QUEENS, NY – Borough President candidate Costa Constantinides on December 3 called for a sweeping group of reforms to better protect workers’ rights in solidarity with a new wave of unionization efforts throughout Queens and all of New York City.
“The new, green economy we’re building here in Queens should be done with union labor — no matter the profession,” said Constantinides, Democrat for Queens Borough President. “Queens has long led been a leader in the labor movement. We must continue that into the 21st Century by setting a strong example for the rest of the New York City.”
Constantinides was one of the first City Council members to publicly support the legislative staff’s efforts to unionize and unveiled four proposals to enhance working conditions in Queens. The plan addresses recent instances of harassment against public servants as well as sets a forward-thinking example of how we work.
As Queens Borough President, Constantinides has a plan to:
-Oppose Any Major Land Use Decision that Doesn’t Have a Labor Component: Real estate developers have increasingly tried to undercut the labor movement in New York City. As Queens Borough President, Constantinides would have a strong voice and a vote in the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure and ensure any major development includes union labor. Skilled trades bring incomparable quality, safety, and fairness to building in New York City, and it’s something we must be committed to saving in Queens.
-Sponsor Legislation to Create a City Entity Focused on Workplace Mistreatment: City employees deserve an independent agency or office filled with professionals who understand the difficulty of reporting workplace harassment. Civil servants deserve protections, resources, and guidance about reporting any kind of workplace harassment or misdeed. Constantinides would use the Borough President’s ability to request legislation to sponsor any bill to create this entity — giving it a clear mandate that mistreatment of staff in Queens will not be tolerated.
-Commission a Study on the Positive Impacts of a Four-Day Work Week: There’s growing momentum to rethink how we work — and when. Microsoft Japan saw a 40% productivity increase this summer by switching to a four-day work week. By having employees take off Fridays, the company says it printed 60% fewer pages this August and experienced a 23% drop in energy consumption. Proponents of the structure believe a four-day work week leads to happier, well-adjusted employees who are less likely to be stressed or burned out. Constantinides wants to see how these results might translate to the “City that Never Sleeps,” and help make Queens the leader on sustainability by reducing energy and paper consumption.
-Create 50,000 Union Green Jobs in Queens: Efforts to combat climate change will create new jobs in carbon efficiency, resiliency, and renewable energy. Constantinides believes this work should be done by union labor, which provides safe working conditions and fair pay. He’s committed to creating 50,000 green jobs in Queens by 2030, and wants to create a high school-to-union pipeline by expanding Career and Technical Education programs in Queens schools.
Constantinides has made protecting workers central to his time in government. In October 2018, he introduced a resolution in support of the #CountMeIn movement as Big Real Estate sought to undermine union labor in New York City. UFCW Local 1500 endorsed Constantinides for Borough President last month, becoming the first union to back a candidate in the looming race; IUOE Local 94, with more than 5,000 operating engineers across the City, threw its support behind Constantinides less than two weeks later.
Costa Constantinides currently serves in the New York City Council, where he represents western Queens and chairs the Committee on Environmental Protection. His legislative accomplishments include the Climate Mobilization Act, a Green New Deal for New York City, as well as the historic 80% reduction by 2050 of carbon emissions commitment. Costa lives in his native Astoria with his wife and son.
For more information, visit: www.votecosta.com.