By Liam Cusack
September 23, 2010
John Liu, Comptroller for the City of New York received a standing ovation when he spoke to the general membership meeting of Local 79 on Wednesday evening September 15, 2010. Telling members of the LIUNA Local 79 that his most important job as Comptroller is to ensure that workers are treated and paid fairly. Liu pointed out that in the past year the Comptroller’s office has barred four companies from doing business in New York City for cheating workers out of salaries.
“We need to send a strong signal that if you’re going to cheat workers you are going to get caught and you’re going to be punished,” said Comptroller Liu.
Speaking of the importance of unions, Liu told the members his own family history. He spoke of his mother, who was an immigrant from Taiwan and worked long hours in a clothing manufacturer’s sweat shop, a non-union company. He compared his mother’s experience with that of his mother-in-law who also worked in clothing manufacturing but in an organized shop. “My mother worked years and years, without health coverage, without a pension to look forward to, and with no one looking out for her welfare. My mother-in-law on the other hand retired with a pension and health benefits. This is why I support you, you look out for the welfare of the worker,” said Liu.
“We all want the golden opportunities this country can offer and there will be no trade off in doing the right thing.” Liu said. “We are in a growing city, the future is exciting, but we need to prepare for it. You’re helping us to do that and I thank you for the work you do.”
John Delgado, Business Manager of Local 79 introduced Liu as the “man with perhaps the most important elected position in this city.” Speaking to the fact that as NYC’s chief financial officer Liu signs $66 billion in checks annually. Delgado praised Liu’s support of unions and ended by saying, “Take a good look at this man, this man is going to go places, he’s got a great career ahead of him, and he’s going to help us”.