New Facility Will Offer Laborers Union Competitive Job Training
By Johnny Destino
Hundreds gathered in the Town of Niagara last week to celebrate the dedication of the Laborers’ Local #91 “Armand E. Sabitoni” Training Facility located at 4500 Witmer Industrial Estates.
Among those in attendance for this important event were Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) General President Terry O’Sullivan and the honoree himself, LIUNA General Secretary Treasurer Armand E. Sabitoni.
The dedication ceremony opened with a beautiful a cappella rendition of the Star-spangled Banner, performed by Emmeline Vacanti, Eliza Vacanti, Patrick Guarino, Steven Guarino, Derrick Apps, and Randy Palladino.
Former U.S. Representative Kathy Hochul, who now serves as Vice President of Government Relations for M&T Bank, a partner in the Local #91 training facility project, spoke about how important it was to have facilities such as this to promote worker safety and to educate the next generation workforce. “As I drive across the area and I see projects such as the ones happening in the Niagara Falls school district and the work being done on the parkway, I know that we are putting the best, most highly trained people on the job,” said Hochul.
After introductory remarks by General President O’Sullivan, Sabitoni took to the stage and said “This is probably the hardest speech I’ve ever had to make.”
Sabitoni remarked that to him it’s all about family. “Regardless of what the good lord has in store for me, my name and more importantly my deeds will be remembered long after I leave this earth. Brothers and sisters, ladies and gentlemen, I have never been so humbled or so grateful, especially when I pulled up today and saw the sign of this training center. All of us. regardless of vocation, who’ve chosen a life of service, chosen to represent people, to fight for equality, equality of life, we do so not for recognition but simply because it’s the right thing to do. We also know that honors bestowed on one are shared and bestowed on all.”
Today there are over 70 such training facilities across the country and Sabitoni made it a point to say that Local #91 is among the nicest facilities in the nation – and not just because it bears his name.
“It isn’t every day that we have this opportunity to dedicate a building where education and training is ready to supply the skills our members need and our contractors depend upon. This is a multi-use building that shows the ties of training, union representation, and the many benefits offered to our membership. Training and education is the foundation from which everything is built,” said Sabitoni.
“On behalf of the 500,000 members that we all represent, I accept this gracious honor. I want to thank Dickie Palladino and this executive board for what you have accomplished here today. A while back 91 had some issues and it went into trusteeship. I, being the regional manager then had to ship my two key guys out here to see what we could do. And to search and find the right guy because we could not make a mistake on moving the 91 ship forward. When they came back with the name Dickie Palladino, they got the right guy.”
Palladino, who recently ran unopposed for reelection as Business Manager, said he is proud to have the support of his membership and to have seen the completion of this grand project. “I want to thank everyone involved with this project and my membership for having faith in me for the job.”
Palladino, couldn’t have been more proud of this event, which was over five years in the making. “The ceremony went really well and to have Armand’s name on our building as one of the original trainers of LIUNA is an important way to honor his legacy,” said Palladino.
The new facility will offer a variety of different courses for its membership and apprentices. The flexibility to host both multi-week programs as well as refresher courses for its members means that our local work force will be among the most highly skilled and prepared anywhere. “This facility is so important to us not only for training new laborers, but for helping our current members recertify, stay current with changes in safety and techniques, and train on new machinery and equipment,” said Palladino.
Randy Palladino, Director of Training for the local, said how important it was to have the support of so many local groups involved in this project. Orleans-Niagara BOCES, represented by District Superintendent Dr. Clark Godshall and Niagara Career and Technical Education Center Instructor Anthony Molinaro, presented a new podium for the facility constructed by Molinaro’s students. The local and BOCES will be among one of the many partnerships formed to provide a broader range of training options for students.
Niagara County Legislator Jason Zona was also on hand to present Palladino with a citation from the county honoring the dedication of this new facility in his district.
|Niagara Falls Reporter - Publisher Frank Parlato Jr.||www.niagarafallsreporter.com||
May 28, 2013