LaborPress held its Labor Leadership Awards April 4 at the Teamsters Local 282 union hall in Lake Success, Long Island to honor six key figures in New York state for their contributions to the labor movement.

This year’s award winners included Richard Davis, president of TWU Local 100; Brendan Sexton, president of IDG/IAMAW; William Bourguignon, president of the Nassau County Detectives Association; Joseph Reilly, president of the New York City District Council of Carpenters Local 45; Robert “Bobby” Bartels, Jr., business manager of Steamfitters Local 638; and Luis Alzate, President and Business Agent, ATU Local 1056.

“We do these events where we’re honoring not only the president, we’re honoring the members,” said Neal Tepel, LaborPress’s publisher. “It’s an opportunity for us to talk with the community and the general public about the important work these union members do.”

Tepel said a crucial role that these unions play for their members is in providing training programs.

Davis oversees a workforce of 41,000 in the New York City public transportation system and some 26,000 retirees. During the union’s most recent contract negotiations last year, the union achieved raises over the next three-years, $4,000 in essential worker cash bonus payments and three months of paid maternity leave —up from two weeks prior.

“I am dedicated to increasing the number of women in union leadership positions and addressing safety and quality of life issues,” Davis told LaborPress.

As President of the Independent Drivers Guild Sexton has taken charge of a new advocacy organization supporting New York’s independent drivers including all current 35,000 Uber drivers in New York City, Under Sexton’s tenure the guild has helped organize drivers across different states and led massive rallies such as the massive one in New York that shut down the Brooklyn Bridge and the FDR drive to raise awareness over fair labor laws.

“Drivers are the best. They are tough. It is not easy to be a driver,” Sexton told LaborPress. “They are so passionate about their career and making it better. Being able to sit in a room with drivers, talking to them one on one, is probably the best part.”

As president of Local 45, Reilly has worked to diversify his union using direct entry apprentice programs like Helmets to Hardhats veterans and Non-traditional Employment for Women giving in order to welcome different backgrounds and genders into the union trades.

“I’m ‘die-hard’’ because Unions are more than just people doing their jobs. It’s the idea of equality, brotherhood and the collective. The concept of looking out for each other: cooperation over competition,” Reilly told LaborPress.

Since taking on the role of president last year, Bourguignon has made it a priority to address the staffing shortage of Nassau County’s detectives. Prior to becoming the union president. He served over 20 years working as an NYPD cop and police investigator in Nassau County.

“I will continue to advocate for my members and meet with Police Department brass and the

county administration to force them to face this dangerous Detective shortage and address this very serious public safety crisis,” Bourguignon told LaborPress.

As a Business Manager for Local 638, Bartels represents general pipe fitting workers across New York City and all of Long Island. In his role he has pledged to fight the exploitation of

non-union and corrupt developers and contractors against their employees.

“Every time I got elected to a position [in the union] was a special moment. As well as when I can protect my jurisdiction for my members; it’s always a terrific feeling,” Bartels told LaborPress.

Alzate has 30 years on the job with ATU Local 1056 — 25 of those as a union representative. During his tenure, he has fought for equity and inclusion through his participation in the ATU International Latino Caucus.

“What I would like to see and plan for, as far as the well-being of our members, is education, communication, and unity,” Alzate told LaborPress.


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