City man: County gov’t. anti-union

JOHNSTOWN – A public speaker accused Fulton County government of being anti-union at the Board of Supervisors meeting last week at the County Office Building.

John Kane of 161 W. Bush Road, Gloversville, told the board that since the 1970s, working class wages have generally stagnated in the United States in the midst of immense wealth accumulation by the “capitalist class.” His comments included references to former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, former U.S. President Ronald Reagan and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, before referencing Fulton County government.

He said county government – run daily by county Administrative Officer Jon Stead – has had an “all-out attack upon the people’s labor union.” He mentioned the 200-member union members that once existed at the former Fulton County Residential Health Care Facility, which is now run by a private firm.

Kane claimed Stead recently “took credit” in his 22nd “State of the County” address Jan. 31 at the Hales Mills Country Club for personally and with supervisors successfully eliminating “a large sector” of the public service unionized workers at the infirmary.

In his address, Stead alluded to the county a few years ago launching a program to become more fiscally responsible. He said that included cutting payroll by one-third, accomplished partly by selling the former county nursing home.

Kane noted the address was given at an event sponsored by the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce at what he called a “private profit-making club.”

The Hales Mills Country Club is open to the public.

“I believe this tells the whole story of what Jon Stead’s goal is and a certain group of supervisors that have control of the county government is,” Kane stated. “That is to favor the chamber of commerce and its capital business members and to weaken and destroy the people’s labor unions, public service workers system and the public service union. This is so control of the system can then be opened to not-for-profits and the private profit-making enterprise.”