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February 22, 2012

Representatives of Organized Labor joined with a number of area Community Groups to rally outside the County of Monroe IDA (COMIDA) on Tuesday (February 21st) in order to publicly urge its Board to rescind Tax Abatements given to Ward’s Natural Science, a subsidiary of VWR Education LLC. Pressure is mounting on COMIDA to rescind its tax deal with VWR, which has become a central focus for Reform Advocates across New York – with on-line actions targeting COMIDA launched across the State last week.

Advocates from Erie Country traveled to stand with their Monroe County counterparts at the COMIDA Board Meeting where they presented statements that VWR has engaged in shifting jobs from one part of the State to another, instead of creating new jobs in exchange for tax subsidies. Those groups who took part in the rally included the Rochester and Genesee Valley AFL-CIO Area Labor Federation, the Western New York AFL-CIO Area Labor Federation, Teamsters Joint Council 46, the Coalition for Economic Justice, Metro Justice, Citizen Action, Alliance for Quality Education, and Occupy Buffalo...

Rochester and Genesee Valley AFL-CIO Area Labor Federation President James Bertolone said “VWR is an all too common example of how corporations have ‘gamed’ the system.”

“As we struggle with on-going unemployment, an urban poverty crisis, struggling schools and cuts to critical programs from Health Care to highway repair, it’s time to ensure that corporations start paying their fair share and start delivering on the good jobs they promise – otherwise we need our money back. VWR has not created the good jobs they promised, which is why we are calling on COMIDA to end its agreement with VWR,” Bertolone said.

Western New York AFL-CIO Area Labor Federation President Richard Lipsitz said: “VWR has been doing deals with the Erie County IDA to avoid paying their fair share of taxes since the 1970’s... They’ve likely had this plan for years, because they’ve been racking up tax breaks in Monroe County since 2001, expanding their warehouse there in preparation for the Tonawanda (N.Y.) shutdown. It is time for COMIDA to end its agreement with VWR.”

VWR, which recorded $3.6 billion in sales in 2010, is an International Distributor of Scientific and Laboratory Supplies and Chemicals and is owned by Chicago-based private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners...

“It is time to bring some sanity to the rest of our jobs and Economic Development Programs,” Coalition for Economic Justice Executive Director Allison Duwe said. “If we don’t we will continue to give away money and get nothing in return. We will continue to face an assault on the public investments that are critical to a healthy economy – public transit, education, health care, infrastructure, and on and on.”

Metro Justice Board President Paula Hansen added: “We’re not opposed to helping companies succeed by providing subsidies. But those subsidies need to be used to help build a better future for our community, not to line the pockets of Ward’s and their private equity firm owners...”

To read the full article visit: WNY Labor Today