For immediate release
September 1, 2004
Ann Marie Taliercio
315-426-0373 or 315-415-2735
Speakers will urge board to deny request for tax breaks for proposal that won't create new jobs and will increase pollution
What: Public hearing by Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency on proposal to grant over $600,000 in county tax breaks to Cintas Corp., the country’s largest industrial laundry company.
When: Tuesday, September 7, 11 a.m.
Where: Lysander Town Hall, 6 Lock St., Baldwinsville, just off E. Gennessee St. (Route 31).
Who: Workers from local laundries who might lose their jobs to subsidized competition; Environmentalists concerned about Cintas’ record of toxic discharges, labor leaders, economic development experts and community activists will testify.
Background: Cintas Corp. has asked OCIDA for $612,000 in tax breaks in exchange for opening a new laundry facility in the Radisson Industrial Park in Baldwinsville. According to news reports, however, 47 of the 77 jobs at the plant would come from transferring workers from the existing Cintas depot in DeWitt. The other 30 jobs, according to the laundry workers union UNITE HERE, would likely come from other established laundries that provide workers with superior retirement and health benefits to those Cintas offers – but don’t receive subsidies. Meanwhile, environmental activists charge that Cintas laundries often illegally discharge heavy metals like lead and cancer-causing chemicals like tetrachloroethylene into local sewer systems.
“It looks like a case of robbing Peter to poison Paul,” said Ann Marie Taliercio, who heads the Syracuse hotel workers union, Local 150 of UNITE HERE. “We have always favored responsible economic development that creates good jobs, but this deal doesn’t, and it deserves to be sunk.”
UNITE HERE is the newly merged union of hospitality, gaming, apparel, textile and laundry workers. The new union represents nearly half a million workers in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. For more information, please see www.unitehere.org or call Chris Seymour 646-831-9035 or Ann Marie Taliercio 315-415-2735.