De Blasio Makes Union Issues A Priority In 2016

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New York Democratic Mayor Bill de Blasio noted Tuesday he plans to make union-supported policies like wages and benefits a priority in 2016.

De Blasio has advocated for labor unions on numerous occasions. He plans to continue the trend going into 2016 as he prepares to enter his third term as mayor. During an interview with WOR 710 AM, he noted that increasing wages and benefits will be a priority of his in the year ahead.

“The focus has always been on trying to raise the wages and benefits of New Yorkers,” De Blasio stated. “Paid parental leave, improving the benefits that people have that really change their lives and make their lives more livable. We’re going to obviously fight for higher wages.”

De Blasio has geared much of his platform in favor of unions. He provided unions construction projects throughout the city worth millions while supporting policies like project labor agreements which help unionized companies beat competition. His office also issued a legal brief Nov. 15 for the upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case which threatens forced union dues.

The mayor, however, doesn’t have the best relationship with all unions. The Sergeants Benevolent Association and the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association have criticized him on numerous occasions over how he handled the 2014 death of Eric Garner. The law enforcement unions accused him of creating an anti-police atmosphere. Garner, a black man, died while a white police officer restrained him with a choke hold. Garner was illegally selling cigarettes at the time.

The state is already moving to increase the minimum wage. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has already done a lot to push for a $15 an hour minimum wage. The governor announced Nov. 10 an executive order to raise the minimum wage for state workers. Prior to that, the state commission on labor approved a plan in July to enact the increase for fast–food workers.

Cuomo also introduced a proposal Sept. 10 that would gradually bring the minimum wage to $15 throughout the state by 2021. Unlike industry specific wage increases, a statewide increase will need approval by the legislature.

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