May 25, 2012
By Marc Bussanich, LaborPress City Reporter
District Council 37, the City’s largest public employee union with 54 different Locals representing 121,000 active members, endorsed Council Member Charles Barron in the upcoming June 26 primary election on the steps of City Hall on Thursday, May 24. Barron, who is running in the 8th Congressional District, said at the presser that the endorsement by the union is a tremendous boost for his campaign.
“DC 37 has a long history. Our relationship goes back decades fighting for workers’ pensions, quality health care, living wages, our fair share of government contracts….fighting for those things that the 8th Congressional District constituents all want,” said Barron.
Oliver Gray, DC 37’s Associate Director, told LaborPress that what’s important for the union is that “whatever happens in Washington in terms of sending dollars to New York, public employees should be employed rather than an [City] administration that takes the money to hire private contractors at exorbitant fees. Gray added, “We know that Charles Barron will work hard in Washington to ensure that federal monies coming to New York are intended for hard-working public employees.”
According to the union, DC 37 Delegates voted to endorse Barron on May 22, “following a recommendation of the DC 37 Screening Committee and a vote by the DC 37 Executive Board.”
While DC 37’s Executive Director Lillian Roberts could not attend the event, she wrote in a statement that “throughout the years, Council Member Charles Barron has been a committed advocate for the issues that matter to DC 37 and its members, such as affordable housing, funding for CUNY and the City’s cultural institutions and libraries.”
There’ll be no shortage of issues to address if Barron is elected to the House of Representatives, but Barron said one of the first things he’ll do when he gets to Washington is put forth an initiative that U.S. Congresswoman Maxine Waters, representing California’s 35th District (South Central Los Angeles), started.
“Maxine Waters was able to secure $6 billion dollars for poverty-stricken areas [via the Neighborhood Stabilization Program]. I want to increase that number because we have to attack poverty, and the way to do that is through progressive taxation, job creation and shutting down foreign wars,” Barron said.
LaborPress asked Barron if he makes it to Washington, will he challenge the laws that prohibit public employees from going on strike.
“Absolutely. Those laws need to be challenged. Nobody should be punished for going on strike. We need to make sure that not only should public workers be allowed to strike, but that their rights established via collective bargaining agreements are protected and respected.”
LaborPress also asked, “Will you miss working in the City Council if you go to Washington?”
“No, because I’m coming back to do better for the City. The City gives more money to Washington than what it gets in return. So when I get to Washington, I intend to fight for resources that come back to the City in a greater number. It’ll be a great enhancement for the City to have me in Washington,” said Barron.
In an interview, Barron told LaborPress how his budget battle and other political experiences will prove to be an asset to the constituents of the 8th Congressional District.
“I think you need a fighter like me because you just can’t bring another politician into that scene. You have to bring in a leader, organizer and activist so I think we have a better shot with my type of leadership that’ll bring a movement to Washington. The only way to influence budgets and legislation is when there is a movement behind you.”
While Barron has said that the City’s $68 billion budget is a budget that’s larger than 48 state budgets in the country, he’ll be doing budget battling in a town where $3.8 trillion dollars is at stake.
“The Pentagon’s budget is close to $700 billion dollars and the appropriations committee in the House appropriates trillions for war. We have to stop that by bringing nationwide attention to that and we also have to build movements around the nation that puts pressure on Congress to appropriate monies for poverty reduction, foreclosure help and economic development as opposed to death and destruction abroad.” email@example.com