March 21, 2014
By Joe Maniscalco
Astoria, NY - This week, Greg Floyd, president, Local 237, International Brotherhood of Teamsters [IBT], is being hailed as a “warrior,” and “one of the smartest and hardest-working labor leaders this city has ever had.”
Some of the most influential figures in city and state government, as well as those in the labor movement, gathered at the Museum of the Moving Image on March 19, to watch Floyd accept The American Friends of the Yitzhak Rabin Center’s Leadership and Public Service Award.
“[Greg] is not just a great leader for his members - but a great leader for all of New York,” said New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “He is someone who is relentless in pushing against these lies that blame working men and women for the problems of the American economy. He is a warrior in speaking truth to power, and taking on the powers-that-be wherever he has to.”
New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer reflected on his long association with Floyd, while also lauding the Local 237 chief’s courage and tenacity.
“He does not let any elected official off the hook when it comes to protecting his members,” Stringer said. “I’ve worked with him on the front lines of public housing. This award means a lot to the city because Greg Floyd really fights hard for his members and for the city as a whole.”
Floyd has been part of Local 237 for over a quarter of a century, and has led the 24,000-member group of municipal employees since 2007.
New York City Public Advocate Lettia James commented, "There is no doubt that the dignity of labor is foremost in [Greg's] mind."
Stuart W. Davidson, labor attorney and chair of the American Friends of the Yitzhak Rabin Center, called Floyd a “big presence in the city” who perfectly represent’s the slain Israeli prime minister’s legacy of public service.
“We think Greg Floyd represents that in very significant and important ways,” Davidson said. “And more importantly, especially now, there needs to be recognition of public service and public employment, and the sacrifices people make to do that, which was obviously the legacy of Yitzhak Rabin. [Greg’s] long history in fighting for social justice and union causes is what attracted us to him.”
The Teamsters’ relationship to the State of Israel goes back to the 1950s when the union - then led by James R. Hoffa - helped found a home for at risk kids in the town of Ein Karem.
On Wednesday night, current IBT General President James P. Hoffa, presented the Leadership and Public Service to Floyd.
Although concerned with ongoing efforts to secure a fair contract with the city, Floyd appeared genuinely moved by all the adulation directed his way.
“I’m honored and I’m actually at a loss for words because so many of my friends are here from across the country - all in one room,” Floyd told LaborPress. “I feel honored and special that I’m able to share this moment and hear how people feel about me. I’m very grateful.”
Not surprisingly, Floyd said that the issue of healthcare remains one of the core issues in efforts to secure a contract with the city.
“Like everyone else in labor, we have to see what the healthcare savings will be, and see what kind of budget we have going forward,” the Local 237 president said.
In addition to heading Local 237, Floyd is also a trustee of The New York City Employment Retirement System; a vice-president of the New York State AFL-CIO and the New York City Central Labor Council; secretary of the Municipal Labor Committee, and recording secretary of the Executive Board of Teamsters Joint Council 16.