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By Mark Scheerer

June 21, 2011

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. - The State of New York shouldn't go looking for jobs in all the wrong places, according to workers' rights and immigration activists. They're wary about plans in Albany to create regional economic development councils, and they're holding a news conference in Central Islip, outside a plant operated by the firm Cintas, charging it with exploiting workers and committing environmental violations.

The organization Long Island Jobs With Justice takes a dim view of the tax breaks Cintas gets from the Islip Industrial Development Agency, and Karina Claudio, of the Brooklyn-based group Make the Road New York, says the company isn't creating good jobs.

"A lot of folks that come into the work force are immigrants and we want folks to know that they have rights and to demand that they get living wages."

They're calling on state leaders to make sure regional economic development councils reportedly in the works are based on solid strategies. Cintas, an Ohio-based company that provides uniforms and other services and supplies to businesses, did not answer calls and e-mails seeking comment.

Charlene Obernauer of Long Island Jobs With Justice calls New York's economic development system "complex and haphazard," although she says not all of the $8 billion a year the state doles out in corporate tax breaks are misguided. She points to a new report that sorts it all out.

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