With less than a week to go until the Democratic primary, unions are picking sides in the political schoolyard.
Last week, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local One endorsed New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer for mayor. According to IATSE Local One President James J. Claffey Jr., Stringer’s “detailed, bold plan to revive our arts and culture puts working New Yorkers front and center and will bring New York City back again as a leading cultural capital. His leadership, experience, vision and plans will bring our city roaring back to life.”
Stringer is no stranger to keeping an eye on the arts. In a 2019 report by the comptroller’s office, Stringer recommended that the city assist in creating and promoting cultural districts, establishing “creative economy zones,” connect deeper with the community, and “enhance the economic security of the self-employed using a welfare fund under New York State labor law where independent workers are recategorized as employees in order to collect unemployment benefits and workers’ compensation.”
“The skills and talents of the largest stagecraft local in the country bring New York City to life,” stated Stringer. “Without its members, the iconic presentations we enjoy the most, such as Broadway, concerts at Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall, productions at The Metropolitan Opera, Lincoln Center, The Shed, and all television network broadcasts would not be possible.
“Our arts and culture are the heart and soul of our city and the men and women of IATSE Local One work everyday to keep it alive.”
Elsewhere, the Uniformed EMTs, Paramedics & Fire Inspectors FDNY, AFSCME Local 2507 endorsed Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams for mayor, adding to the list of first responders and law enforcement unions that have endorsed the former police officer.
“As a former first responder, I am humbled to have earned the support of our hard-working EMS community, who have sacrificed so much fighting on the frontlines of this pandemic,” said Adams. “Our EMTs, paramedics, and fire inspectors deserve our City’s thanks and respect, but for years they have been shamefully denied basic pay equity. As mayor, I will not stand for discrimination against workers, especially not the women and men who have put their lives at risk to save ours day after day.”
Union president Oren Barzilay said that Adams’ relationship with first responders played a significant role in his endorsement.
“The past 15 months of this terrible pandemic have been beyond comprehension for New York City and for the heroic members of the FDNY EMS, who have worked around the clock at great risk to themselves to care for New Yorkers in need,” stated Barzilay. “Our members are the lowest-paid first responders in the city, even as we face increasing violence against us as we do our jobs. Eric Adams recognizes the value of our EMTs, paramedics, and fire inspectors. As a former first responder himself, he understands the difficulty of our job and the importance of improving public safety for all New Yorkers.”
Barzilay added, “The next mayor will face enormous challenges leading our city’s recovery.”
Adams has been the favorite of police and firefighter unions and conservative-leaning pundits and entities. The New York Post endorsed Adams. Tucker Carlson endorsed Adams as well (although Adams came out publicly and said he didn’t need his support). He’s also been endorsed by the Uniformed Firefighters Officers Association and the Police Benevolent Association.
Earlier this week, Adams showed how far he’d go to protect the police. This past weekend, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Maya Wiley for mayor. With Wiley and AOC’s stances on police well-known (including the defunding of police), Adams went on the offensive and responded before being asked to.
“Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Maya Wiley want to slash the police department budget and shrink the police force at a time when Black and Brown babies are being shot in our streets, hate crimes are terrorizing Asian and Jewish communities, and innocent New Yorkers are being stabbed and shot on their way to work,” Adams said. “They are putting slogans and politics in front of public safety and would endanger the lives of New Yorkers.”
Adams also traded barbs with candidate Wiley over cutbacks to the New York Police Department, putting his best law enforcement foot forward. He hopes his association with the force will give him the nomination.