Saturday, May 21, 2005

Madisonville-area Community Calls for Economic Development Board Accountability

I've been a little neglectful posting with a new job and all but I will continue to get important issues up as soon as possible.

Here is another good press release from Resist Oppression....a great blog for keeping on top of the labor news that affects all of us....even you wingerbots!!

Madisonville-area Community Calls for

Economic Development Board Accountability

Support for Funding Increase Tied to Respect for Workers’ Rights

MADISONVILLE, KY, MAY, 16—Labor leaders urged the Madisonville City Council today to oppose a budget increase for the county’s Economic Development Corporation.

Speaking at the council’s meeting this morning here, the leaders said such a budget increase should be contingent on the Corporation making a commitment to bring companies to the region that are prepared to pay decent wages and respect their employees’ rights to freedom of association.

Attention was called to Corporation Director Danny Koon’s decision last year to turn away a company that could have supplied 500 new jobs to the region because the company’s employees were represented by a union. Koon’s actions outraged many in the Madisonville area and was the focus of a well-attended community forum last month.

“Danny Koon’s decision to block good union jobs from Madisonville has cost the region millions of dollars in possible revenues and the city council should insist that the Economic Development Corporation do its job and help bring good jobs to our community,” said Ty Barnhart, a representative of United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local 227. “Why should the EDC be given more money when their director is costing us good jobs?”

“We have a limited number of manufacturing jobs here in Madisonville and it is evident to everyone that we need more good paying jobs with benefits,” added Marvin Sisk, a representative of the International Union of Electrical Workers/Communication Workers of America Local Union 701. “Koon’s decision to deny the people of the region good jobs was wrong and hurt our community.”

According to a report by the United Auto Workers and the Economic Policy Institute, the union jobs Koon is reported to have turned away cost the region of Madisonville an estimated $59.3 million annually and a loss of 2,600 additional jobs in the community that would have been created as a result of having the union represented plant in the area.

Reba Burris, UFCW member, said during the meeting the young people of the community who are out of work and needing jobs were hurt most by Koon’s decision. Burris went on to say the businesses Koon and the EDC allowed to come in to the region have mostly provided only low paying and temporary jobs without benefits.

“The people of Madisonville deserves good jobs with benefits instead of temp jobs or working for barely above minimum wage,” Burris said. “I don’t know how the EDC and Koon expect people to live on those kind wages.”

Councilman Roy Tucker told the gathering that the City Council was not pleased with what had transpired and would show so in its budget. He said the mayor had been directed by the council to deliver a message to the EDC that “we are upset.”

The Madisonville-Hopkins County fiscal court will meet on June 6th to decide on the county’s budget, including the Economic Development Corporation’s proposed budget increase.


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