September 19, 2013
By Stephanie West
District Council 37 Executive Director Lillian Roberts has announced the union's support of Public Advocate Bill de Blasio for Mayor. The announcement follows on the recommendation of the union's screening committee and the unanimous support of DC 37's Executive Board.
"We know Bill will bring the same passion and creativity he displayed in his impressive primary bid to a victorious general election campaign," Roberts said. "Bill's advocacy for the 99 percent of New Yorkers left out for the last 12 years resonated in every borough with a diverse coalition of voters.
"We can count on a Mayor de Blasio to end the Bloomberg-era policy of outsourcing, which cost taxpayers billions of dollars in waste and outright contractor fraud," Roberts said. "We know that as Mayor de Blasio will understand that a fairly compensated municipal workforce is the foundation for a secure and thriving taxpaying middle class."
Members of the union's executive board reached consensus after reviewing de Blasio's plans to restore the city's long-neglected public housing, establish universal pre-kindergarten and revive community-based policing. His advocacy for a public health system that shrives to serve all, his proposals that seek to close the nation’s highest income inequality gap and his opposition to privatization and contracting out resonated with the unions executive board. A de Blasio victory would mark the first time in 20 years that a Democrat has the opportunity to lead New York City despite the fact that registered Democrats vastly outnumber Republicans.
Roberts warned against complacency by organized labor. Only about 600,000 of the city's almost three million registered Democrats turned out for the hotly contested primary. "If we are honest with ourselves, and we must be, the turnout in the primary for all the candidates was worrisome for a party dedicated to advancing the agenda of working people," Roberts said. "We know that the right to vote did not come for free and was paid for with the blood, sweat and tears not to mention the lives of those who came before us. We must redeem their sacrifice every election day by voting."
DC 37's Screening Committee interviewed former Deputy Mayor Joe Lhota today for what was a very substantive conversation about the City's future and the union's priorities. "We want to thank him for his time and interest in our perspectives,” said Political Action Committee Chair Dennis Ifill.
DC 37 is comprised of 54 active locals representing 121,000 municipal workers and 50,000 retirees. The union rank-and-file is critical to the day-to-day operations of the City's emergency services, hospitals, public schools, public housing, libraries, cultural institutions, information technology networks and transportation systems, and more.