Report Back: Day of Action to Support Collective Bargaining

Thousands of union members at the rally Saturday, Feb. 24
Thousands of union members at the rally Saturday, Feb. 24. Photo: M. Brodsky

“The Janus case reminds us that we need to talk to our colleagues about the benefits of belonging to the union in a way we have never done before,” said Essex County College Adjunct Faculty Treasurer Mark Brodsky, who attended the National Day of Action to Support Collective Bargaining Rights in New York, Saturday, Feb. 24.

Mario Cilento, NY AFL-CIO
Mario Cilento, NY AFL-CIO. Photo: M. Brodsky

Brodsky, who teaches in the social sciences department, and thousands of union members, families and friends, heard from labor leaders Barbara Bowen of the Professional Staff Congress of CUNY, Mark Cannizzaro of the Council of Supervisors and Administrators (CSA) and Mario Cilento of the NY AFL-CIO.

States with labor-friendly legislators like New York and New Jersey are introducing or writing legislation to streamline the process for those who want to be part of a union, said Cliento. “Basically mitigate some of the damage that this (Janus) could cause down the line.

Politicians attended the rally to show their support for labor. New York Governor Mario Cuomo, New York City Mayor Bill DiBlasio and Comptroller Scott Stringer pledged that New York will remain “union territory” and they would do all they could to buffer Washington’s attacks on unions and working people, according to Brodsky.

NY Gov Andrew Cuomo
N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Photo: M. Brodsky

For example, Cuomo signed legislation that exempts union dues from state taxes last year. “If the Supreme Court carries Donald Trump’s political water, and if the Supreme Court tries to end organized labor, this state will do everything in its power to protect it,” Cuomo said.

As the Supreme Court considers the anti-union Janus case, AFT is asking member to share their stories about the importance of their work and read about the great work union members are doing in disaster relief, innovating in education and providing valuable community services.