Governor Andrew M. Cuomo unveils the first signature proposal of his 2016 agenda – his push to restore economic justice by making New York the first state in the nation to enact a $15 minimum wage for all workers. (181367)
Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of the Governor

While many unions publicly stated their disapproval with the sexual misconduct accusations against New York State Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a lot of them chose to remain silent once he finally resigned.

On Tuesday, the soon-to-be former governor announced his resignation, in 14 days, from his post as the state governor.

The Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) released a statement on Tuesday that walked the line between praising what Cuomo’s done as governor coupled with denouncing how his tenure ended.

“Gov. Andrew Cuomo has provided crucial leadership during the pandemic; he raised the minimum wage to $15 before any other state; he achieved marriage equality in New York when others didn’t believe it would be possible,” read their statement. “Our union will always be grateful for when his leadership supported our members.

“Yet after reading the 164-page report of the independent investigation overseen by the Office of the State Attorney General, we cannot ignore the facts…. There can be no denying that his behavior created a toxic environment for women and can only be called sexual harassment.”

While some unions didn’t release a current statement to address the result of the scandal. Many had something to say not too long ago. 

Hotel Trades Council President Rich Maroko let the public know where he stood when James first released the report findings. He stated that Cuomo needed to go.

“The behavior described in the Attorney General’s report is deeply disturbing and should never be tolerated in any workplace,” said Maroko. “It is clear from the conclusions of the report that Gov. Cuomo cannot continue to lead the state. If he does not resign, the Assembly should move promptly to impeach him.” 

While 32BJ SEIU told the AmNews that they weren’t going to comment on the events of this week, they also called for the governor to resign and for the state legislature to impeach him if the former didn’t happen.

“We stand with women and all victims of sexual assault, and are sadly disappointed by the details documented in the 168-page report of Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation,” stated 32BJ SEIU President Kyle Bragg last week. “New Yorkers entrusted the attorney general to investigate these serious claims, and she ensured a thorough and timely investigation, conducted by independent investigators.”

New York State Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul now emerges as the new (and first woman) governor hoping to fill the gap left by Cuomo. The Buffalo native has rarely been seen in New York City circles due to her ties to Western New York. A significant chunk of New York State governors have been from the tri-state area. Having a governor from a region far away from the five boroughs that leans to the conservative side, Hochul, (who’s labeled herself an “independent Democrat” and has been endorsed in the past  by both the Human Rights Campaign and the National Rifle Association) and her lack of connection between Albany’s inner circle and NYC politics, has a uphill battle on her hands.

RWDSU officials stated that they’re ready to work with the incoming new governor re-setting the agenda that was put in Cuomo’s playbook.

“The RWDSU welcomes our soon-to-be governor, Kathy Hochul, as she takes on the enormous responsibilities of governing our state, and managing New York’s response to the pandemic,” read their statement. “We have worked with her throughout her years in Congress and as lieutenant governor; and we have seen that she is a strong and smart leader with the right values.