32BJ endorses Adams for mayor, Freelancers Union endorses Wiley and Yang
Stephon Johnson | 3/25/2021, midnight
32BJ SEIU has endorsed Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams for mayor.
Standing at the Borough Hall Plaza more than a week ago, 32BJ President Kyle Bragg said that Adams has the vision to move the city forward.
“He is committed to our union’s core issues of responsible economic development, strong public schools, equitable city contracts, protecting NYC’s immigrant community and creating real police accountability while keeping our city safe,” stated Bragg. “He has stood with thousands of 32BJ members in the past, and he is committed to a worker-led recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Our members have been on the frontlines since day 1 and Adams understands the needs of working people in these dire times.”
The Brooklyn borough president said he was grateful for the endorsement.
“I thank this union for going through an extensive process to determine who is going to be the leader of this city,” said Adams. “Workers stand up for what I’ve always stood for: workers’ rights, public safety, accountability with police, strong schools, fair city contracting and justice for our entire population.”
Adams stated that, as mayor, his economic agenda would benefit all New Yorkers and not just the wealthy few. He has acknowledged the racial disparities in economic recovery and the need to help the financially powerless.
Mark Anthony Espinoza, a public school cleaner from Brooklyn, said New York is ready for a mayor like Adams.
“After suffering through this pandemic for over a year, our city needs true leadership more than ever,” said Espinoza. “We are looking towards the future and towards a recovery that is led by working people.”
Another group of working people, the Freelancers Union, presented their mayoral endorsements as well. In a surprising move, the union co-endorsed Maya Wiley and Andrew Yang for mayor.
Rafael Espinal, Freelancers Union president and executive director, stated that both of the candidates have addressed their wants and needs and they believe either of them would be fit for City Hall.
“These candidates clearly understand that the economy isn’t going back to the employer/employee model that dominated the 20th century and empathize with the lack of stability and security that gig, temporary, and contract workers experience every day. Fortunately, they have solutions,” said Espinal. “Both candidates have listened to our concerns and worked to come up with smart plans to address issues at the forefront for independent workers, which include health care, retirement, and wage security. I am proud to co-endorse both candidates who will bring their vision and execution to bear on the challenges facing participants in the freelance economy.”
The Freelancers Union noted that during the pandemic, they had to lobby to make sure independent workers were included in any federal stimulus efforts. They’ve previously been excluded from traditional government benefits. Wiley said she understood the union members’ pain because she’s been there.
“Independent workers are such an important part of our economy and have played a critical role in keeping New York City running throughout the COVID-19 crisis,” stated Wiley. “As a former freelancer, I am honored to receive the endorsement of the Freelancers Union and look forward to fighting alongside them to advocate for wage parity and workplace protections so that all independent workers can live with dignity.”
Yang expressed a desire to create a “human-centered” economy assisting small businesses and entrepreneurs. He also spoke about his personal experience as a freelancer.
“Not many people know this, but I was a freelancer, getting my start selling cutlery door-to-door and I also freelanced as a nightlife promoter and tutor,” stated Yang. “As mayor, my administration will be committed to giving New York’s independent workers a fair shake. We will create Freelancers hubs in all five boroughs so that independent workers have a place to gather and collaborate, and we will make it easier for freelancers to gain vital workplace protections and ensure they have a safety net.”