HTC backs Eric Adams for NYC Mayor

March 2, 2021 7:17 PM

By HTC President Rich Maroko

Today, our Union endorsed Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams in his campaign for New York City Mayor.

This election may be the most consequential one we’ve faced since we started our Union’s political program 15 years ago. The balance of power in New York City is up for grabs: New Yorkers will elect a new mayor, all five borough presidents, and an entirely new city council. These freshly elected leaders will decide how to rebuild our city’s economy, drive tourism, and reopen the hotel industry after the COVID-19 pandemic. They will have a huge say over how working people – and our members – are treated during the economic recovery. If that weren’t reason enough to take these elections seriously, in all likelihood, whoever wins the mayoral election will also be elected to a second term. That means that the mayor who is elected this year will likely be in power when our industry-wide contract expires in 2026.

Given the high stakes, I have put a lot of thought into which candidate our Union should endorse for mayor. I conducted multiple, extensive conversations with the leading candidates, nailing down their positions on the most critical issues to our Union. I consulted the Local 6 and HTC Executive Boards, sought the opinions of our in-house political team and outside experts, and surveyed the members who attended our mayoral forums in December. There was an overwhelming consensus among all of these people that we should endorse Eric Adams.

I personally believe that Eric Adams is clearly the best candidate for hotel and gaming workers, and for our city. He has been a truly loyal and genuine friend to our Union for years. He has reliably backed every major policy and legislative initiative of our Union. Raised in South Jamaica, Queens by a single mother, who cleaned houses to support Adams and his five brothers and sisters, he is really the candidate of and for working class New Yorkers. I also think it’s important that a mayor have the experience to effectively govern our city, which is one of the hardest jobs in the country, and Eric Adams clearly does.

HTC President Rich Maroko speaks with Eric Adams at our Union's mayoral forums in December 2020.

Eric Adams is batting a thousand on the major issues facing our Union

Economic Recovery: The next mayor of New York will have a huge say in how the city’s economy reopens after the pandemic. Eric Adams is committed to making sure that the recovery is not only good for business, but that above all, it is safe and fair to workers.

At our mayoral forum in December, Eric Adams spoke at length about the need to repair the economic devastation that the pandemic has caused to business in our city. However, he also emphasized that “under an Eric Adams Administration as mayor, we are going to protect workers.” He stressed that he would not permit employers to exploit the pandemic to eliminate the “hard fought” gains of labor or “to use it as an excuse to get out of existing commitments to workers” or “to force fewer workers to do more work for the same pay.”

Adams understands the vital need to bring tourism back to New York and his plans to do so include increasing public safety, developing smart COVID-19 protocols across the city, and passing measures to support the struggling hotel industry. He was a vocal proponent of hotel workers receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. Adams also voiced support for city council legislation last year which offered job protections for workers at hotels undergoing changes in ownership.

Responsible hotel development: Even after we recover from the pandemic, Adams will continue to be an ally in our efforts to prevent irresponsible hotel development. He supports expanding special permits city-wide and he recently endorsed plans to convert bad hotels in the outer boroughs into affordable housing, pointing out that many of the hotels in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx are “non-union”, “low paid”, and provide “bad conditions for employees.”

Fighting back against illegal hotels: From the start, Adams has steadfastly backed every one of our efforts to regulate companies like Airbnb in order to stop the spread of illegal hotels and he has committed to fund the enforcement of those laws.

Supporting union actions: Based on his track record, we can count on his support our Union’s future strikes, picket lines, and boycotts. His support in this area is very important given that whoever wins the mayoral election will likely be elected to a second term and in power when our industry-wide contract expires in 2026.

Eric Adams will help working class New Yorkers

Politicians make a lot of promises on the campaign trail, but then there are those people like Eric Adams who you can count on to actually make their ideas happen. Eric Adams has released detailed proposals for how he will fix the biggest problems confronting everyday New Yorkers.

Police reform: Eric Adams is the only candidate who has truly walked the walk on behalf of effective police reform. “This is my life’s work,” he told NPR in June, and that is true. He chose to become a New York City police officer because he and his brother had been brutally beaten by police when he was 15 years old. He had the courage to be an activist within the police department speaking out against racial profiling and stop-and-frisk and he co-founded 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care. His plans for reforming the police (increasing civilian patrols, de-escalation training for cops, protecting police officers who report misconduct, and making police precinct commanders accountable to the community) are concrete and based on practical experience. Furthermore, Adams is the candidate most likely to make police reform more than a campaign promise.

Public education: Adams stresses the urgent need to improve remote learning, which has disproportionately failed lower income families. He also wants to provide childcare to every parent who can’t afford it, increase job-training programs, and prioritize investment in poorly performing school districts.

Public transit: If elected, Eric Adams plans to extend the reduced fair metro card, create more bus routes, invest in electric buses, and expand public transit into “transit deserts”.

Expanding immigrant’s rights: Adams has promised to sign legislation that would give nearly one million lawfully permanent residents and other non-citizens (and many of our members) the right to vote in New York City’s elections.

Make it easier to live in New York City: Adams wants to convert hotels in the outer-boroughs into affordable housing, a plan that would both address the city’s housing needs and eliminate the glut of low quality hotels. He wants to make it easier to apply for rent relief, sell the air rights on NYCHA properties to make desperately needed repairs, and force NYCHA to be more transparent.

Sustainability: If elected, Adams would address our climate crisis by getting the city to meet its goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, generating renewable more energy, and training New York City’s public school students for green energy jobs.

This time, every one of us needs to help elect Eric Adams

With the genuine sincerity that marks him, at our mayoral forum in December, Eric said “Let’s be frank, I know how powerful your endorsement is and what a game changer it is for any candidate.” We want politicians to respect us and to understand why supporting us is in their interests, but when you have the opportunity to also endorse someone who has been a true friend, through thick and thin, that’s the best. This is one of the unusual things that makes it such a pleasure to endorse Eric, because when he supports us, he does it because his heart is in it.

What’s happened to us over the last year has to show our members how important our political power is and we will be counting on all of you to help us get Eric Adams elected in June.

In Solidarity,

HTC President Rich Maroko