Sign up For DC 37 News


Public Employee Press: PEP Talk

DC 37 electoral push pays off in key state races

Photo by Mike Lee
DC 37 members and activists came out to support Governor Kathy Hochul at a rally in Downtown Brooklyn on Nov. 5.

The union’s vaunted “Green Machine” accomplished its mission.

In a contentious election, and with no time to waste, DC 37 members played an integral role in getting out the vote for New York’s statewide and local candidates, including for Gov. Kathy Hochul who faced a stiff challenge from former U.S. Congress member Lee Zeldin, and for New York Assembly and Senate races.

To blunt the predicted “red wave” of Republican voters, DC 37 was out in force on the city’s streets engaging with the public, passing out literature, and attending rallies in Manhattan’s Inwood neighborhood and in Brooklyn. The Political Action team doorknocked and phone banked union households to ensure voter turnout.

Labor and progressive activists did their jobs by taking the gauntlet against what had been seen as long odds in some races. In the vast majority of elections, DC 37-endorsed candidates won. Along with Hochul, who is now the state’s first female to be elected governor of New York, Brooklyn-born U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer was re-elected in a relatively easy race to continue his leadership of a now narrow Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate.

New York State Attorney General Letitia James and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli also won, along with victories by the city’s Democratic Party incumbents in the U.S. House of Representatives and most State Assembly and Senate seats. Although Democrats still hold the majority, the close governor’s race and flipping of several seats in Brooklyn and Long Island signal the fight for pro-union and pro-worker elected officials is far from over.

With the general election behind, the union expects results.

“Now that we have done our job in these trying circumstances, we urge Governor Hochul and the State Legislature to do theirs,” said DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido. “November was only one battle. Moving forward into next year’s budget, we expect action on the priorities of New York’s working families.”

At the top of the union’s list is the HEAL Act, which reforms the process of securing contracts with private health care hospital systems and ends restrictions on the disclosure of claims and pricing in health care. Strongly backed by a coalition of New York labor unions, including DC 37 and 32BJ, the HEAL Act was passed by the Legislature this year and expected to go into effect in 2023.

Other union priorities include robust funding of Health+Hospitals, child care, and economic support to help New York recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

By overwhelming numbers, New York City voters backed four important Bond and City Charter initiatives that will build a new foundation toward a better future.

Proposal 1: Environmental Bond Act of 2022
This proposal allows New York State to issue bonds to pay for specific environment-related projects. The money would be used for climate resiliency, clean energy, and improvements to stormwater systems across the state.

Proposal 2: Statement of Values to Guide Government
This proposal adds an introductory statement to the New York City Charter that notes the City’s values and vision aspiring toward “a just and equitable city for all” New Yorkers and includes a statement that the City must strive to remedy “past and continuing harms and to reconstruct, revise, and reimagine our foundations, structures, institutions, and laws to promote justice and equity for all New Yorkers.” The purpose of the new preamble is to guide the City government in fulfilling its duties.

Proposal 3: Establish a Racial Equity Office, Plan, and Commission
This proposal creates an Office of Racial Equity with a Chief Equity Officer, establishes a Commission on Racial Equity, and requires city government and city agencies to produce Racial Equity Plans every two years.

Proposal 4: Cost of Living
This proposal creates an index called the “True Cost of Living Measure” and requires city government to report the cost each year. The index will track the actual cost in New York City of meeting essential needs like housing, food, child care, transportation, and other necessary costs. The index will assist the city in making decisions about programs and policies.