Thursday, May 17, 2007

Unions to Assembly: pass marriage bill

One of the more influential voices in Albany is that of organized labor. Organizations such as 1199 Service Employees International Union (SEIU) United Healthcare Workers East and New York State Teachers United (NYSUT) carry much clout when they put their weight behind or against a piece of legislation in either chamber of the New York State Legislature. One need only look to the rough battle between newly elected Governor Eliot Spitzer and 1199SEIU over hospital cutbacks the recent budget process to see how well organized and funded organized labor is in New York.

That's why today's announcement that unions, labor federations and labor leaders representing more than 850,000 New Yorkers--and including 1199SEIU and NYSUT--are backing the marriage bill is so significant.

Packets of information were sent to all members of the Assembly yesterday with a cover letter from NYSUT EVP Alan Lubin (who also spoke at the noontime rally during E&J Day). In the letter, Lubin wrote:
"As unions, we have a particular responsibility to protect equal rights and promote economic justice in connection with collective bargaining, economic benefits, and legislation that affects our members. I am urging you to continue to do to do the right thing as co-sponsor and vote yes on the Marriage Equality bill"

He goes on to say:
"As you make your decision, I want you to consider my full and unwavering support for this bill. I stand in solidarity with the supportive union leaders, local unions, and area labor federations on the attached list."

The unions/labor federations on the "attached list" are:

1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East
New York State Teachers United
SEIU Local 32BJ
Retail, Wholesale, Department Stores Union/United Food and Commercial Workers (RWDSU/UFCW)
United Federation of Teachers
United Auto Workers (UAW) Region 9A New York Metro Community Action Program Council
Capital District Area Labor Federation
Rochester & Genesee Valley Labor Federation
Central New York Area Labor Federation

Prominent labor leaders in New York who have previously stated their support for marriage equality include 1199SEIU Past President Dennis Rivera, UFT President Randi Weingarten and UNITE HERE! President Bruce Raynor.

Read more about labor support of marriage here and here.
Read the marriage resolution that many of these unions have passed here.

1 comment:

Jo-Ann said...

Having labor's support for the marriage equality bill is a huge boost. And, keeping this issue alive through our visibility is vital to changing hearts and minds.