July 31, 2015
Tara Jessup, LaborPress Albany Bureau
Albany, NY – In two separate events on Tuesday July 28th, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo was honored by the NYS Laborers and the NYS Pipefitters and Plumbers in Warren County. The Governor was presented with the “Champion of Organized Labor” award by the Laborers and the “NY Builder” award by the Pipefitters and Plumbers. These awards come on the heels of the Governor’s presentation of a comprehensive vision to transform LaGuardia airport.
“New York is New York because we dared to do what people said was impossible – and we are doing it again,” said Governor Cuomo. “From building a new Tappan Zee Bridge to fundamentally reimagining LaGuardia airport, we are taking on big, visionary projects in New York. It’s not easy, but together with our brothers and sisters in organized labor we are getting it done and we are building a new future for this state – and I am proud to be a partner in that effort,’ said Cuomo at the union meetings. “New York had an aggressive, can-do approach to big infrastructure in the past – and we’re moving forward with that attitude once again,” said Governor Cuomo. “We are transforming LaGuardia into a globally-renowned, 21st century airport that is worthy of the city and state of New York. It’s the perfect metaphor for what we can achieve with the ambition, optimism and energy that made this the Empire State in the first place.”
Dr. Jim Melius, Administrator, NYS Laborers Health and Safety Trust Fund, said, “Governor Cuomo has proven himself as a true champion for working class people and organized labor, and he's been that way since day one of taking office. You’re seeing the proof of it all across the state – from the resurgence of building projects in Buffalo to the new Tappan Zee Bridge that is rising over the Hudson, and yesterdays' announcement of a new LaGuardia, our union and our state are better off because of Andrew Cuomo. That is why today, we are pleased to honor Governor Cuomo, a true champion and advocate for organized labor, across the board with the "Champion of Organized Labor" award.”
The Governor described the planning for the reconstruction at LaGuardia at both union meetings. To utilize LaGuardia's geographic footprint more efficiently, said Governor Cuomo, the new terminal facility will be built closer to the Grand Central Parkway. The redesigned facility will also utilize an island-gate system, in which passengers access their gates via raised pedestrian bridges, high enough for aircraft to taxi underneath, which connect back to the main terminal. Together, the relocated terminals and island-gate system will create nearly two miles of new taxiway space. This allows for a more efficient circulation of aircraft and reduced taxi-in and taxi-out times, which will yield shorter and fewer gate delays – a dramatic difference from today’s LaGuardia. In addition, this change will produce an overall reduction in carbon emissions from idling aircraft.
Jim Cahill, International Representative for the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters and President of the NYS Building Trades, said, “Governor Cuomo is doing what no other Governor in the nation is doing right now, which is tackling big infrastructure projects with the next century in mind. In fact, thanks to Governor Cuomo, New York State is spending more money on capital construction projects than under any other Governor in history. That's the leadership we need in state government, and I am proud to honor Governor Cuomo with the “NY Builder” award for his dramatic and effective efforts to rebuild New York State.”
In addition to receiving these awards, the Governor signed legislation to protect workers and homeowners involved in mold remediation efforts. The law modifies and improves upon a new licensing requirement for contractors and workers engaged in the assessment, remediation and abatement of mold. The new license will be issued by the State Department of Labor and will protect consumers by requiring contractors to obtain appropriate training prior to performing mold assessment, remediation or abatement services. Contractors would be banned from advertising and performing these actions without this license and contractors must meet certain minimum standards.