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A Newsletter for the Movement for Economic, Climate, and Racial Justice

Published October 11th 2021


New York City’s election season is here, giving us an opportunity to elect leaders that will move our City toward equity and resiliency, where neighborhoods are free of pollution, and our economy is sustained by good, green union jobs. Fewer than 20 Council members will be incumbents, which means majority of City Council seats will be open for new leaders that can push for the bold, progressive policies that we have been fighting for. Our movement will be critical in keeping our elected officials accountable in moving us toward a just recovery. We will be on the streets, knocking on doors, making phone calls, and chanting on the steps of City Hall to make sure that happens.

You can support our movement for economic, racial, and climate justice by donating to ALIGN

NY HERO Act is in Full Effect

Although the NY HERO Act was signed into law in May, this crucial legislation would not be fully implemented until the NYS Department of Health (DOH) declared Covid ‘highly contagious’ and a ‘threat to public health’. In the past couple months, the NY Essential Workers Coalition kept the fight for protections alive when many wrongfully believed that the pandemic was over. We held rallies, sent public letters, and wrote op-eds to put pressure on New York state to implement much needed protections. Finally, on Labor Day, Governor Hochul signed an order for DOH to make the designation that would trigger the NY HERO Act — another big win for our coalition. In a television interview, Executive Director Maritza Silva-Farrell spoke on Spectrum NY1 on this important win, “We have been dependent on these workers and giving them health and safety protections. The basic health and safety protections will allow for our economy to thrive across the country.” You can read more about the NY HERO Act  in our easy-to-read primer here.

Our statewide NY Essential Workers Coalition has proved that coming together across industries will leverage the power we need to make big wins that achieve health and dignity in the workplace. Our work doesn’t stop here. The coalition is now working with the Department of Labor to ensure that New York is implementing the strongest standards possible. We are also working with the DOL for strong implementation of worker committees in November.  The creation of worker committees are another monumental achievement of the NY HERO Act, which will give workers a real voice in the workplace when it comes to health and safety.

The Coalitions Rising to Rein in Big Corporations

Today, corporations like Amazon continue to grow and exercise greater and greater control over our lives, becoming the gatekeepers of our market, information, and communication. Their power was not built by happenstance. They have done this by bullying our communities, destroying small businesses, exploiting workers and surveilling black and brown communities. Here in New York, we are building a coalition called New Yorkers for a Fair Economy (NYFE), which seeks to bring together labor unions, businesses, and community organizations to rein in Amazon’s growing monopoly over our lives.

Stacey Mitchell, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, and coalition member of NYFE, wrote in a powerful op-ed for the New York Times about the importance of unions and small business coming together to limit corporate power years after the Great Depression. We are replicating that kind of alliance today in this new age of corporate tech monopolies. Together, NYFE is working to sign into law the 21st Century Antitrust Act, the most aggressive state level bill that would shift power away from corporations and back into our communities. This work coincides with the federal work being supported by the nationwide Rein in Big Tech coalition. ALIGN is joining over 50 organizations that are coming together to urge Congress to pass historic bipartisan legislation that would rein in Big Tech’s societal harms and monopoly power. Join this coalition by emailing, calling, or tweeting members of congress to pass new bipartisan antitrust legislation.

Moving the Ball on Green, Healthy Schools

The interlocking Covid-19 and climate crisis continues to threaten all New Yorkers. If we are serious about a just recovery for New York, we must center our investment in our children’s future, making sure that our school infrastructure is resilient, healthy, and safe for future generations.

Our Climate Works for All coalition has been urging the NYC Mayor and the next incoming Mayor to build #GreenHealthySchools that ensure healthy, safe, and sustainable learning environments. In our report, Climate Works for All has shown that the city has already committed to invest energy efficiency upgrades in our buildings. Now we urge Mayor de Blasio to use those funds to begin installing solar and HVAC air control systems in schools, prioritizing black and brown communities.

That is why Governor Kathy Hochul’s $59 million investment in ‘Clean Green Schools’ is a step in the right direction for a just transition in our state. The new Clean Green Schools initiative aims to advance clean energy and energy efficiency solutions that will improve indoor air quality and reduce emissions for more than 500 public and private Pre-K-12 schools in disadvantaged communities across the state.

Our Executive Director Maritza Silva-Farrell applauded the decision made during climate week: “The path to New York’s recovery must prioritize our children and their future. The plan to invest in installation of solar panels and HVAC systems in schools located in disadvantaged communities is a step forward in the right direction. It will enhance air quality, education, and health while creating career-orientated union jobs for New Yorkers.

The Fight to Build Back Better

We have a once-in-a-generation chance for Congress to pass a transformational economic recovery and infrastructure package that puts millions people to work in good, family sustaining climate jobs and care jobs, delivers real climate solutions, and advances racial, Indigenous, gender, and economic justice. As steering committee members of the statewide NY Renews coalition, we are joining the efforts of the Green New Deal Network’s key role in collaborating with the Congressional Progressive Caucus to build a tightly knit bloc that would hold together secure passage of the broader Build Back Better agenda. This nationwide alliance has organized hundreds of grassroots actions, generated hundreds of thousands of phone calls into Congress, and run ads in more than 50 congressional districts—mostly thanking progressives for holding strong. We have seen recently the success of grassroots pressure working with the  Congressional Progressive Caucus bloc holding the line against passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill without securing the full Build Back Better Act. This was a historic win and shows the growing power of progressives in Congress. Our work is far from over as negotiations on the contents of the package continue. Join us in calling on Congress to seal the full Build Back Better deal at $4.1 trillion — and not a penny less — for climate, care, jobs, and justice.

A Celebration of Our Movement

This past month, fellow colleagues, allies, friends, and supporters like you came together to celebrate our shared work for economic, racial, and climate justice at the ALIGN Movement Builders Awards. This celebration is crucial for sustaining our movement for worker power and an equitable renewable energy economy. We are a people-powered movement that needs support from our communities.  We want to thank our sponsors who have been so generous in their support for our work. You can see this year’s list of sponsors in our 2021 Movement Builders Awards E-journal.

Missed the event? Check out video highlights and photos of the event. We are also proud to share this video showcasing our movement building work throughout the pandemic.

On this special night, we came together to honor our 2021 Movement Builder honorees: Assembly Member Karines Reyes and Senator Michael Gianaris, Stuart Appelbaum, and Dr. Lara Skinner for their leadership in building movements for economic, racial, and climate justice. You can learn more about their work here. We were also grateful to have Senator Chuck Schumer join us via livestream to celebrate our work with us.

A key takeaway from this night was that our strategy for building collective power through strategic coalition building is working. Please consider making a donation or becoming a monthly sustainer so we can continue our momentum in winning toward a just and equitable New York.

Maritza Silva-Farrell Honored on

City and State’s New York City Labor Power 100

We are proud to have Executive Director Maritza Silva-Farrell as part of City and State NY’s New York City Labor Power 100. Maritza joins advocates, union leaders, and government officials who have been at the forefront of building worker power in New York City, many of which were close partners in fighting for the NY HERO Act, including Senator Michael Gianaris and Assemblymember Karines Reyes, NY HERO bill sponsors; Mario Cilento of New York State AFL-CIO; Senator Jessica Ramos, chair of the labor committee; Stuart Appelbaum, President of RWDSU and board member; Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer; Dennis Trainor, Vice President of CWA District 1 and many more. Earlier this past year, Maritza was also placed in the New York State Labor Power 100 and Energy and Environment Power 100, alongside many of our partners who are making New York State the model for our country in worker and climate justice.

Honoring Environmental Justice Warriors

This year, New York City Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA), movement partners and board members, is celebrating their 30th anniversary by honoring environmental justice warriors who have been fighting for the dignity and health of our frontline communities.  We are excited to see key coalitions in our work being honored, including Climate Works for All, Transform Don’t Trash, and NY Renews. These coalitions have made monumental impacts in making New York the model for climate and jobs policy in the country. We thank NYC-EJA for recognizing these coalitions through the years, and we are excited to be partners in the work. Join us in celebrating the coalitions leading on climate, jobs, and justice!

ALIGN in the News

NY Daily NewsN.Y. Gov. Hochul signs the HERO Act, providing COVID safety rules in the workplace

Times Union New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announces measures to help workers on Labor Day

Buffalo NewsHochul announces worker protections against Covid-19

Spectrum News NY1Gov. Hochul signs new legislation package to boost state workforce

Spectrum News NY1 New York businesses required to implement COVID-19 health protocols with NY HERO Act

Gotham Gazette De Blasio Administration Looks Toward Final Climate Actions

NewsdayHochul – HERO act aims to protect workers from COVID-19

City & State New YorkThe 2021 New York City Labor Power 100

Gotham GazetteMax Politics Podcast: Hurricane Ida, Climate Change & Where We Go Next in New York

NYS Governor’s OfficeGovernor Hochul Announces $59 Million “Clean Green Schools” Initiative to Improve Air Quality and Reduce Carbon Emissions in Pre-K-12 Schools

NYS SenateGianaris, Reyes, And Advocates Celebrate The Health Department Finally Implementing Their NY Hero Act

An Alliance in Action

Teamsters JC 16 – Watch UPS Driver Dan Gross speaks at the House Judiciary hearing  on how Amazon’s unchecked market dominance creates unsafe workplaces. Gross is urging Congress to consider general antitrust reforms that address the power companies have over workers and how that power impacts not only their direct employees but all workers in that industry.

Make the Road NY – The fight to #FundExcludedWorkers continues. Thousands of New Yorkers are still at risk of being shut out of the #ExcludedWorkersFund. This week they raised their voices to demand a fully resourced Excluded Worker Fund. Watch a video of the rally here.

NYC Environmental Justice Alliance – NYC EJA joined partners UPROSE for a climate justice day of action to demand a moratorium on environmental racism in Sunset Park – rejecting e-commerce, decommissioning peaker plants, and moving forward for green industrialization. Read more here.

NYC Central Labor Council Journalists, writers and media workers are organizing in record numbers. Join NYC CLC on Tuesday October 19th at 11 AM  for a panel discussion with speakers who are on the front lines of this surge in organizing. RSVP here.

DC 37 – The unionized workers at the Museum of Jewish Heritage need your support as they bargain for their first contract. Join DC37 in solidarity and sign the petition to demand management negotiate fairly

New York Communities for Change – NYCC Members Veronica Leal and Ana Ramirez went on hunger strike for 23 days without eating for Fund Excluded Workers. Read about their powerful story in The City and why Governor Hochul must put more money in the excluded worker fund. 

CWA District 1 –  Healthcare workers at Catholic Health Hospitals in Western New York – including Mercy, St. Josephs, and Kenmore – are currently on strike fighting for patient and worker safety during an unprecedented crisis. You can support the strike here.

You can support our movement for economic, racial, and climate justice by donating to ALIGN