Teachers bring a show of unity

By DON WILLIAMS Jr.

I was reading your paper and I saw the big full page ad from the Dunkirk Teachers Association thanking the public for coming out to support the Repower Dunkirk project by NRG at the Public Service Commission hearing July 15.

I was in attendance at the hearing. We arrived at SUNY Fredonia at 5 p.m. to a half-full room at the Williams Center. I was impressed that so many people were there so early. By 6 p.m., there were so many people in that building and outside that building; it was truly a wonderful sight.

I think the elected officials did a wonderful job on behalf of their constituents. I also think the public did a fine job in their comments. I thank all the speakers for speaking out at the hearing. I did not choose to speak. I think it is safe to say that at least 90 percent of the speakers were in favor of the repowering initiative that NRG is proposing for the Dunkirk plant.

As a labor person, the highlight of the evening for me was when Dunkirk Teachers Association President, Nancy Baker, went to the podium. As she was approaching the podium about to speak of the 58 teaching positions that would be lost and the services that would be lost from the loss of those teachers if NRG is not able to repower, Dunkirk teachers in attendance started to stand up. This was very visual to me as they started standing up all over the Williams Center.

They were everywhere. Then the teachers all made their way to the center aisle to stand behind their DTA president as she continued to put her points into public record of the PSC hearing without missing a beat as they filled the aisle in behind her. They were all wearing their Maroon DTA t-shirts and it looked wonderful as they stood behind her filling up the center aisle from directly behind their president to almost back to the doors.

When DTA President Nancy Baker was done stating her points to repower Dunkirk to the commission, she received a standing ovation.

So I want to say that it is the community that should be saying “Thank you” Nancy Baker and “Thank you” Dunkirk Teachers Association for speaking up and standing behind one another in such a visual way to fight for your community here in Dunkirk.

Don Williams Jr. is a Dunkirk resident.