Assemblywoman Grace Meng just announced the backing of United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500, the main grocery workers union in New York City, a nice endorsement to have as she campaigns for congress in Queens.
Although the statement from the union’s president, Bruce Both, listed a range of issues they supported Ms. Meng on, he placed the most emphasis on her opposition to a Walmart within city’s boundaries.
“Most importantly, Grace has pledged her support for our Unions effort to hold Walmart accountable for reckless corporate policies that effect the worker families, small business owners, and women that live in the 6th Congressional,” Mr Both said in the statement. “Our Union believes that Grace will help unify an ethnically diverse community around the most pressing issue facing our Unions membership: keeping New York City Walmart free.”
The endorsement is notable as one of Ms. Meng’s opponents, Assemblyman Rory Lancman, has been gobbling up some of the most politically powerful labor forces, such as the Working Families Party, SEIU 1199, and the RWDSU. However, Ms. Meng did previously manage to score the influential Hotel Trades Council.
A third prominent candidate, Councilwoman Elizabeth Crowley, is also in the race, and has announced the support of a number of smaller unions, especially in trades.
Update: Soon after Ms. Meng announced her UFCW endorsement, Mr. Lancman announced the backing of one of the UFCW locals also affiliated with the RWDSU.
View the full statement below:
The following is a statement from Bruce W. Both, President of United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local 1500, New York State’s largest grocery workers Union.
“UFCW Local 1500 is pleased to announce our endorsement of New York State Assembly Member Grace Meng to represent New York State’s 6th Congressional District in Queens.
Since arriving in Albany, Grace has come to understand the needs of the 23,000 members of our Union. Her support of the Unions Building Blocks Project, an effort to bring good food and good jobs to underserved communities, has been vital. Grace understand that while every community needs access to healthy food, it is also just as vital that those employers act responsibly towards its workers and members of the community
Grace is also strong supporter of the Wage Theft Prevention Act (WTPA), a law that was passed in 2010 and strongly supported by the members of UFCW Local 1500. Grace understands the severe economic consequences of wage theft to tax payers, workers and responsible employers and worked diligently to ensure the law passed in the first year it was introduced. The WTPA increased fines and penalties for employers failing to pay their workers wages owed to them and for retaliation against employees who reported the wage theft to the authorities.
Most importantly, Grace has pledged her support for our Unions effort to hold Walmart accountable for reckless corporate policies that effect the worker families, small business owners, and women that live in the 6th Congressional. Our Union believes that Grace will help unify an ethnically diverse community around the most pressing issue facing our Unions membership: keeping New York City Walmart free.”
Said Assemblywoman Meng: “I am honored to have the support of Local 1500, an activist union in the finest tradition of promoting important social change. UFCW has long embraced diversity as a strength, and been a trailblazer in making organizing important to the new Americans staffing the industries it’s active in. Local 1500’s understanding of how to advance important, progressive issues and projects mirrors my candidacy and campaign. I am thrilled to be working with them to protect and press forward the priorities of hardworking Queens families.”
UFCW Local 1500 represents 23,000 grocery workers throughout the metropolitan New York area. Their members work at Stop and Shop, Pathmark, Key Food, King Kullen, Fairway, Gristedes and Shop Rite.