2022: A Year-In-Review
In 2022, we’ve seen workers here and around the country rise up to take back their own power, demanding better pay, improved working conditions, and a voice in their workplace. In New York City in particular, we've experienced an enormous surge in activism and organizing that's now spread across the nation and across all industries in the workforce, leading to historic worker victories and an increase in worker power.
The numbers reflect the significance of the moment: this summer a new Gallup poll was released confirming that 71% of Americans now approve of labor unions — the highest level since 1965. Another survey of non-union skilled and hourly workers revealed that 70% of those workers would join a union at their current job, and about 40% said they were more likely to do so today than they were just three years ago. And the NLRB reported that Fiscal Year 2022 has seen a 53% increase since FY2021 in the number of petitions for union representation, the highest number since 2016.
Even in the face of increasing anti-union intimidation and retaliation, workers have stood their ground and demanded a voice at the table and dignity at work—and they know that the best way to achieve that is through membership in a union.
Throughout the year, the CLC has continued to work with our affiliates and our elected leaders including Mayor Eric Adams, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Comptroller Brad Lander, City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, our Councilmembers and our Borough Presidents to make progress toward reviving hard-hit industries, protecting jobs and critical city services, and building a resilient economy that works for all working people.
And we’ve already begun our 2023 work, ramping up our Labor Votes! program in preparation for another cycle of City Council elections in June, where we’ll be working to elect more pro-labor candidates who will carry the banner for our City’s working families. Look for more information soon on how you can get involved.
So, on behalf of all of us at the New York City Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO, we extend our deepest appreciation and gratitude for your solidarity and for your partnership, and we wish you and your loved ones a bright, happy, and healthy 2023.
See below for the 2022 Union Matters Year in Review!
The NYC CLC’s new inflatable rat, Scabantha (“Scabby”) made her debut at the start of 2022, appearing at rallies, pickets, and other demonstrations around the City. Scabby is available to support CLC affiliate actions on request; if you are interested in borrowing her for an event please let us know here!
As part of our Community Outreach work, in partnership with the NYS AFL-CIO and Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW, the NYC CLC in January held a virtual roundtable with over 60 labor and community partners to educate the impact of the Marihuana Regulation and Taxation Act (MRTA). The MRTA will bring additional protections for workers and create restorative opportunities in communities throughout the state.
The New York City Council Committee on Civil Service and Labor kicked off the 2022 Legislative session with a hearing focusing on strengthening workers rights and protections. Chaired by Councilmember Carmen de la Rosa, the committee listened to several hours of testimony via Zoom by dozens of labor leaders, worker advocates, and workers themselves. CLC President Vincent Alvarez testified about the overall status of New York City's workers, the impact of the pandemic, and the responsibility of city government to assist workers' efforts to improve their conditions and fulfill the original intent of the National Labor Relations Act to encourage collective bargaining- video of the hearing is available here.
President Alvarez and NYS AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento penned an OpEd in February highlighting the importance of the Labor Peace Law that went into effect in New York City in 2021. The law allows workers at city-contracted nonprofits to organize by creating a level of peace between workers and their employers, ensuring that New Yorkers will receive the valuable services they need, while at the same time protecting the rights and livelihoods of the workers that provide them. The CLC’s Executive Board subsequently approved a resolution in support of Labor Peace Agreements which is available here.
We also continued our work as part of Climate Jobs NY, the coalition of labor unions united around a shared goal of combating climate change while reversing income inequality. CJNY’s mission is to advocate for a clean energy economy at the scale climate science demands, create good union jobs, and support more equitable communities and a more resilient New York. In February, CJNY and Cornell ILR released “A Climate for Change, A Climate Jobs Roadmap for New York City,” a report examining the impact of climate breakdown and the pandemic on NYC workers and frontline communities, and offering a suite of policy recommendations to build an equitable clean energy economy that tackles climate change and racial and economic inequality in NYC.
And on March 25, working people across our city, state and nation once again remembered and honored the victims of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire. Members of the Remember the Triangle Fire Coalition including Workers United, SEIU and the NYC CLC held a virtual commemoration of the 111th anniversary in the form of a streamed program that included music, poetry, and video presentations, and recognition of workers organizing Starbucks shops here in New York and mine workers who have been on strike for almost a year in Alabama. The event also included a tribute to Ed Vargas, who many of you will remember as a longtime labor organizer, champion of working families and tenacious advocate for the creation of a permanent memorial to those lost in the Triangle Fire.
More top Labor headlines this quarter:
New York City workers, labor leaders, elected officials, clergy and community members gathered on April 28th at City Hall Park to mark Workers’ Memorial Day, honoring dozens of workers who had died or suffered illness or injuries while on the job in our City over the past year. The annual commemoration was organized by the CLC along with the New York Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH). At the commemoration, NYC Council Committee on Civil Service and Labor Chair Carmen De La Rosa spoke about the need for legislation that will mandate NYC employers to report all workplace fatalities to the City, an issue we hope to advance in the coming year. The full ceremony can be streamed here.
The CLC cosponsored a training on the Carbon Free and Healthy Schools campaign, which aims to make schools a model for carbon-free buildings by updating antiquated heating and cooling systems, making use of large rooftops to generate solar power, and increasing school buildings’ overall energy efficiency. This program will create thousands of new jobs and save schools millions of dollars in energy costs. CLC President Alvarez and Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York President Gary LaBarbera also published an OpEd calling on Mayor Adams and the City Council to invest in Labor’s climate jobs vision–read it here!
In May, the NYC CLC along with 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East hosted members of the New York City Council and political directors of CLC-affiliated unions for a discussion on job creation and worker protection. We were joined in a panel conversation by NYC Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, Committee on Civil Service and Labor Chair Carmen De La Rosa, and Committee on Consumer and Worker Protection Chair Marjorie Velazquez.
As part of our continuing Occupational Safety and Health Series, the CLC and NYCOSH hosted two events this quarter. The first, a webinar entitled “Is Your Ventilation Sufficient?” covered a strategy that can be used by union reps, renters, and other ordinary people untrained in ventilation to address the air quality in their workplaces. Participants also learned how to review and use building reports on HVAC systems, how to choose a good purifier, plus the various ways to test air and see if your goals have been achieved. The second, “Vaccinations and the Workplace,” featured information on COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutic interventions, transmissions, how it all affects the workplace, and inequitable and inconsistent enforcement by management.
In June, the CLC hosted our annual Labor and Civil Rights event, a panel discussion centering around how union membership has contributed to narrowing the inequality gap and how it can continue to build solidarity in an effort to create prosperity that is felt by all workers. Topics included factors that have exacerbated the inequality gap in the last five years, how the Labor Movement can work to reduce the inequality gap and build prosperity for members and nonmembers alike, and how unions can connect with their members outside of their workplaces as part of their organizing. Watch a recording of the event here.
CLC Officers and staff attended the 29th AFL-CIO Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, where delegates elected Liz Shuler to serve as President of the federation of 57 unions and 12.5 million members. Shuler is the first woman to hold the office in the history of the labor federation. Delegates also elected Fred Redmond to serve as Secretary-Treasurer, the first African American to hold the office. CLC President Alvarez spoke onstage in support of one of two new resolutions aimed at strengthening state, area, and local central bodies, both of which passed with unanimous support. Click here for a highlights video from the convention.
NYC-based worker rights organizations also celebrated the selection of the New York/New Jersey region to host games for the upcoming 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup. This World Cup, hosted by the United States, Canada, and Mexico, is the first opportunity to see FIFA’s new human right standards fulfilled. While past World Cups have been associated with low wages, dangerous jobs, preventable worker deaths, community displacement, and corruption; the NYC CLC is committed to working with affiliate and community allies to ensure that FIFA and the NY/NJ Host Committee agree to specific requirements to ensure that our communities benefit from hosting the games and to establish a legacy of strong labor standards for future mega-sporting events. #FIFAWorldCup2026!
More top Labor Headlines this quarter:
Throughout the summer, CLC volunteers engaged thousands of union households through our member-to-member outreach in support of endorsed candidates at both the state and congressional levels. And in the August primary elections, along with our affiliates we turned out our members to elect and re-elect strong labor champions who will stand with us to build an economy that works for all working people. Learn more about the CLC’s Labor Votes! program at WorkingTogether.nyc.
The CLC also launched our new Common Sense Economics series in August, with a program that gave participants the opportunity to share their experiences with the economy and examine how institutional racism is used as a tool to divide working people. If you'd like to be updated on upcoming sessions please contact the NYCCLC's Community Outreach Coordinator Xiomara Loarte at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The NYC CLC was honored to host a visit with trade unionist Anne Krueger of the BPO Industry Employee Network (BIEN), which works for the rights and welfare of business process outsourcing industry employees in the Philippines, as well as representatives of the New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP). International worker solidarity is urgently needed to support Filipino workers and the Filipino people at large in the struggle for rights, livelihood, and genuine democracy. Read more about the conditions facing call center workers and organizers here.
We were proud to support the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the Chinatown Garment Workers Rally at Columbus Park, celebrating the power and victory of 20,000 organized Chinese immigrant women who walked out of factories in 1982 to demand better wages, health benefits and improved working conditions. Read all about the commemoration at AsAmNews.com and check out more photos here.
And of course, on September 10th, the NYC Labor Movement made a joyous return to Manhattan's famed Fifth Avenue after three long years, in what was also a fitting commemoration of the first American Labor Day Parade right here in NYC 140 years ago. An incredible 80,000 people turned out to march with more than 200 unions as 26,000 spectators cheered on from the city's sidewalks. United States Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh and Parade Chairs AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Fred Redmond and New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon led the way for workers and their families, bands, dancers, floats, construction equipment, motorcycles, classic cars, and more. Click for more photos and our 2022 Parade highlights video, and Save The Date for September 9, 2023!
More top Labor headlines this quarter:
Second Starbucks Union Leader In Downstate NY Fired
Teamsters Local 804 Protests Dangerously Hot UPS Trucks Amid Heat Health Crisis
City's Failure To Support Staten Island Ferry Workers Leads To Service Disruptions
Time Union Ratifies Historic Contract With Company
Trader Joe's Union Square Wine Shop Closes After Workers Decide To Unionize
Union Members Stage Red Carpet Rally Protesting Robert De Niro's Use Of Non-Union Labor
Staten Island Ferry Engineers Entitled To Big Salary Boost, Judge Rules
New York Primary Elections Show Union Strength
Architects At a New York Firm Form the Industry’s Only Private-Sector Union
Climate Jobs NY Update: Climate Week
Workers At Vital Climbing Gyms Unionize
Stagehands At NYC’s ‘little Island’ Unanimously Approve Union With IATSE Local One
IAM Files For Union Representation Election For Approximately 3,000 Jetblue Ground Workers
At our October 2022 Executive Board Meeting, the NYC CLC passed four resolutions addressing upcoming ballot proposals, immigration policy, and FIFA/2026 World Cup human rights and labor standards. They included a resolution in support of the Racial Justice Commission as well as proposed amendments to the New York City Charter through 3 ballot proposals; a resolution to support the passage of The Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act of 2022; a resolution in Support of Coalition Building towards Pro-Worker Immigration Policies, and a resolution to demand that FIFA and United 2026 uphold their statutory human rights commitment, which includes a commitment to labor rights. In November’s elections, all four ballot proposals supported in the CLC Resolutions were approved by voters.
The NYC CLC and the United Federation of Teachers held our Future in Focus: Exploring the World of Organized Labor and Unionized Careers event, an opportunity for students to learn about unionized careers in New York City, as well as collective bargaining and the impact of organized labor on our society. Hundreds of students also had the chance to hear directly from young workers who are union members. Check out more photos from the event here, and keep an eye out for info about another Future in Focus event coming this spring.
We also hosted another Occupational Health and Safety Series event with our partners at NYCOSH, this time addressing Health and Safety issues faced by the Aging Workforce. Workers 65 or older have almost three times the risk of dying on the job as other workers. This workshop covered issues that are common for older workers and strategies that can help older, and younger workers stay safe and healthy at work. Look for more NYC CLC-NYCOSH Occupational Health and Safety Series events coming soon.
CLC affiliates have rallied their members in the final months of 2022, and the CLC has been out on picket lines across the City in support. Part-time adjuncts at the New School have a tentative agreement after the longest adjunct strike in U.S. history, but workers at HarperCollins have been out on strike fighting for higher wages, stronger commitments to diversifying staff and better family leave since November 14th, despite the company reporting record-setting profits in the past two years.
Starbucks workers across NYC and the nation continue to organize and demand that their employer finally begin bargaining in good faith, more than a year after the first location organized right here in NY State. Hearst Media Union’s members have been working to bargain their first contract for two years, but Hearst’s historically anti-union management continues to stall at the table and deliver inadequate, unreasonable counter-proposals. Members of the New York Times Guild have already had to walk out once due to the company’s failure to bargain in good faith and reach a fair contract agreement with the workers. Staten Island Ferry workers continue to wait for the City to resolve its contract dispute, which has left its unionized members without raises since 2010. And last week, NYSNA NYC Private Sector RNs voted 99% in favor of authorizing a strike for better patient care.
The CLC will be providing support in 2023 to these workers and others who are fighting for a voice at work and meaningful improvements in their wages, benefits, and working conditions. Please take a moment to follow these unions on social media for all the latest developments and ways that you can help!
More Labor Headlines this quarter:
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