New York Union Boss Wants New Mayor-Elect To Impose ‘Neutrality’ On City Contractors


RWDSU's Appelbaum - Flickr

Although their relationship during the Democratic primary was somewhat rocky early on, the President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union eventually warmed up to New York’s new mayor-elect Bill de Blasio.

Now, union boss Stuart Appelbaum wants de Blasio to force companies that receive any subsidies from New York to become unionized through city-imposed “neutrality.”

Stuart Appelbaum, the union head who spearheaded last year’s successful fight to require some recipients of city subsidies to pay their workers more, has a new request for mayor-elect Bill de Blasio: labor neutrality.

“I’ve always believed that the best way to deal with income inequality is through collective action by workers,” said Appelbaum. “And that means forming unions and negotiating contracts. I think that the best way to move forward is to be looking for labor neutrality and labor peace as part of our notion of living wage.”

In its most basic formulation, labor neutrality means that a developer agrees not to interfere with the formation of a union, and the workers agree not to disrupt business by, say, going on strike.

Appelbaum would like to see labor neutrality language in play any time the city’s economic development corporation subsidizes a development.

Whether or not the mayor-elect honors Appelbaum’s request may be one of de Blasio’s first tests and will likely determine how much power unions have over New York’s new mayor.

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