Although they’re depicted as operating with different agendas in mind, the annual New York Amsterdam News Labor Breakfast shows what can be achieved when activists, workers and politicians are in sync with each other.

This year’s honorees include members of all three groups: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, state Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins, District Council 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido, International President of Communication Workers of America Chris Shelton, 1199 SEIU Associate General Counsel Gwynne Wilcox, New York Communities for Change Executive Director Jonathan Westin and fast-food workers.

Cuomo has planted his flag on the side of labor and fighting for a living wage. From appointing New York City Office of Labor Services General Counsel Shelia Abdus-Salaam to serve on the New York State Court of Appeals to ending the two-year-long contract dispute between the Metropolitan Transit Authority and the Transit Workers Union Local 100, the governor has presided over a significant time for labor unions.

Recently, Cuomo announced his desire make the $15 hourly minimum wage the norm for all workers in New York and expressed a willingness to make an immediate push in Albany for his proposal. Cuomo’s push has the support of other elected officials, labor unions, activists and those interested in not only labor justice but also social justice. Cuomo also praised the recent ruling by a federal appeals court that provides home care workers with minimum wage and overtime protections. Cuomo also recently convened a fast-food wage board to consider making $15 the hourly minimum wage for fast-food workers. They recommended the change.

The life of Stewart-Cousins is filled with firsts. Elected by her colleagues to serve as leader of the Senate Democratic Conference in December 2012, she became the first female leader of a legislative conference in New York history. She’s also New York’s first female minority leader in the state Senate. In 2009, Stewart-Cousins

also became the first African-American woman to preside over the state Senate.

Stewart-Cousins also served for a decade as a Westchester County legislator, where she was elected majority whip and vice-chair. She also authored and helped pass the county’s first human rights laws, smoke-free workplace laws, living wage laws and laws that prosecute predatory lenders, as well as tax cuts for seniors and veterans.

A native New Yorker, Stewart-Cousins currently represents the state’s 35th District and is serving her fifth term as state senator.

Garrido’s road to executive director of DC 37 is the quintessential American dream. Born in the Dominican Republic, Garrido’s life eventually led him to New York and to interests involving labor and architecture. Garrido earned his B.S. in architecture from the City College of New York but decided to not pursue the endeavor further because he loved the stability of his union job. Garrido took over as executive director after the retirement of Lillian Roberts in 2014. Before that, he’d served as an associate director for four years, focussing on policy and administration, including helping to sustain green jobs in New York and investigating city waste via non-union contracting jobs.

Garrido also worked on the “white paper” project (starting in 2002) that produced reports on the costs of contracting out jobs, the impact restructuring hospitals would have on the Health and Hospitals Corp., the amount of savings that could be attained if the city didn’t contract out jobs and how to balance the city budget while maintaining the usual services. One of the white paper projects gained citywide prominence when Garrido helped expose the waste of money that was the infamous CityTime payroll automation project.

Shelton was elected president of the Communications Workers of America this past June. Before that, the Bronx native had served as vice president of CWA District 1 for a decade. While vice president, Shelton was responsible for contract negotiations and collective bargaining agreements of the 160,000 members he represented, covering New York, New Jersey and New England.

Shelton’s career is entrenched in union membership. In 1968, he worked as an outside technician for New York Telephone and was eventually elected as a shop steward for CWA Local 1101. He served Local 1101 in many capacities for the next 20 years before joining CWA’s national staff, where he served as the Verizon regional bargaining chair in 2000 and 2003.

A product of New York City’s public school system, Wilcox got her bachelor of arts in social work from Syracuse University and her law degree from Rutgers. Raised by a social worker father and an educator mother, Wilcox served a five-year stint as a field attorney for the National Labor Relations Board. That position eventually led to an associate (and eventually partner) position with Levy Ratner, PC (union-side law firm, plaintiff’s employment work and campaign finance). Wilcox has worked as one of 1199’s counsels since 1988 and continues to make her presence known in the world of labor, law and social justice. Since late 2012, Wilcox has represented the Fast Food Workers Committee working on many NLRB cases involving the fast-food industry.

Westin’s profile has risen significantly over the past five years. The executive director of one of the city’s most well known community organizing groups, Westin has led New York City’s fast-food worker organizing efforts and helped spread the “Fight for $15” movement across the country. But that’s not his only focus. Westin’s passions involve eliminating inequality in education, housing and the economy. Before his journey to executive director, Westin started as a community organizer who assisted in efforts to fight back against banks to prevent foreclosures, reform the workplaces of low-wage earners and improve charter schools.

The Minnesota native graduated from Northwestern University in 2006 with a B.A. in sociology.

Jorel Ware will accept the honor on behalf of fast-food workers. Ware, 32, currently works at McDonald’s and previously at Wendy’s. The South Bronx native has had to rely on food stamps and Medicaid to get by despite working full time for companies that make billions of dollars. Ware has been at the forefront of the Fight for $15 movement, leading strikes, protesting outside McDonald’s headquarters, testifying before the New York State Fast Food Wage Board and participating in national fast-food worker conventions. Ware represents the many workers who have said “no more” to their circumstances and have taken to the streets to get something done.