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Labor Perspective From New York City Building Trades President Gary LaBarbera Via The Gotham Gazette: New York City ‘Is Still A Union Town & That’s A Great Thing For Our Future’

Published Sunday, January 20, 2019
by Greater New York Building & Construction Trades President Gary LaBarbera
Labor Perspective From New York City Building Trades President Gary LaBarbera Via The Gotham Gazette: New York City ‘Is Still A Union Town & That’s A Great Thing For Our Future’

The Labor Movement is under attack.

Over the past few years, assaults on Unions and Labor have escalated at a breakneck pace.

From recent court cases like Janus v. AFSCME to Right-To-Work (for less) Legislation creeping through State Legislatures, one thing is clear: Unions remain strong, but our resolve is being tested by increasingly relentless attacks from moneyed interests and a hostile political environment where the value of profit is placed over the value of Working People.

We all know what happens when Union and Labor Power are diminished - a race to the bottom follows where Working People lose out and a handful of wealthy individuals reap the rewards of everyone else’s hard work.

That is not to say the pursuit of wealth should be discouraged - healthy entrepreneurship, innovation and risk power the economic engine of New York, and those who drive their industry forward should be rewarded - however, the engine works best when all its pieces are working fairly and in concert.

There’s a reason New York is the most Union Dense State in the country, and that is because, as New Yorkers, we don’t settle for less, we champion the best.

Unions are the backbone of this State and from the recent fight to codify construction safety to #CountMeIn, our movements have been at the forefront of pushing the country forward in the fight to build a solid Middle Class for all.

Now, more than ever, New York City finds itself at a pivotal moment in Labor History.

With growing wealth inequality and in the face of a commercial and residential construction boom, will developers and power players stand up for our Middle Class or will they settle for the lowest denominator, like Open Shop, in the name of cost-cutting?

As Governor Andrew Cuomo has mentioned, New York will continue moving forward by building new bridges, new airports and other new infrastructure.

This means jobs - lots and lots of Middle Class jobs.

Middle Class jobs aren’t created out of thin air - they require cooperation between job creators and job seekers and the understanding that if an Employee works hard and does their part they should be able to support a family without worrying about whether their next paycheck will be enough to scrape by or whether they will make it home safely.

Lawmakers need to spearhead legislation to ensure residents are being paid higher wages, provided with adequate health benefits, and are placed in an environment with good working conditions - tenets of Union work.

These are not revolutionary ideas, but axioms of New York’s history - a history that some would like to see erased.

To Continue Reading This Labor Perspective, Go To: www.gothamgazette.com/opinion/8212-new-york-city-is-still-a-union-town-and-that-s-a-great-thing-for-our-future?fbclid=IwAR1B-6KjfUzH1ITbxVZ6dwg19UcqVb8RIBaD6sm5mZ5bKxWQAfsjcbmtxOs

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