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March 2018


Cuomo vows to keep NY union strong despite Janus
Cynthia Eaton


  Cuomo speaks at Working People's Day of Action
Governor Cuomo addressed a crowd of 10,000 at the Working People's Day of Action rally in Foley Square on February 24, assuring attendees that regardless of the Janus decision, "the state will do everything in its power to protect" organized labor. (photo by Cynthia Eaton)

Governor Cuomo offered a spirited defense of unions at the February 24 Working People's Day of Action in Foley Square, NYC, where FA members joined an estimated 10,000 unionists who rallied two days ahead of the Supreme Court's hearing of Janus v. AFSCME Council 31.

Cuomo declared that labor is "going backwards all across this country," but "in New York," he said, "it's a different story. In New York you see labor going forward. We want more fairness, more justice."

A few locals expressed skepticism of Cuomo's labor-friendly speech, as evidenced by some boos and hisses, but others applauded loudly. While the governor hasn't always been viewed as pro-union, FA Executive Vice President Sean Tvelia takes a more measured stance.

"With the the Supreme Court now hearing Janus, even though we might be wary of Cuomo's motivations, it's at least better to have our governor expressing staunch support of unions in our state than to have him articulating the opposite. We need all the elected officials we can get on the side of working people."

protestor 1 protestor 2 protestor 3
Attendees at the Working People's Day of Action in NYC made their voices heard in a variety of ways. (photos by Cynthia Eaton)

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2017 union members accounted for nearly 24 percent of wage and salary workers in New York State.

"If the Supreme Court carries Donald Trump's political water, and if the Supreme Court tries to end organized labor, this state will do everything in its power to protect it," Cuomo asserted.  

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio proudly declared New York to be the biggest union town in America, a place he wants to be "where everyone who works hard is treated with dignity and lives a decent life."

Protester 4 with a sign about Dr. King fighting "right to work"  
Several rally attendees reminded the crowd that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was pro-union and anti-right to work. (photo by Cynthia Eaton)

de Blasio also attacked President Trump, "his cabinet of millionaires and billionaires" and the wealthy conservative forces—including the Koch brothers and the National Right to Work Foundation providing Mark Janus' attorneys—who have helped bankroll the Janus case.

"Are we going to let them do it? Are there more of us than there are of them?" de Blasio asked. "And now we fight. The 1 percent has gotten away with it for too long!"

FA members can help New York stay union strong by signing a membership pledge card. Contact one of the FA officers, your EC rep or Anita in the FA office by phone (631-451-4151) or email ( to get your membership pledge card today.