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We at 1199 SEIU count as friends most of the New York City’s Democratic candidates for mayor. None, however, have stood with us as consistently and steadfastly as Bill de Blasio.
Our union proudly represents nearly 9,000 members who work in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments. Their work ranges from apartment repairs, to grounds caretaking, to boiler and elevator services, to rent collections. A third of them also live in NYCHA apartments. Long-standing resident and worker frustration reached a new high with threatened sequestration cuts in federal dollars—the main source of funding. The $208 million cuts would mean a loss of jobs and services. Despite Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s pledge to restore $58 m
Recently, race has taken center stage in our nation’s discourse. George Zimmerman’s acquittal, the Supreme Court’s Voting Rights decisions and the bankruptcy of Detroit are among the events that are inextricably tied to our nation’s relationship with its people of color. Our nation’s troubled history with its non-white citizens is central to its long journey to democracy and economic equality. In that respect, it is instructive that our nation’s first African-American president, in recent comments on widening economic disparities, has linked racial equality to economic equality.