We arrived at this year with great hope, and at the year’s end, we move forward to the next with high expectations.
Members of this union remained on the frontlines, risking their lives doing their jobs throughout the pandemic while quickly adapting to a changed New York City. At the same time, our communities were suffering the brunt of the social and economic impact of the months-long shutdown. In response, we did what was necessary to lay the foundation for a better future while dealing with the brutal present.
It was not easy, but we are used to fighting hard for what is right and accomplishing our goals despite adversity. Collectively, we rose to the challenge.
With the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Democrats winning control of the U.S. Senate, we got busy immediately, pushing Washington to pass the American Rescue Plan Act and provide some much-needed relief. They heard our calls and moved quickly.
We worked hard on our lobbying efforts in Albany and succeeded in convincing legislators to hold the line on cuts, help us win the needed aid for our public hospitals and shore up our education system.
Next, it was time to turn our attention closer to home. To protect our workers and their families, we engaged in a campaign to have our members vaccinated. Through months of hard work, District Council 37 now proudly touts a vaccination rate of over 90 percent for our members.
This was no easy feat. We made appointments on behalf of members, we set up a special day just to get DC 37 workers vaccinated, we spoke with all of you about your experiences and shared your stories both in this publication and on our social media accounts. Together, we helped our colleagues, neighbors and loved ones make the decision to get vaccinated and feel safe and confident doing so.
In the process, the lessons we learned from these efforts became apparent. The truth is this cannot happen again, and we must stand in front and move decisively for a change. We needed to move away from the politics of the past. We needed to move forward in communicating a clear vision of what New York City should be.
It was the moment for an opportunity to create a new city, with an administration fully committed to sweeping reforms of our infrastructure, housing, social services, transportation, schools, public safety, and the economy.
With this in mind, our union forged a coalition with four union allies and endorsed a slate of New York City Council primary candidates. Candidates who understood the needs of working people and vowed to fight for us.
But this was only the beginning of our efforts.
After a long, thorough process, we chose who we wanted to lead this city. It was time to back a mayor who would lead us through these difficult times and act in the interests of the people of New York City.
For mayor, we supported a candidate who said, “I am you.” Our response was, “He is us.”
From the moment of our endorsement, the full force of the union supported Eric Adams, along with dozens of thoughtful candidates who heard the people’s message, fully aware that now was the opportunity to bring this city together and move beyond the past.
Utilizing the human resources that are the center of our union power, we helped achieve sweeping electoral victories in the June 22 Democratic primary. In November, the man we chose to lead us—Eric Adams—won in a landslide. After he is sworn on Jan. 1, we will work with him to move past recovery and focus on building anew.
Looking back, this was, at times, a challenging year with defeats that were hard to take. But this is expected in a struggle. What matters is how you respond to a setback. Never show weakness. Keep pushing, fighting harder while moving forward.
Last year we showed our character and our courage. This year we revealed our power.
Next year is when we use it.