By ALFREDO ALVARADO
DC 37 helped Mayor Bill de Blasio win another four-year term with his landslide victory over his Republican opponent.
“We should all feel elated,” said District Council 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido about de Blasio’s victory.
Voters throughout the state also soundly rejected a ballot proposal to hold a constitutional convention.
“Union members across the state sent a strong message on Election Day,” Garrido said.
“This is a tremendous victory for organized labor in New York and for all working people,” said Mario Cilento, president of the New York State AFL-CIO.
DC 37 was among the more than 150 community organizations and labor unions that joined the New Yorkers Against Corruption coalition to spread the word and get the vote out against a constitutional convention, which was the first proposal on the election ballot.
Beginning in the summer, Volunteer Member Organizers from DC 37 were busy visiting neighborhoods, going door-to door and to workplaces to talk to members about the constitutional convention and to get out the vote. The union opposed the convention because it could have opened the way for anti-government and conservative interests to ram through bad changes to the state’s constitution like eroding pension protections, restricting the government’s obligation to support public schools, and gutting workers’ right to be in a union.
“Our team of activists and volunteers did a tremendous job of educating our members,” said Jeremy John, the political director of the DC 37 Political Action Dept.
During the union’s campaign of several months, teams of activists went out two and three times a week all over the city, talking to members and encouraging them to vote.
Comptroller Scott Stringer and Public Advocate Letitia James, both supported by DC 37, also won their elections.
On Election Day union activists gathered at offices set up in Harlem, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Jamaica, Queens for one last push to get out the vote. Dennis Ifill, chair of the Political Action Committee and president of Local 1359, was one of the many volunteers at the Jamaica office. “We’ve been working hard to get the message out during the last couple of months,” said Ifill, as he helped sign in volunteers at the small store front office on Jamaica Avenue.
Among the many volunteers who showed up in Jamaica despite the heavy rain was a group of volunteers from Lifeguards Local 461.
During his next four years Mayor de Blasio wants to expand the city’s free pre-kindergarten classes currently available to all 4-year-olds. He plans for an eventual expansion to make the classes available to 3-year-olds. He also intends to keep blocking federal immigration agents from detaining people who are living illegally in the United States.