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Labor Unions Representing Workers Negatively Impacted By New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s Unilateral Decision To Alter Longstanding Prevailing Wage Agreements File Legal Challenge

New York State AFL-CIO President Cilento Says Move Has Ramifications Beyond The New York City Workers It Impacts - “This Is A Slap In The Face To All Workers And ‘All’ New Yorkers”

Published Friday, April 20, 2012 1:00 pm
by NYS Labor News Services & WNYLT Staff

(NEW YORK CITY) - Workers negatively affected by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg Administration’s unilateral decision to alter long-standing Prevailing Wage Agreements (PLAs) have filed a legal challenge, Union Representatives have announced.

Last week the Bloomberg Administration did away with nearly 120 years of Labor Relations by declaring the City Comptroller could no longer set Prevailing Wage Agreements for a specific group of City Workers, which imperils the livelihoods of nearly 10,000 hard-working New Yorkers.  The Bloomberg Administration’s Executive Order affects Public Sector Workers, including thousands who are Members of Unions affiliated with the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York.  In response, Workers are filing a legal challenge to the Executive Order, with the support of Organized Labor, Union Officials said.

“The Executive Order was done without public discussion and behind closed doors,” New York City Central Labor Council President Vincent Alvarez said.  “No effort was made to communicate with the Workers.  They deserve better than that and that’s why we back their legal challenge.”

New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento, whose Statewide Labor Organization represents 2.5 million Union-Represented Workers, said the Bloomberg Administration’s unilateral move has ramifications far beyond the City Workers who are directly impacted. 

“This is a slap in the face to ‘all’ Workers and ‘all’ New Yorkers,” Cilento said.  “The New York State AFL-CIO will fight with our Brothers and Sisters to overturn the Mayor’s unilateral decision.  The Labor Movement in this State will never tolerate such blatant disregard for the voice of Working Men and Women on an issue that directly affects their lives, their livelihoods and their well-being.”

A number of other prominent New York City Labor Leaders echoed Cilento’s comments:

Gary LaBarbera, who serves as President of the Building & Construction Trades of Greater New York, said: “It’s just wrong to reverse course on a policy that has worked for the people of this City for more than a century with virtually no discussion or notice, particularly when this action questionably involves one City Official unilaterally taking power from another.  We have demonstrated a willingness to work with this Administration, but that requires dialogue.  On this matter, there was none.  That is no way to do business and it is no way to govern."

Executive Director Lillian Roberts of AFSCME (American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees) District Council 37 – New York’s City Largest Public Union - said: “The recent attempt by Mayor Bloomberg to seize control of Prevailing Rate Regulations from the Comptroller is nothing more than a naked power grab aimed at suppressing the Wages and Benefits of Hard-Working Men and Women employed as City Trade Workers, and is part of the larger nationwide assault on Working People by the richest One-Percent. This is unacceptable, and the Union will do everything in its power to make sure that the Members we represent retain the right to earn Fair and Equitable Wages.”

Joseph Colangelo, who serves as President of SEIU (Service Employees International Union) Local 246, said: “With the stroke of a pen, Mayor Bloomberg has flushed down the toilet the process to determine the Wages and Benefits for Prevailing Wage Employees.  This is an attack on Labor the likes of which the City has never seen.”

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