Focus On Politics

Re-Shape NY!

This election year changed the shape of New York politics.  

Step 1: Get Educated! Learn about the candidates that will fight for our union! 

Step 2: Get Them Elected

Step 3: Hold Them ACCOUNTABLE!

Local elections are extremely important for us, as union members and as members of our local communities. A good City Council member in your district could mean the difference between having an elected official fight alongside you during contract time or having someone that isn’t that interested in preserving good, union jobs. This election year shaped the City and the local governments. Now, let's hold politicians we helped elect, accountable!

Interested in any of these issues or finding out more information about future lobby days? Contact Aly Waddy, at

Political Updates

Strengthen the Wage Theft Prevention Act

Melissa Mark Viverito, First Latina Elected Speaker of New York City Council

Politicians are Selling Us Short on Food Stamps

Medical Marijuana...Long Overdue in New York State

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Melissa Mark-Viverito Is NYC's First Latina City Council Speaker

Council member viverito during the walmart hearing c william alatriste new york city councilCouncil-member Melissa Mark-Viverito is now the New York City Council Speaker. The two-term, 44-year-old representative from Spanish Harlem won the unanimous support of her colleagues and Mayor Bill de Blasio.  Mark-Viverito grew up in Puerto Rico, and is succeeds Christine Quinn as Speaker, the second most powerful position in New York City.  Mark-Viverito has stood with our union on countless issues and has testified against Walmart entering New York City, saying at a hearing once, “Wal-Mart is definitely not welcome in New York City. It is a union-busting, tax-evading, wage-suppressing, job-destroying, civil rights-abusing, food stamp-denying, multinational corporation that has no place in New York City.”

“Walmart is definitely not welcome in New York City,” New York City Speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito”

“Melissa is a friend, an activist and a great progressive leader who fights every day to protect New York City from greedy retailers who prey on the working class,” Secretary-Treasurer Tony Speelman said, “We congratulate her on her new position and look forward to working with her.” 


Politicians are Selling Us Short on Food Stamps

SnapCutsImageIt’s a sad day when our country signs in a Farm Bill that includes $8 billion in cuts to food stamps throughout the country. The SNAP Program is one of the best economic generators and job creators that the government still has in place. People receiving food stamps spend them in their neighborhood supermarkets, fueling local economies. Furthermore, for every $1 billion put into food stamps, an estimated 13,718 jobs are created from farm to table. These cuts will amount to a loss of over 100,000 jobs at a time when job creation seems to be on the forefront of priorities for democrats and republicans alike.

It is not acceptable for our politicians to not recognize the income inequality that exists in our society. Cutting food stamps for people of this country that cannot afford to food their families is completely immoral and goes against the values we should have as Americans. “These cuts to food stamps are a double edged sword,” said Secretary Treasurer of UFCW Local 1500, Anthony Speelman. “Less money will be spent in our local supermarkets, decreasing the hours for workers throughout the country,” Speelman continued. “On top of that, there will be more people applying for food stamps because they’re not getting the hours they used to. Food stamps are a win for the economy, our communities, and our families in need and cutting them shouldn’t even be on the table for discussion” concluded Speelman.


Time is Long Overdue for Medical Marijuana in New York State 

The time is long overdue for medical marijuana to be legalized in New York State. Eighteen other states, including Washington, D.C. have either legalized, decriminalized, or created a system for medical marijuana and the results have been overwhelmingly positive. This multibillion dollar industry has helped create good, career jobs from the farming of the marijuana to the dispensaries, especially in California and on the West coast. 


CuomoOne of the main critiques of legalizing medical marijuana is the fear of increasing drug abuse and the impossibility of law enforcement to carry out their jobs properly. Fortunately, one only needs to look at the past 17 years of California’s medical marijuana system to realize that these rumors are unfounded. Researchers D. Mark Anderson and Daniel Rees told the New York Times in October that “these states will see a reduction in the social harms resulting from alcohol use: Reducing traffic injuries and fatalities is potentially one of the most important.” Furthermore, there is no concrete evidence to link increased crime rates to states that have a medical marijuana program.


It’s time that New Yorkers stand with Governor Cuomo’s plan to ensure that medical marijuana is coming to New York in the safest and most careful way possible. It’s important that workers in the fields and in the dispensaries are provided with good jobs within their communities to properly regulate this sensitive industry. We will be working with our local legislators to make sure medical marijuana in New York thrives and comes along with a union label.


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