discuss the issues most pressing to them. What is the state of labor in 2015? AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka recently said that Hillary Clinton shouldn't count on union support unless she can figure out a way to energize workers. What, exactly, does that mean? Our panel discusses that and more.

  • Bruce Popper,  VP of 1199 SEIU and President of the Rochester Labor Council
  • Kendall Bell, Member Federation of Social Workers.  President CLUW  (Coalition of Labor Union Women)
  • Shelly Clements, Labor Relation Specialist with NYSUT

Let's talk about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Does it have regional interest for Western New Yorkers? Absolutely. Labor generally opposes it; many in the business community support it. Bob Duffy recently wrote an op-ed supporting the TPP, while labor leaders are eager to explain why they fear it could hurt workers. Our panel will address some of the questions about what it is, and whether it can be revived:

Labor Day is coming, and in many ways, union leaders feel that their organizations are under attack. Nationally, there's the right-to-work movement. In New York state, there's the debate over Wicks and Scaffold laws, among others. We check in on the state of our unions with our panel:

Jim Bertolone, President of the Rochester and Genesee Valley Labor Federation and AFL-CIO
Erin Young, Rochester and Genesee Valley Labor Federation
Dave Young, President of the Rochester Building and Construction Trades
Tom Gillette, Regional Director for New York State United Teachers

The 25th annual Rochester Labor Film Series starts next month at the Dryden Theatre. The series focuses on classic films, modern films and documentaries that highlights a wide range of labor issues. The series starts with 9 to 5 on September 5. Joining us to discuss the Rochester Labor Film Series are co-curator John Garlock, and his son Chris Garlock who is director of DC Labor FilmFest