Build Political Power

Why We Should Build Political Power

Since 2007, our Union has been building political power in order to give our members a seat at the table and a say over state and local laws that impact the security of our jobs and affect working people in our communities. 

We have achieved a long list of political victories. We have helped to elect dozens of officials who support working people in our statehouses and local governments. We’ve gone head to head with the real-estate industry in New York and won. To their dismay, we’ve helped pass laws that limit the over development of hotels in certain neighborhoods. We’ve gone up against Airbnb  and other home-sharing sites that compete with good, union hotel jobs, increase rent, and endanger our local neighborhoods and passed restrictions that take away their ability to operate illegal hotels in our cities. And we’ve passed many laws that help working people including the fight for a $15 minimum wage, pre-K for all in New York City, the creation of over 100,000 new affordable housing units in the five boroughs, and key criminal justice reforms in New York State. 

But the work will never be complete. Alone, none of us have the money or power that the real estate industry, developers, and Wall Street have to influence in politics. But together - as a Union - we can. By voting as a block, mobilizing our communities, and holding elected officials accountable once they’re in office we can get candidates that support the working class elected and get laws passed.

The key to our success has been our militant and active membership. Thousands of members have come out to knock on doors to get out the vote and have raised small donations for candidates.

Build Political Power During COVID-19

At a time when we can’t hit the streets to support candidates who support working people, the most fundamental thing we can do to build our Union’s political power is vote.

New York

State Primaries: 

On Tuesday, June 23, 2020, New York State is planning to hold a primary election.

Register to vote:

If you’re not yet registered to vote, the deadline to postmark your application is May 29, 2020 for the June 23 primary.

The deadline to postmark your application to register to vote in time for the General Election on November 3, 2020 is October 9, 2020 in New York. 

You can register to vote, change your address, and change your party affiliation online here.

Request an absentee ballot during COVID-19: 

Due to concerns about spreading COVID-19, Governor Cuomo has made a series of changes that will affect this year’s primary election.

On April 9, 2020 Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.15, which allows New York voters to request an absentee ballot for reasons related to COVID-19 for the June 23, 2020 primary. Any New York voter who wants to apply for an absentee ballot for reasons related to COVID-19 can mark “temporary illness or physical disability” as the reason on their application. The governor’s executive order does not yet extend to the November 3, 2020 general election.

On April 24, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.23, which requires the NY State Board of Elections to send postage-paid absentee ballot applications to all registered voters for the June 23 primary election. Poll sites will remain open for the primary, but absentee ballots offer the safest and easiest way to vote during the pandemic.

The Board of Elections planned to mail applications out in the middle of May. If you have not received your absentee ballot application or would like to proactively request your ballot, you can do so easily:

Registered voters in the five boroughs of NYC can apply for an absentee ballot online at https://nycabsentee.com/absentee

All other voters registered in New York State, you can download the New York State Absentee Ballot Application Form here. You must print out the application, complete and sign it, and mail it to your County Board of Elections.

You can also call or send a letter to your County Board of Elections and request that they mail you an absentee ballot. If you choose to send a letter to your County Board of Elections, it must be received by the Board of Elections no earlier than 30 days before the election, and must be sent no later than seven days before the election.

The letter must contain the following information: - your name and date of birth - the address where you are registered - an address where the ballot is to be sent - the reason for the request (if doing so due to concerns related to COVID-19, you may check “temporary illness or physical disability” as the reason) - an original signature of the voter.

The letter may be sent via mail, email, or fax. You can find a map with email, fax and mailing information for your county board of elections here.

New Jersey

State Primaries: 

On April 8, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order 120 that pushed the state’s primary election back to July 7, 2020. On May 15, 2020, he announced that the state’s July 7 primary will be held primarily by mail.

Register to vote:

If you’re not yet registered to vote, the deadline to postmark your application is June 16, 2020 for the July 7 primary.

The deadline to register to vote in time for the General Election on November 3, 2020 is October 13, 2020 in New Jersey.

You can download a Voter Registration Form here. You can also call (877) 658-6837, select your county of residence, and request that your local Board of Elections mail you a voter registration form.

Voting during COVID-19: 

On April 8, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order 120 that pushed the state’s primary election back to July 7, 2020. On May 15, 2020, he announced that the state’s July 7 primary will be held primarily by mail. All registered Democratic and Republican voters will receive a vote-by-mail ballot. Unaffiliated and inactive voters will receive a vote-by-mail ballot application. These will have pre-paid postage. The state will also have a limited number of polling places open in each county, so that everyone can exercise their right to vote.

For those members who live in Connecticut and Pennsylvania

Given that the overwhelming majority of our members live in New York and New Jersey and exclusively work there, we have focused most of political program on efforts in those states. 

For those members who live in Connecticut, you can find information about local elections and registering to vote here.

For those members who live in Pennsylvania, you can find information about local elections and registering to vote here.