New York, NY – Whether it’s Related Cos.’ push for more nonunion building at Hudson Yards, at lower wages and benefits, or Charter Communications’ refusal to settle a 19-month-old strike with workers over lost pensions and healthcare packages — the corporate class’ campaign to further squeeze working families dry in this town couldn’t be any clearer.
“Let’s face it — the one-percent are nothing but whiners complaining that they’re not rich enough because they have to pay people what they deserve — it’s gotta stop,” Sally Lelong, an artist and financial aid director told LaborPress this week.
Lelong stood on 6th Avenue near 54th Street on Tuesday, cheering on #CountMeIn trade unionists as they marched on Related Cos. offices at 10 Columbus Circle.
“I’m right in the face of families’ inability to educate their children and develop they’re own skills for advancement,” Lelong continued. “Capitalism needs a conscious. And if we don’t have unions that doesn’t develop. Unions benefit us all.”
Capitalism needs a conscious. And if we don’t have unions that doesn’t develop. Unions benefit us all — Sally Lelong, artist and financial aid director
Last week, New York Council Speaker Corey Johnson [D-District 3] expressed his support for a new resolution supporting the #CountMeIn campaign saying, “Even if I wasn’t a strong union supporter, I would back this campaign for a strong Labor Movement in New York City because it is common sense.”
Nevada County elementary school teacher Kim Shureen applauded #CountMeIn marchers as they turned onto Central Park South, just a few blocks from the offices of Related boss and Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross.
“I’m excited,” the visiting teacher told LaborPress. “I’m with them. Unions are so important for our work.”
In saluting the New York City Council’s new resolution in support of the #CountMeIn campaign, Melissa Shetler, director of organizing for Metallic Lathers and Reinforcing Ironworkers Local 46, said, “the rank and file movement of New York City Building and Construction Trades members has made it from the streets to the City Hall halls.”
“Our voices have been heard,” Shetler added. “We stand in solidarity with workers — all workers. The expansion of organized labor is the expansion of protections for all workers.”
Laborers Local 79 member April Rodriguez started out at the head of Tuesday’s #CountMeIn march.
“I stand by my brothers and sisters and they stand by me,” she told LaborPress. “We’re a union and we’re always together.”
Before the march started on Tuesday, Robert Bonanza, business manager, Mason Tenders District Council of Greater New York, LiUNA, suggested that the #CountMeIn campaign and the fight against attacks on the middle class — are all part of the same struggle.
“That fight is this fight,” Bonanza said. “That’s what this is all about now. We’re looking for a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work — all we’re getting is the ‘open shop’ answer and lower wages.”
Bonanza dismissed Related’s attack on the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York [BCTC], and echoed the #CountMeIn campaign’s call on Ross and Related Cos. to sit down at the bargaining table with the BCTC.
“I think at this point, they should wise up,” Bonanza said. “They’re all very smart people — get in a room with us and settle this dispute.”