August 19, 2014
By Marc Bussanich
New York, NY—The state’s labor federation decided not to endorse a candidate for the upcoming November gubernatorial election here at its bi-annual convention at the New York Sheraton.
In the accompanying video, we had the opportunity to interview several labor leaders, including Ernest Logan, president of the Council of School Supervisors & Administrators. He noted that he was content with the day’s proceedings.
“I love the energy here today. I think it’s so exciting that union members are coming together, united, talking about how we look forward to the state moving forward and supporting working men and women everywhere,” said Logan.
When asked what he hoped would be the outcome of the two-day convention, Logan said it was about supporting strong labor-friendly candidates.
“I think the critical piece here is that we come out of here united to get out the vote in November. We have real, strong labor people running for office. We have to get people to understand how important that is,” Logan said.
When asked whether he hopes the incumbent, Governor Andrew Cuomo, is re-elected, Logan followed up with his own question.
“What was that question?” asked Logan.
Susan Kent, president of the Public Employees Federation, also characterized Monday’s meeting as democratic. She hopes that all New York’s union members get out to the polls on November 4 2014.
“The most important thing after today is to make sure that all unions are working together to educate people about the candidates and to elect labor-friendly candidates that are good for public policy and good for the citizens of New York State,” said Kent.
Just last week PEF, the state’s second largest public sector union, endorsed Governor Cuomo’s opponent, Democratic candidate Zephyr Teachout. Kent explained the union’s decision to support Ms. Teachout.
“Most important was that democracy be heard from my members, who overwhelmingly want a candidate that they can get behind. The members made a bold move and said they believe in Zephyr and [Lt. Governor] Tim Wu and we’re going to work hard to get them elected,” Kent said.
Maf Misbah Uddin, treasurer for AFSCME’s DC 37, said that Governor Cuomo has to become the people’s governor should he be re-elected in November.
“He has to become the people’s governor; he has yet to do that. We are waiting for him. He can do a great job, that is my hope,” said Uddin.
As the delegates were about to announce their final endorsements, we interviewed Danny Donohue, president of the Civil Service Employees Association, Local 1000. He said that the upcoming elections would be paramount for union members.
“This election cycle means we have to get the vote out [for our endorsements]. Our goal is to get our delegates and members out there, working and voting for [them], because in an off-year election, low-voter turnout means the wrong people can get elected,” said Donohue.