Who Are The Labor Unions Backing 2021 Mayoral Candidates?


With lower than three months earlier than the June twenty second major in New York Metropolis, there are many gamers seeking to sway who turns into the Democratic nominee for mayor. One of the influential (or a minimum of extremely wanted) is organized labor, the umbrella time period for the 150 municipal labor unions representing greater than 300,000 metropolis employees—resembling lecturers, police, and well being employees—in addition to the highly effective non-public unions who signify individuals within the tourism business, constructing cleaners, and airport employees.

A number of the largest unions have already got made their endorsements, taking a political gamble on which candidate would possibly finest serve their wants and safe sufficient help citywide to win the nomination. Whereas a union endorsement isn’t any assure all members will help the endorsed candidate, it may be an vital a part of a candidate’s technique to assemble a profitable coalition. In return, union leaders are banking on having a pal in Metropolis Corridor when it comes time to renegotiate contracts or foyer on points that have an effect on employees.

From a candidate’s perspective “you are in search of constructing blocks,” stated Bob Liff, a Democratic political marketing consultant with George Artz Communications. However he stated unions have to make their choices with care, “They do not wish to piss off any individual who would possibly win simply because they endorse any individual else.”

The dangers of organising a fraught relationship between labor and administration are actual. When Mayor Invoice de Blasio entered Metropolis Corridor in January of 2014, he inherited roughly 300,000 unionized workers who had been working with expired labor contracts. Within the case of lecturers represented by the United Federation of Academics, that they had gone greater than the 4 years with out raises and profit modifications.

Simply days after de Blasio received his first time period, the New York Instances ran a front-page story warning contract talks might show “devilishly troublesome” for the newly elected mayor, seen as a pal to labor with a acknowledged dedication to addressing inequality.

Enter Bob Linn, a veteran labor negotiator who served as de Blasio’s Labor Relations commissioner. In his first yr, Linn struck offers with the lecturers and nurses which included again pay and raises together with an settlement to seek out healthcare profit financial savings. He even managed to achieve a take care of a gaggle often known as the Uniformed Officer Coalition, a gaggle of eight unions representing uniformed supervisors inside police, hearth, sanitation, and correction businesses.

These early wins set a sample for future negotiations and now greater than 80% of town’s employees are below contract. Linn stated the dynamic between town and its employees remodeled, and even improved, throughout the de Blasio administration.

“The town works with its unions, listens to its unions,” stated Linn. “By and enormous, labor and administration are working collectively to unravel issues and that is a a lot totally different surroundings than the one we inherited.”

Assuming that the winner of the Democratic major emerges victorious within the November normal election, they’re the beneficiary of this renewed sense of partnership. However they may also be staring down critical finances challenges which will make it onerous to be as beneficiant as this present administration.

Nonetheless, unions who wish to safe the very best offers for his or her members know in addition they want to indicate that they’ll arrange and get out the votes, which is why labor heavyweights usually have robust political operations.

“It does not imply that 100% of their membership goes to vote for that candidate,” stated James Parrott, director of financial and financial coverage on the Middle for New York Metropolis Affairs on the New Faculty. However he stated an endorsement must be thought-about a lift.

“That 10 or 20% of their membership that’s politically mobilized are going to be on the market urging all of their family and friends, colleagues and neighbors to additionally help that candidate,” Parrott stated. “That is the place that is what the distinction is.”

Listed below are labor union heavy weights and what we all know (up to now) about their 2021 citywide endorsements:

District Council 37

President: Henry Garrido

Membership: 150,000 members and 50,000 retirees throughout a number of metropolis businesses and titles

Previous picks: John Liu 2013, Invoice de Blasio 2017

2021 mayoral endorsement: Eric Adams
The town’s largest union for municipal employees, DC 37, made its endorsement of Eric Adams official on Wednesday, holding a press convention at Roy Wilkins Park in Jamaica, Queens. The union had already signaled earlier this month that it deliberate to again Adams, calling him a pal to labor and dealing individuals.

“Labor is in his blood – his mom was a DC 37 member,” Garrido stated in a press release. “He’s stood with us at rallies and marched with us at protests. He is aware of that New York Metropolis thrives when its employees thrive. He’s dedicated to being the Blue Collar Mayor and pal of labor our employees deserve.”


President: Kyle Bragg

Membership: 85,000 members of his union work as airport employees, safety officers, doormen and constructing and faculty cleaners

Previous picks: Christine Quinn 2013, Invoice de Blasio 2017

2021 mayoral endorsement: Eric Adams

Bragg has led the union for 2 years, elected unanimously by its members after the sudden loss of life of its former president, Hector Figueroa, who suffered a deadly coronary heart assault in July 2019. The group has been a pacesetter on campaigns to extend minimal wage and battle for environmental, social and financial justice.

When Adams accepted their endorsement earlier this month, he stated: “There’s nothing fancy about me. I’m only a blue collar man. I do know what you need.”

United Federation of Academics

President: Michael Mulgrew

Membership: 100,000 lively members and 100,000 retirees

Previous picks: Invoice Thompson 2013, Invoice de Blasio 2017

2021 mayoral endorsement: Watch this area in April

The UFT has been conducting a rigorous screening course of, holding city corridor conferences with every of the candidates. Not like 8 years in the past the place the contract was one of many defining points, political coordinator Dermot Smyth stated members say this yr they need a pacesetter who is able to get issues executed and meet the monumental challenges that can include serving to town get well. “The suggestions that I have been getting from speaking to members across the metropolis is the expertise will not be one thing to be poo-pooed,” Smyth informed Gothamist/WNYC. “I do know in a political world proper now generally expertise is frowned upon, however I do not know that that is the case proper now,” for UFT members, he added.

The union plans to carry a city corridor with the ultimate candidates it’s contemplating on April fifth and make an endorsement the week after.

1199 SEIU

President: George Gresham

Membership: 250,000 lively members in well being care, plus retirees and their households

Previous picks: Invoice de Blasio 2013, Invoice de Blasio 2017

2021 mayoral endorsement: Maya Wiley

Recognized for his or her activism and get-out-the-vote operation, the endorsement of 1199 SEIU was seen as a significant coup for Wiley.

“Maya’s priorities are our priorities—from investing in and pretty compensating our caregivers to rebuilding our financial system by means of job creation and coaching,” stated Gresham, president of 1199SEIU, in a press release asserting their endorsement.

Gabby Seay, political director of 1199 SEIU, informed Gothamist/WNYC that the union plans to run a sturdy marketing campaign to help Wiley. “Our members will hear from us on-line speaking about our endorsed candidate, speaking about ranked-choice [voting], offering them with the political schooling and the political details that they want to have the ability to make these selections.”

Lodge Trades Council (HTC)

President: Wealthy Maroko

Membership: 40,000 lodge and gaming employees in New York and Northern New Jersey

Previous picks: Christine Quinn 2013, Invoice de Blasio 2017

2021 endorsement: Eric Adams

The HTC is in a interval of transition with a brand new president who succeeded the long-serving political powerhouse, Peter Ward, who stepped down final summer season. He was succeeded by the union’s normal counsel, Wealthy Maroko, who labored with him to barter wages and advantages for his or her members for greater than a decade. In a prolonged submit on the union’s web site Ward famous, “[Maroko] has negotiated the Coronavirus security protocol at over 160 union accommodations, protecting over 20,000 members. He has fought again fiercely in opposition to these dangerous employers who’ve tried to take advantage of the disaster to get out of paying their workers’ wages and advantages and in some circumstances, to get out of the Union contract all collectively.”

As one of many industries most adversely affected by the pandemic, and by their very own estimation, an over-development of accommodations throughout town, it’s unclear if the HTC endorsement will deliver with it the identical degree of political oomph as has in previous elections.

Maroko posted a prolonged endorsement announcement for Eric Adams on their web site:

“Adams understands the very important have to deliver tourism again to New York and his plans to take action embody growing public security, growing good COVID-19 protocols throughout town, and passing measures to help the struggling lodge business. He was a vocal proponent of lodge employees receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Adams additionally voiced help for metropolis council laws final yr which provided job protections for employees at accommodations present process modifications in possession.”

Retail, Wholesale and Division Retailer Union, RWDSU

President: Stuart Appelbaum

Membership: 45,000 members in New York Metropolis

Previous picks: Christine Quinn 2013, Invoice de Blasio 2017

2021 mayoral endorsement: Scott Stringer

RWDSU was the primary main union to endorse within the 2021 mayor’s race asserting their choice again in October. In a press release, union president Stuart Appelbaum praised the Metropolis Comptroller for his progressive bona fides, describing Stringer as somebody who would, “shield and advance the rights of working individuals.”

“From combatting wage theft to preventing for sturdy office security protections to championing paid household depart, Scott has at all times stood up for town’s most weak and marginalized employees. As a local son of Washington Heights, Scott is aware of that working persons are the lifeblood of this metropolis’s financial system. Scott understands what we’d like for a simply financial restoration and he has the values, the expertise and the know-how to get it executed. That’s why RWDSU is able to get to work to elect Scott Stringer as the following Mayor of New York Metropolis.”

Freelancers Union

President: Rafael Espinal, former Metropolis Councilmember

Membership: 150,000 freelancers in New York Metropolis, with over 55,000 which can be actively engaged with our companies.

Previous picks: That is the primary yr the union is endorsing a mayoral candidate
2021 endorsement: Maya Wiley and Andrew Yang

That is the primary and up to now solely group to dip its toes within the ranked selection voting waters, making a duel-endorsement within the mayor’s race. Union President Rafael Espinal stated the group chosen these candidates based mostly as a result of they each perceive that an financial restoration in New York Metropolis can not rely completely on work by means of an employer/worker mannequin and should even be cognizant of the every day stressors skilled by gig, short-term and contract employees.

“Each candidates have listened to our issues and labored to give you good plans to deal with points on the forefront for unbiased employees, which embody well being care, retirement, and wage safety,” Espinal stated. “I’m proud to co-endorse each candidates who will deliver their imaginative and prescient and execution to bear on the challenges going through contributors within the freelance financial system.”

Espinal stated they plan to spend the time between now and the first concentrating on their members by means of electronic mail campaigns, volunteer efforts and cellphone banks. “Our purpose is to make Yang and Wiley the highest two candidates within the Rank Selection Voting course of,” he added.