Archive for March, 2014


March 25, 2014

CNY Progressive Action

March 24, 2014 Volume 1, Number 4








labor organizing



You don’t have to be a member of the union to come to the training. Two experienced union organizers, one from the Starbucks Workers Union in NYC, will give the nuts and bolts of organizing at work, setting up a workplace committee, the AEIOUs of organizing (agitation, education, inoculation, organizing, and pushing/union), go over labor law, making demands on the boss, and building grassroots power at work. This is a very interactive training that includes role plays and active participation. The training will also go over social charting, mapping, contracts vs. solidarity unionism, and a history of the IWW.

The IWW is looking to form in Utica and excited to organize the unorganized. Please join us in this endeavor! You can start by coming to this exciting training!

Industrial Workers of the World (IWW)
Union/Workplace Organizer Training


Saturday, March 29
10am-5pm (9;30am for breakfast)

Sunday, March 30
10am-4pm (9:30am for breakfast)

At Cornerstone Community Church
500 Plant St., Utica, NY 13501
(Oneida Square and Genesee Street)

Do you have a job?

Will you have a job in the future?

Are you a worker?

Do you want higher wages and more benefits?

Do you want to fight injustice at work?

Do you want more rights, power and a voice at your work?

If the answers to any of these questions are YES, then you should consider organizing at work and joining the one union open to all workers, the IWW. This training will show you how to organize at work and form a union.

This training is completely free. Organizing materials, packets and food will also be provided. For those who need it, we will also provide free childcare.

Please RSVP: or (315) 240-3149



Central New York residents, clergy, and community groups gathered on Monday (today) in front of the Utica NYS Office Building to call on state officials to enact a budget that closes a growing income inequality gap in the state and provides sufficient funding for schools, elderly, and the poor. Local leaders from Oneida, Herkimer and Madison Counties also invited the community to join in a 40 hour fast for economic justice and fairness.

The vigil is sponsored by Faith for a Fair New York, a project of the Labor-Religion Coalition of NYS. as well as Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., Cornhill Community for Change, Utica MoveOn Council and other local groups. Concurrent vigils are being held today in New York City, Albany and Binghamton. The events follow the lead of the Moral Mondays actions led by Rev. Dr. William Barber in North Carolina.

Tracy Besancon, Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. Vice President states, “The Governor’s proposed budget would make New York’s worst-in-the nation income inequality even worse. In the face of an immoral state budget, our faith calls us to act. Cuomo is proposing billions dollars a year in tax breaks that will only go to millionaires, billionaires and Wall Street: a $750M/year reduction in inheritance taxes, and a $350M tax break from elimination of New York’s dedicated Bank Tax. Governor Cuomo’s proposed tax cuts would be financed by more austerity cuts to essential public services, including schools, higher education, local government services and the social safety net. We are asking people of faith from around the state to calling on the Governor and the legislature to pass a faithful budget that prioritizes jobs, education, essential local services and rebuilding the safety net to reduce poverty and hunger and expand opportunity for all New Yorkers.”

The vigil participants also asked people to faith to join a 40 hour fast in an action to “hunger for justice” to draw attention to the ethical wrongs of poverty and income inequality. The fast will begins Tuesday at 8 p.m. and concludes on Thursday at noon. “It is important for people of faith to participate in this fast to show their support for a moral budget that reflects our religious principles for caring for all members of society,” said John Furman, President of the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc.

For more information on the Moral Monday movement in NY, check out this link: Information on local activities can be obtained by contacting John Furman at (315) 725-0974,


utica poor


The Central new York region should explore the feasibility of enacting a tax base sharing initiative. The current system of property taxes encourages sprawl, higher taxes for lower income municipalities, competition between local governments for siting of employers, and racial and income segregation. Through tax base sharing, a part of the area tax base is pooled on a regional level and then redistributed to municipalities on a more equitable basis to reduce fiscal disparities. Major tax-sharing schemes have been enacted only in two areas of the United States – Minneapolis-St. Paul and the Meadowlands of New Jersey. The benefits of such an approach include minimizing competition among municipalities for commercial and economic development projects to increase their tax bases; lessening fiscal disparities among communities; ensuring that all communities benefit and share in the costs of developments that have regional impact; and fostering the development of regional planning and smart growth by minimizing its fiscal impact on individual communities. Municipalities in New York State have little authority to create fiscal equity arrangements and state enabling legislation is needed to enact local reforms. A tax sharing agreement exists between the City of Gloversville and the Town of Johnston which was put into effect as a result of a 2001 State statute (Commission on Local Government Efficiency and Competitiveness, 2008).

In order to relieve fiscal distress of struggling municipalities, avert layoffs of public employees, and maintain services, New York State needs to increase its local aid for municipalities programs and expand it into a general revenue sharing program. State revenue sharing for local communities would reduce dependence on locally generated residential and sales taxes and decrease fiscal disparities among communities. Local governments should advocate for a fairer tax system to include an extension of the millionaire’s tax and tax on Wall Street financial transactions; without long-range tax reform, local communities like Utica will be hard pressed to fund essential services. Local civic and community groups should advocate for a study to explore whether a two-tier property tax system like the one used in Pennsylvania might encourage the development of vacant land in central city neighborhoods. The Earth Rights Institute describes how the two-tier property tax system is implemented and its benefits: “The tax is decreased on buildings, thereby giving property owners the incentive to build and to maintain and improve their properties, and the levy on land values is increased, thus discouraging land speculation and encouraging infill development. This shifting of the tax burden promotes a more efficient use of urban infrastructure (such as roads and sewers), decreases the pressure towards urban sprawl, and assures a broader spread of the benefits of development to the community as a whole.” Finally, it is important to raise the state’s share of elementary and secondary funding to increase equity among school districts and reduce fiscal disparities among communities.






In the final week of January 2014 two current executives and one retired top-level executive of major financial firms were found dead. Both media and police quickly tagged the deaths as likely suicides. Missing from the reports is the striking fact that all three of the financial firms that the executives worked for are under investigation for possibly momentous financial fraud.

The deaths began on Sunday, January 26. London police reported that William Broeksmit, a top executive at Deutsche Bank who retired in 2013, was found hanged at his residence in South London. The next day, Eric Ben-Artzi, a former risk analyst turned whistleblower at Deutsche Bank, was scheduled to speak at Auburn University in Alabama on his assertions that Deutsche had hid $12 billion in losses during the financial crisis with the knowledge of senior executives. Two other whistleblowers at Deutsche brought similar charges.

Deutsche Bank is also under investigation by global regulators for rigging foreign exchange markets. In 2013 Deutsche settled charges of rigging the Libor interest rate.

Two days after Broeksmit’s death, 39-year old Gabriel Magee, a Vice President at JPMorgan in London, fell from the roof of the bank’s 33-story European headquarters. Magee was involved in “Technical architecture oversight for planning, development, and operation of systems for fixed income securities and interest rate derivatives.”

JPMorgan is under the same global investigation for potentially manipulating foreign exchange rates. The firm is also apparently under an investigation by the U.S. Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations for its involvement in potential misconduct in physical commodities markets.

One day after Magee’s death, on Wednesday, January 29, 2014, 50-year old Michael Dueker, Chief Economist at Russell Investments, reportedly died from a 50-foot fall from a highway ramp down an embankment in Washington state.

Pam Martens, “A Rash of Deaths and a Missing Reporter—With Ties to Wall Street Investigations,” Wall Street on Parade, February 4, 2014,
Pam Martens, “Suspicious Death of JPMorgan Vice President, Gabriel Magee, Under Investigation in London,” Wall Street on Parade, February 9, 2014,
Pam Martens, “JPMorgan Vice President’s Death in London Shines a Light on the Bank’s Close Ties to the CIA,” Wall Street on Parade, February 12, 2014,’s-death-in-london-shines-a-light-on-the-bank’s-close-ties-to-the-cia/.
Student Researcher: Alexandra J. Johnson (Florida Atlantic University)
Faculty Evaluator: James F. Tracy (Florida Atlantic University)

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CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION is published by Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., P.O. Box 411, Utica, NY 13503-0411/315-725-0974



March 22, 2014

moral monday photo


When: Monday, March 24, 1 p.m.

Where: In front of the NYS Office Building, 207 Genesee St., Utica NY 13501

What: A vigil will be held to advocate for a moral and fair New York State budget that protects the most vulnerable and narrows the widening gap between rich and poor. Local leaders will also invite the community to join in a 40 hour fast for economic justice and fairness.

Many local nonprofit agencies will suffer losses in funding under the New York State budget and will need to reduce service to the needy. Due to state budget cuts, the Utica City School District is facing a $6.4 million deficit this year and will need to cut nearly 94 employees, in addition to 91.5 positions cut last year. Other school districts will have to lay off teachers and cut back on programs for students. Local municipalities like Utica will need to lay off more workers and cut services because of shortfalls in state funding. Many valuable programs for the homeless, youth, seniors, and disabled will be severely cut or forced to close because of the proposed state budget. While these austerity cuts take place, the big banks and corporations will get huge tax breaks and will pay a lower tax rate than the average New Yorker.

WHO: Local clergy and residents, people of faith. Sponsored by Faith for a Fair New York, a project of the Labor-Religion Coalition of NYS., Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., and other local groups.

WHY: On March 24, clergy, community, and labor allies will come together to call for a faithful budget that values every member of society, prioritizes the common good, and lifts the burdens of poverty. Our many faiths call us to reject tax breaks for the wealthy and demand a budget that serves the people. Concurrent vigils are being held in New York City, Albany and Binghamton. The events follow the lead of the Moral Mondays actions led by Rev. Dr. William Barber in North Carolina.

The proposed Executive Budget proposes billions in new tax breaks for the wealthy, banks, and big corporations that will widen income inequality in New York State. These breaks will result in devastating cuts to public services, including schools, government services and the social safety net.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP: Please attend this event and forward this notice to others.

Contact: John Furman (315) 725-0974,
For more information on the Moral Monday movement in NY, check out this link:

New York State Budget & Inequality Forum This Thursday, March 6

March 3, 2014


Residents to Speak Out on How Budget Cuts Harm Local Communities

The Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., along with a coaliti

on of community and state-wide groups, will sponsor a community forum entitled the “New York State Budget: More Inequality/Cuts or Shared Prosperity?” It will take place from 7– 9 p.m. on Thursday, March 6 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Utica, 10 Higby Road, Utica. This event is free and open to the public and refreshments will be served.

The forum will provide an opportunity for local residents to voice their concerns regarding budget cuts that are harming local communities as well as tax breaks that will disproportionately benefit the rich. . We are seeking persons to speak who can share their stories on how they have been personally impacted by cuts and how important funding public, community, and local government programs are to our area’s vitality. Please contact the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. if you or others can speak at the forum or at a news conference planned for this Friday, March 7 at 11 a.m. at the Utica Public Library.

John Furman, President of the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., states: “The Governor’s 2014-15 budget proposal includes billions in tax breaks for the richest New Yorkers, including a windfall for wealthy estates, a so-called property tax ‘freeze,’ and tax cuts for banks. These tax breaks will make inequality grow in New York State, which ranks first in the nation for its gap between the rich and the middle class. It is no time for the Governor to give tax breaks to the very rich while local communities have suffered cuts to schools, police and fire, and other essential services.

Tracy Besencon, Vice President of the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., said: “New York State leads the nation in income inequality, yet Gov. Cuomo’s proposed state budget prioritizes billions in new tax breaks to benefit the wealthiest New Yorkers at the expense of all of us. In the last 30 years, the income of the top 1 percent of New Yorkers has gone up 368 percent, while the income of the bottom 50 percent has gone down 16 percent. Our child poverty statistics are astounding and shameful with nearly half of all children in Upstate NY’s largest cities living in poverty.”

Ronald Deutsch, Executive Director of the New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness, will be the keynote speaker. He will provide details on austerity cuts to education, local government, and human service as well as the Governor’s proposal to give tax breaks for the wealthy. John Furman, President of the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. will discuss how residents can become involved in the state-wide campaign to oppose the planned tax windfall for the banks and wealthiest New Yorkers. The public will be provided an opportunity to tell their stories on how current and future service cuts will impact their lives.

The forum is co-sponsored by AFSCME, Citizen Action of New York, Labor Religion Coalition, New Yorkers for Fiscal Fairness, CSEA, NYSUT, NY Working Families Party, Strong Economy for All, the AFL-CIO, and other local and state groups.

For further information, call 725-0974, email, or visit