LaborPress held its Labor Leadership Awards On November 28 at the Teamsters Local 282 union hall in Lake Success, Long Island to honor four key figures in New York state for their contributions to the labor movement.
This year’s award winners included state Senate Labor Committee Chair Jessica Ramos; International Union of Operating Engineers Local 30 Business Manager and Financial Secretary William M. Lynn; General Committee of Adjustment 505 Long Island Rail Road General Chairperson Anthony Simon; and President and Principal Officer of IBT Local 812 Joe Vitta.
Hundreds of attendees streamed in the union hall doors for the ceremony hosted by LaborPress’ publisher Neal Tepel.
Sen. Jessica Ramos represents New York’s 13th Senate District in Central Queens. As Chair of the Committee on Labor, she’s fought to pass legislation to created protections for farm and domestic workers, tackle wage theft and worker safety and secure billions for a fund for workers who have been excluded from pandemic-related relief.
“My experience running campaigns in the labor movement has translated to how I build
strategy to pass my priority legislation,” Ramos told LaborPress.
William M. Lynn of IUOE Local 30 rose in the ranks of the union from apprentice to shop steward and then to union leadership. He said that it’s an honor to represent engineers and mechanics that maintain the prominent facilities like the Empire State Building, the Museum of Modern Art, CitiField, Yankee Stadium and Madison Square Garden. As a former lead organizer, he successfully organized Foxwoods Casino and the Town of Shelton public workers. As financial secretary his job is to oversee members’ pension and benefits. He also serves as International Vice-President, International Union of Operating Engineers.
“I wanted to make a difference in the lives of my fellow Local 30 members by being their voice in the wider community and adding strength to working families through health and pension benefits,” he told LaborPress.
As General Chairperson, Anthony Simon of GO-505 represents LIRR conductors, track workers, building and bridge workers, track supervisors, car repair workers and others. He began his career as a station cleaner and climbed through union titles to become general chairperson in 2006. In the role, he’s taken an aggressive approach toward rail infrastructure expansion and led negotiations to boost wages and improve pension and benefit plans for members.
“I have achieved industry standard wage increases, pension improvements, maintained work rule protections, benefit packages and most importantly kept all of our members working during the COVID-19 Pandemic when MTA ridership was decimated,” he told LaborPress.
Joe Vitta of International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 812. Vitta began his career as a warehouse worker with the union and slowly took on more leadership in the union over decades of membership. He is a vice president of the Teamsters National Brewery and Soft Drink Conference, a member of the Board of Joint Council 16 and chairman of the 812 Pension Fund and of the Local 812 Health Fund.