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April 1, 1999  

New head of state AFL-CIO promises intensified lobbying and organizing

The new president of the state AFL-CIO has promised to begin a new statewide organizing efforts and to intensify the union's advocacy efforts in Albany.

Dennis M. Hughes was elected president of the 2.5 million-member union March 23. He succeeds Edward J. Cleary, who is retiring.

Hughes said that the AFL-CIO will "harness and direct the full political and legislative potential of our 31 central labor councils, 71 state organizations, 3,500 local unions and more than two million members into a force that no legislator or candidate for office will be able to ignore."

Under "the Solidarity Project" announced by Hughes, all union affiliates will seek to unionize non-union workers statewide-"from bakery workers in Buffalo to bricklayers in Babylon; from sheetmetal workers in Schenectady to steelworkers in Syracuse; and from maintenance workers in Massena to machinists in Manhattan."

Hughes also said that the AFL-CIO plans to use the Internet "to educate and mobilize union members."

Hughes, 48, was hired at the New York State AFL-CIO in 1985 and has been coordinating political and legislative programs for the union since 1990.