Fredonia — CSEA Labor Relations Specialist Jill Ackerman, who addressed the board during the public forum session, brought to light the existence of overt anti-union animus text messages by a trustee that demonstrate hostile sentiments that are affecting labor management relations and prove a pattern of harassment and antagonism toward CSEA union members and representatives. All photos by Ove Overmyer, CSEA ©2021

Fredonia – On June 28, CSEA members who work for the Village of Fredonia and several allies from the local labor council packed a village hall meeting space to voice concerns about recent unprofessional conduct demonstrated by a village trustee and the newly appointed Personnel Specialist.

CSEA Labor Relations Specialist Jill Ackerman, who addressed the board during the public forum session, brought to light the existence of overt anti-union animus text messages by a trustee that demonstrate hostile sentiments that are affecting labor management relations and prove a pattern of harassment and antagonism toward CSEA union members and representatives.

KC Christopher

CSEA Unit President KC Christopher was one of the village employees who was targeted in a text message by Village Trustee Roger M. Britz, Jr. The Village of Fredonia bargaining unit has approximately 34 members and is part of Chautauqua County Local 807.

Ackerman says she and the unit members understand the village board is going through a transition period but emphasized the recent unprofessional behaviors of elected officials and management personnel must end.

Ackerman said, “We are here today to present these facts with the hope we can remedy whatever issues exist today can be rectified tomorrow. Rather than filing legal charges, flooding you with paperwork and bringing high costs from legal fees, we are searching for partners in good government and want to get back to focusing on the business of serving the residents of this community.”

Ackerman went on to say, “In all my years of working in labor relations, I have never experienced an elected official who put in writing such contempt for the workforce. It amazes me that this is how Mr. Britz chooses to conduct himself, rather than finding a more productive way to handle his overt and obvious dislike of our village employees.”

Christopher, who has been a Motor Equipment Operator and a member of CSEA since 1999, says he and his members will continue to hold their elected officials accountable and continue to deliver exceptional public services.

Christopher said, “We know the residents of the village appreciate what we unionized employees do and the level of professionalism we exhibit. Nothing will deter us from doing our job the best way we know how, notwithstanding the disrespect and indifference coming from some of our village officials.”

After her remarks, CSEA LRS Jill Ackerman gets welcomed by union members in a hallway adjacent to the village trustee board room.

-Ove Overmyer

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About Author

Ove Overmyer is an award winning photojournalist and writer who has promoted the virtue of working people and the value of public service throughout his career. His work has been published by many well-respected international media outlets, including PBS Moyers & Co., Steward Update UCS Worker Institute Cornell ILR, CBS News, The Weather Channel, SCI-FY Channel, Associated Press and LOGO-TV. Before joining the CSEA Communications Department staff in 2015, Overmyer was a CSEA member employed by the City of Rochester and an officer of the union for more than 18 years. He covers a 14 county area of Western New York and lives in Rochester, NY.

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