Governor Cuomo has resigned. Win, lose, or draw, the man who delivered on big work opportunities for the Building Trades all across New York State will step down on August 24. Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, a moderate Democrat from Buffalo, will become our state's first female governor. We wish her well. New York’s current problems, especially handling this resurging pandemic, will test her from the start, and the political hacks won’t be cutting her any slack.
We mourn the passing of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. He led the Federation during trying times including the anti-labor Trump administration, and he served with distinction. AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler is the acting President, and the Executive Council will fill his unexpired term next week. Whomever is chosen will continue to face the daunting challenge of growing the labor movement.
August 3 was the 40th anniversary of the PATCO strike. The strike by the Air Traffic Controllers was broken when they were fired and their union was decertified by Ronald Reagan. That was the signal to America’s corporations that it was ok to permanently replace strikers and break their unions. The attacks on American workers continue today, as Charter Communications is one of the recent examples of corporate greed. Labor’s decline has taken its toll on the middle class in America. The safety net provided by union contracts with good wages, employer-paid health care, and the retirement security of defined benefit pension plans has been disappearing. Successful organizing and collective bargaining supported by the working class is the only path to the middle class for all Americans. We have the opportunity with President Biden to change the direction this country has taken for working men and women. But the question is, do we have the guts to actually do it?
Speaking of guts, there is nothing good in the recent UN Report on Climate Change. The following words were part of my remarks at the People’s Climate March on September 21, 2014: “This is not just a moral issue. This is an economic battle, and our adversaries are not going to just roll over. The stakes are high. The wealth of nations, corporations, and individuals are at risk. The livelihoods and jobs of working men and women are at risk. These are powerful motivators to resist change, yet if we don't act, our coastal cities around the world will fall like sand castles in the surf. The devastation will be immeasurable.” That was almost 7 years ago. Today worldwide devastation by fires, floods, heat, storms, and drought is all man-made. Where is the leadership and where is the demand for change?
And finally, cut the crap and just get the vaccination. You’re probably going to need it if you're going to want to go to work.