From (l to r): Club President Steve Sadofsky, Business Manager Christopher Erikson, Service Award winner Eric Farbman, Vice President Marc Deutscher and Business Representative Eliot Hecht.
On Sunday October 25, 2015, the Electrical Welfare Club held its 53rd annual Award and Scholarship Breakfast. The event was held in the Electric Industry Center Auditorium. It provided a forum for us to share ideas on the labor movement, politics and the future of large-scale construction projects in New York City. We honored the great job and hard work that the late Norman Rothfeld Esq. former Counsel for Local 3, IBEW had done on behalf of all the members of Local 3. We also celebrated the contribution of former EWC President Brother Eric Farbman who has given of himself time and time again for the betterment of others. Over 400 members and guests were in attendance.
The Breakfast began with Marc Deutscher, Vice President of the Electrical Welfare Club and Chairman of the Breakfast, announcing the 60-member dais. The dais included Congresswoman Grace Meng, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, New York State Senators Toby Ann Stavisky and Leroy Comrie, members of the New York State Assembly Michael Simanowitz, David I. Weprin, New York City Councilman Rory Lancman and Councilman-Elect Barry Grodenchik, President of the NYC Building & Construction Trades Council, Gary Labarbera, President of the NYC Central Labor Council, Vincent Alvarez and our own Business Manager of Local 3, Christopher Erikson.åÊ
Brother Deutscher then introduced the color guard from Electchester’s Boy Scout Troops 357 and Cub Scout Pack 357 which was led by Matthew Deutscher, son of Marc Deutscher. After the Pledge of Allegiance, Rabbi Gerald Solomon was then called up to sing the Hatikvah (Israeli National Anthem) followed by Brother Daniel Scharfglass singing our National Anthem. Rabbi Solomon
then gave the invocation followed by the Hamotzi, which is the blessing over the challah bread.
Business Manager Erikson then called up some of our elected officials, union leaders and government officials to say a few words to the audience. This included Queens Borough President Melinda Katz who used the opportunity to mention the new Astoria Cove project as well as to excite the entire auditorium in a Let’s Go Mets chant for the National League Champions from Queens, the New York Mets.åÊ Gary Labarbera, President of the NYC Building & Construction Trades Council also addressed the audience. Labarbera spoke passionately about the importance of staying unified in order to successfully go after as many work opportunities in New York City as possible. He stressed solidarity as the key to our future. He said better wages, strong benefits, pension plans and retiring with dignity and overall living well enough to achieve the ‘American Dream’ is what motivates him every day as he represents over 100,000 hard working union members. Next to speak was Roberta å_Reardon, former President of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and newly appointed New York State Commissioner of Labor. Ms. Reardon, who was representing the Governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, spoke about her new position in Albany. She also congratulated Business Manager Erikson for not only the hard work he does on behalf of the members of Local 3 but also all he does for the betterment of all working people in the state.åÊåÊ
After a delicious catered breakfast, Electrical Welfare Club President Steven Sadofsky welcomed everyone to our annual Breakfast and thanked Chairman Marc Deutscher and Co-Chairwoman Susan Roth and everyone on the Breakfast committee for all their hard work. He then introduced the master of ceremonies for the Breakfast, former President of the Electrical Welfare Club Dave Hochman.
Hochman thanked Business Manager
Erikson for making his job that much easier for allowing the elected officials to speak while everyone was enjoying their breakfast. He then called up Dr. Gerald Finkel, Chairman of the Joint Industry Board and former President of the Electrical Welfare Club, to present the Louis Stein Memorial Scholarship. This year’s recipient was Amanda Kreiger, daughter of Brother Robert Kreiger, who is attending the University of Delaware. Ms. Kreiger was unable to attend the Breakfast and her father accepted the award on her behalf. He thanked the Electrical Welfare Club for this very special honor.åÊ
The next speaker was Andrew Gross, Political Advisor to the Deputy Consul General of Israel, in New York. As Political Advisor to the Deputy Consul General, Mr Gross is responsible for political briefings and assists the Deputy Consul General with public relations and interactions for the tri-state area.åÊ He spoke to us about the ongoing strife in the Middle East and how everything is changing by the day. He shared with the audience that the number one issue in the Middle East was not ISIS but actually Iran and preventing their capability to produce nuclear weapons.åÊ He said that the strong partnership between the United States and Israel has allowed the Israeli economy to continue to thrive. He was very thankful of the continued support of Local 3 and the Electrical Welfare Club with Israel Bonds.
Business Manager Erikson then called up a very special guest, Gary Barnett, to address the audience. Mr. Barnett is President and founder of Extell Development Company, a real estate development company of residential, commercial and hospitality properties and several high profile buildings including One57 and 55 Hudson Yards in Manhattan. He is the leading real estate developer in New York City. Mr. Barnett spoke about the relationship that he has with the Building and Construction Trades of New York. He said he would love to continue to use Union labor on all of his projects but at the same time spoke about how difficult it is to build in New York City and how expensive it is to do it right, using union labor.åÊ He spoke about the reality of non-union construction all over this city and how the game has changed with developers and general contractors. He applauded Gary Labarbera and Business Manager Erikson for fighting so hard to get work opportunities for all union members.åÊ He then thanked Business Manager Erikson and the Electrical Welfare Club for the å_opportunity to speak at the Breakfast.
Brother Hochman then called up Business Representative and former President of the Electrical Welfare Club Elliot Hecht to present the Service Award to former EWC President Eric Farbman. Hecht first thanked the Breakfast committee for all their hard work putting everything together and then thanked the audience for supporting the EWC and being part of the Club’s history. He spoke about Brother Farbman’s dedication for over twenty years to the Electrical Welfare Club and Local 3.åÊ He spoke about his volunteerism. At first, it was helping out at the annual MD Picnic or wrapping gifts at the annual Hanukkah party. Farbman was later elected to the Board of Directors, Vice President and President of the EWC. He served in that capacity for 4 years. Today, he continues to serve the club once again as a member of the Board. He is also member of the Wage and Policy Committee, Death Benefit Society, Colony Club and Vice President of the Local 3 Bowling League. Brother Farbman is currently a Shop Steward working in lower Manhattan.åÊ
Brother Farbman thanked Business Representative Hecht for his kind words. He said that he has always enjoyed being able to help the Electrical Welfare Club any way he could.åÊ He thanked the Electrical Welfare Club for this great honor and acknowledged his family including his wife Alana and his son Maxwell as well as special friends attending. He thanked his wife for all her support. His wife Alana was then presented a beautiful bouquet of roses.åÊ Judy Hecht, wife of Business Representative Elliot Hecht was also presented a beautiful bouquet of roses for all her support.åÊ
Brother Hochman then called up Business Manager Erikson to speak about the Breakfast honoree, the late Norman
Rothfeld, Esq.åÊ Mr. Rothfeld was the counsel of Local 3 for many years.åÊ Business Manager Erikson shared stories about Mr. Rothfeld.åÊ He was an outstanding attorney. He was a great å_listener. He was extremely intelligent and very shrewd. He had a great sense of humor with impeccable timing. The business manager then called up Richard Brook, Esq the current counsel for Local 3 to say a few words about Mr. Rothfeld. To receive the plaque in Norman’s honor, Business Manager Erikson called up Ray Melville, Senior Assistant Business Manager of Local 3.
For his closing remarks, Business Manager Erikson spoke about the fight that we are up against, such as the politicians that want to destroy unions and destroy our way of life. He urged everyone to pay attention to the presidential campaign, to pay attention to the language that is being used to divide this country instead of uniting everyone.åÊ He thanked Roberta Reardon and Gary Barnett for joining us. He thanked the elected officials as well. He congratulated the scholarship award recipients and Brother Farbman. He also thanked President Sadofsky and the entire committee for a great Breakfast. He thanked the members of the EWC for the support they have always given to the club & Local 3. He closed by thanking everyone in attendance for joining us at the Breakfast. Once again, the Electrical Welfare Club’s Breakfast was a huge success thanks to all that attended and supported our event.