Warm weather in Central New York is impacting seasonal workers

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — While many central New Yorkers were disappointed to not have a white Christmas, others were grateful because seasonal work could continue through months where it usually couldn’t.

Rick Austin, the Executive Vice President of Butler Fence Co. told NewsChannel 9, “I’m not a skier, I’m a fence owner, so I would rather see my guys working in the winter. This is great
working weather. My guys will tell you they’d rather work on a day like this than working in 85 degree, hot, humid weather.”

Syracuse is on pace for the second warmest December recorded in over a hundred years.

Typically around this time of the year, Butler has to lay off about 40% of their seasonal employees for the winter months. They employ 35 people during their prime season.

Austin takes the layoffs personally each year, explaining, “this time of the year typically when you do have to do a massive lay off, it is just heart breaking I know every one of these guys. I know their families. I know their kids. We’re a family.”

Eric Newton is an installation foreman with Butler Fence Co. Newton has been with the company for almost 20 years, and he is used to budgeting season to season.

“Every little bit helps out nowadays so being able to stay working and keep regular life going. Working seasonally has it’s challenges,” said Newton. “The past few years have been kind of mild but this one has been the nicest so far. It is a pleasant surprise when this happens and it allows us to work a little later in the year.”

Even though some were hoping to see snow this holiday season, Newton, like many other seasonal workers, appreciate these conditions as Syracuse has seen the least snowfall December of 2011.

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