By MIKE LEE
At a virtual press conference, the leaders of five New York City unions announced the endorsements of 31 NY City Council candidates for the June 22 Primary Election.
The five unions formed the #LaborStrong2021 coalition, committing their power and resources to back a labor-oriented, progressive agenda to help New York City recover from the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has gripped the city since March of last year.
Along with District Council 37, the coalition includes 32BJ SEIU, Communications Workers of America District 1, the Hotel Trades Council, and the New York State Nurses Association.
The five unions represent 362,000 of the city’s essential workers, who have been on the frontlines, risking their lives providing needed services during the pandemic.
Speaking at the January 27 event, DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said, “This is a defining moment for labor in New York. In this situation where so much emphasis is with electing a new mayor, if we do not have partners and leaders in the City Council who will follow through and show leadership by supporting our workers in working with our next Mayor we will have gridlock. This is unacceptable.”
“The strength and resiliency of this city is rooted in the labor movement”, said Garrido. “When labor stands together in unity—we win.”
“Throughout the pandemic, our members have not flagged in their sense of purpose to keep New York running and safe,” said 32BJ SEIU President Kyle Bragg. “Our members are determined to elect a Council majority who have the power to carry out policies that will help our city recover while supporting the rights and economic well-being of workers, their families and all New Yorkers.”
“The pandemic helped expose the extreme racial and income inequality in our city,” said NYSNA President Judy Sheridan-Gonzalez, RN. “Essential workers saw the harm to our communities up close. That’s why we’re coming together to work to elect leaders committed to dismantling racism and leveling the playing field for hardworking New Yorkers.”
This will be the first election to use the ranked choice voting system, approved by city voters last June.
In ranked choice voting, instead of casting a vote for a single candidate, voters have the opportunity to rank up to five candidates by order of preference.