President and CEO of the Community Service Society (CSS) of New York David R. Jones Esq. believes that labor unions and the Black and Latino community go hand in hand, and recent events have highlighed the need for unions.
With people discussing the need for higher wages for fast-food workers and car washers, who have recently organized, poor communities of color are getting their voices heard about their treatment in the workforce.
During the recent mayoral primary elections, CSS hosted two political panels, including one with 32BJ and another about paid sick leave and minimum wage.
“I think it’s the start of something different,” Jones said. “There is a new political landscape in New York. We are seeing rallies at City Hall talking about increases for wages, certain basic benefits and paid sick leave. There is change in the air here.”
Jones has led CSS since 1986. From 1983 to 1986, he served as executive director of the New York City Youth Bureau and was special advisor to Mayor Ed Koch from 1979 to 1983, during which his responsibilities lay in race relations, urban development, immigration reform and education.
He said that in recent years, resources have been taken away from the poor and voters are thinking about how candidates would impact working people.
Jones was appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to several commissions, including his transition committee. Jones is chair of the advisory board of New York City’s Independent Budget Office and a member of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Advisory Council.
He is a board member of the Scherman Foundation. Jones is also chairman of the Board of the Nation Institute and former chairman of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, which is committed to making organized philanthropy more responsive to socially, economically and politically disenfranchised people.
Jones is a founding member of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, and for seven years, he served as president of Black Agency Executives, a group of Black leaders of major New York City human service agencies. For over 10 years, he served as a member of the board of directors of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund.
“Labor has been able to participate in the important role of talking to memberships, some of which are enormous,” he said. “Unions can put their feet on the ground. That its very difficult to do even if they are wiling to pay people.
Born in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, Jones is the son of the late Assemblyman and Judge Thomas R. Jones. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University and received a Juris Doctor degree from the Yale Law School in 1974.
Afterward, he clerked for Judge Constance Baker Motley of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Jones was a recipient of the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship.
He is married to Dr. Valerie King, a clinical psychologist. They have two children.