This Week's Hotel Voice

Cuomo Signs Pro-Union Law at Our Union Hall

Hotel Voice - May 15, 2017 Share/Save/Bookmark

As Peter Ward, New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento, New York State Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon and Hotel Trades Council member Aissata Boucoum look on, Governor Andrew Cuomo signs the law allowing union dues to be tax deductible in New York State.

Union members may now deduct their union dues on their New York State tax forms because of legislation signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The Governor signed the law in our union hall on May 5, in front of hundreds of cheering union members.

The legislation will save 500,000 union members in New York $50 million in state income tax each year But it does even more than that! It is a declaration that our state recognizes the value of union membership—a point that was made abundantly clear by Governor Cuomo when he signed the bill.

Cuomo was introduced to the crowd by Hotel Trades Council President Peter Ward.

“The labor movement has no bigger friend in Albany than Governor Cuomo,” Ward said, “and he’s been fighting for us since day one. The Governor believes unions have a rightful place at the table.”

Ward provided examples of Cuomo’s support for unions, citing action the Governor took on the minimum wage, ending a strike at Con Edison, signing the Airbnb bill, and leading the fight for an increase in the minimum wage, among many others. Ward also noted that Cuomo has taken important steps to fix New York’s infrastructure and bring about other improvements, citing the new Tappan Zee and Kozciuszko Bridges and the Second Avenue subway as examples. He also saluted Cuomo for criminal justice reform enacted this year in Albany, saying, “the Governor has proven that you can be progressive and tough on crime at the same time.”

Cuomo was greeted with great enthusiasm by those assembled in Gertrude Lane Auditorium.

“We’re family,” Cuomo told the crowd of union members. “My father would not have been Governor without you and I wouldn’t be Governor without you.”

It’s standing room only as union members cheer Governor Andrew Cuomo’s remarks.

Cuomo thanked Ward and New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento, saying the union dues tax deduction bill would not have been possible without their efforts.

Cuomo said that this is a very important time for middle class families because they have been going backwards in recent years, while the wealthy have become richer. “Washington’s response is to declare war on unions that created the middle class. And they are attacking New York. They say we are not their kind of people and I agree—in fact, I’m proud not to be their kind of people!

“They have declared war on immigrants and when you do that you declare war on New York!” he continued. “Immigrants built this city and they built this nation and we will never forget that!”

Cuomo said New York is the heaviest unionized state in the country and that it is something for workers to celebrate. He said he was proud to work with unions to pass paid family leave, a state apprentice program, a bill to build more affordable housing with union labor and to enact other worker and family-friendly initiatives.

“We are united here in New York,” he said. “If you declare war on immigrants you declare war on all of us. If you declare war on unions you declare war on all of us, and united we will win!”

Cuomo said the bill he was signing says “We support unions.”

With Ward, Cilento, New York State Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon and Hotel Trades Council member Aissata Bocoum looking on, Cuomo signed the bill to loud cheers from the union members present. He then came out into the audience to meet personally with members, as the cheering continued.

Governor Cuomo greets members at the bill signing ceremony on May 5.