Ahead of the introduction at today’s City Council Stated Meeting of a resolution 257 declaring solidarity with workers organizing unions across the city, resolution lead sponsor Council Member Tiffany Cabán and colleagues joined the courageous worker-leaders spearheading New York’s current surge of union organizing for a rally under the banner “New York Is A Union Town.”
In addition to Cabán, speakers included worker-leaders from Starbucks Workers United, Amazon Labor Union, 32BJ SEIU, the Association of Legislative Employees (the NYC Council Union), Laborers Local 79, New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE), and Council Members Carmen De La Rosa (Chair, Committee on Civil Service and Labor), Rita Joseph, Alexa Avilés, Sandy Nurse and Jen Gutiérrez. Joining them were members and representatives from 1199 SEIU, the Council of School Superintendents and Administrators, ALIGN NY, NewsGuild of New York, the NY Taxi Workers Alliance, UAW Region 9, and the New York State Nurses Association.
“As the price of food, fuel, medicine, energy, rent, and other essential purchases continue to soar, the billionaire class is extracting profits and over fist, with their wealth going up by almost $2 Trillion during the pandemic,” said Council Member Tiffany Cabán. “Workers are standing up and saying they won’t take it anymore, the number of filings for union elections up 56% this fiscal year compared to 2021. The same bosses reaping the most exorbitant windfall profits are employing the dirtiest, most gutter-scraping union-busting tactics. It won’t work, because we stand with the workers, clearly and without apology. New York is A Union Town!”
NYSNA President Nancy Hagans, RN, CCRN, BSN, said: “Union nurses are proud to care for New York, and we believe that every worker deserves to have the voice and respect that come from being a union member. With big corporations profiting from price gouging, suppressing wages, and driving inflation to record-high levels, workers need to organize and build power to fight back and win the healthy workplaces and communities we all deserve.”
“As Business Manager of Laborer’s Local 79, I applaud Council Member Tiffany Caban and the New York City Council for introducing this resolution which lifts up the role Unions play in creating equity and real opportunity in our City. Throughout our history, unions have created a pathway out of poverty for working class New Yorkers. Now, more than ever, we need to ensure that promise is realized for all of its residents. The power of solidarity will be our path forward. We look forward to working with the City Council to ensure that all workers have real economic opportunity and the chance to work with dignity,” said Laborers’ Local 79 Business Manager Michael Prohaska.
“The City Council staff union is proud to join with working people across the country who are demanding an end to exploitative working conditions. Again and again, workers in every sector have been asked to do more and receive less. It’s no surprise that the number of union drives is at a historic high. Whether you are a Council staffer, barista, or warehouse worker, we are all entitled to fair pay, affordable healthcare, retirement with dignity, and truly sustainable working conditions,” said Vinuri Ranaweera, Vice President of the Association of Legislative Employees (the New York City Council Union.)
“”At The NewsGuild of New York, during the past three years, we’ve organized over 1,500 media and tech workers,” said Susan DeCarava, President of NewsGuild of New York. “We’re fighting to preserve local news across the Northeast in our negotiations with Gannett and right here, in our own backyard, for the media workers of The New York Daily News. While we’ve been successful in raising industry standards for pay, for equity, for diversity, for health and safety, many of our members still experience unrelenting attacks on their rights to organize in their workplaces. It’s become increasingly clear that the only answer to corporate greed is organized labor; that the only way to preserve a free press and democracy, is to organize.”
“This City runs on union power. For centuries, New Yorkers have been organizing together to demand better working conditions, pay, and standard of living. We have all benefited from their sacrifice and continue to learn from their struggle. Today, we live in an era of unrestrained corporate power and profiteering at the expense of workers and their families. It is no wonder that workers from Starbucks, Amazon, REI, Chipotle and more are demanding the pay and safety they need in order to thrive in this City. We stand in solidarity with workers organizing unions across the city and will continue fighting with them to demand nothing less than dignity and justice in the workplace,” said Maritza Silva-Farrell, Executive Director of ALIGN, key leader of the NY Essential Workers Coalition and the New Yorkers for a Fair Economy coalition.”
“Immigrant workers are here to support the wave of unionization happening in our city because we know firsthand what it’s like to be exploited by employers who use our immigration status to steal our wages and risk our lives,” said Nilbia Coyote, Executive Director of NICE. “We stand with unions in their fight to win worker justice and ask our union siblings to expand their membership to workers regardless of their immigration status so workers can have more power across the city!”
“A just recovery for New York means upholding and enshrining the right for workers to organize,” said Comptroller Brad Lander. “From nurses, taxi drivers, baristas, to warehouse workers, they all deserve fair wages, safe workplaces, and reasonable hours. Our economy is stronger when our collective bargaining power is strong. Together, we stand in solidarity to say: New York is a Union Town.”
“When workers win, we all do,” said Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams. “As more New Yorkers organize and unionize, our city and our communities grow stronger. I’m proud to partner with Council Member Cabán and so many other members of City Council to send a strong and resounding message: New York is a union town, and we will always stand with workers.”
“In these times of crisis, unprecedented new organizing drives in industries that have traditionally resisted unionization are one bright spot pointing towards a better future,” said Council Member Alexa Avilés.
“Workers across the country have reached a breaking point,” said Council Member Sandy Nurse. “After years of surviving on starvation wages, exploitative and dangerous conditions, meager or nonexistent benefits, and authoritarian bosses that track and clock your every minute, we are seeing widespread unionization efforts to build democratic power in the workplace. These workers face some of the richest people in the world, but these billionaires will lose because we know that labor creates all wealth. I proudly stand with the workers here today and those across our City who are fighting for a union and more democratic control of their workplace.”
“As someone who has been a part of not one, but two unions, the right to organize is something that I consider to be sacred,” said Council Member Rita Joseph. “When unions are strong, it benefits all workers. Today, my colleagues and I are saying loudly and proudly: we will always support the right to unionize!”