Last Thursday at the Tribeca Arts Center at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, democratic mayoral hopefuls continued their tour of verbal jabs known as forums. However, the largest public employee union in New York City, District Council 37, hosted this forum in a room filled with 900 union members and supporters.
Speaking were former New York City Council Member Sal Albanese, New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, New York City Comptroller John Liu, former New York City Comptroller Bill Thompson and former President of Radio Cantico Nuevo Inc. the Rev. Erick Salgado. It was moderated by WBGO reporter Bob Hennelly.
Regarding retroactivity pay for unions–which Bloomberg is currently not a fan of–Liu said, “The concept of retroactivity is not my idea, it’s not your idea, it’s Mike Bloomberg’s idea,” he said. “For eight years of his administration and almost every collective bargaining session he had, there were retroactive pay increases. The deal to New York City employees was ‘OK. Don’t worry. Your contracts expired, but keep working … keep doing your job,’ and you did so for eight years.”
Thompson added, “It is clear the Bloomberg administration has gone to war against your union and child care slots over the past 10 years. They have eliminated 10,000 child care slots over a number of years. We need to bring those spots back.”
De Blasio attacked the current mayor for pricing out those who have called New York home since birth.
“People are being driven out all over the city,” de Blasio said. “If you’re a senior, you can’t be in the neighborhood that you’ve lived in all your life. What do you do about it? You change the rules of the game. I put out a plan three weeks ago for 200,000 units of affordable housing over the next 10 years. That’s the type of approach we need.”
Meanwhile, Albanese said, “Let me make this perfectly clear … I am the only one in this race who has ruled out contributions from developers because I want to go to City Hall with clean hands and make objective decisions about running this city.”