Today, the New York State AFL-CIO launched a new campaign to change the public policy debate in our state from one that is driven by corporations and billionaires to one that works for hardworking New Yorkers. The project – “makingNYwork,” is a comprehensive statewide initiative that will incorporate digital strategy and boots on the ground grassroots organizing. The campaign is kicking off with the release of a new website – www.makingnywork.org, as well as a new web video – www.makingnywork.org/pledge, which discusses economic development, jobs, and tax policy from the perspective of hardworking New Yorkers.
Mario Cilento, President of the New York State AFL-CIO, said, “For far too long, working men and women have been forced to play defense just to protect a basic standard of living in our state. They’ve had to defend wages, benefits, and conditions of employment. The result has been prolonged unemployment and underemployment, worsening income equality and shocking levels of poverty, which are scourges in our communities. Enough is enough. The only way this will change is if we start a proactive conversation based on the needs of everyday New Yorkers who are working harder and harder but falling further and further behind.”
The new website features working men and women from different sectors of the economy and from all across the state asking their fellow New Yorkers to join them in the fight to: (1.) Develop Strong, Long Term Industries with Family Sustaining Jobs; (2.) Invest in Public Services; (3.) Lift low wage workers out of poverty; (4.) Strengthen Supports for Working Families – on and off the job; and (5.) Empower Working Men and Women.
In addition, the new web video points out that the state and local governments give away $7 billion to businesses every year, some through programs such as Industrial Development Agencies, many of which do not provide adequate transparency, accountability, or standards to ensure that we are creating good, sustainable jobs, not poverty jobs. The video also focuses on the obvious but often overlooked link between taxes and the delivery of critical services, such as: education; roads, bridges, and mass transit infrastructure; police, fire, and sanitation; and public health care and care for the disabled, just to name a few.
“Tax breaks alone are not an economic development policy,” added Cilento. “We need to invest in New Yorkers and the services they rely on, and create new ladders to the middle class. New Yorkers don’t want a handout; they just want a chance to succeed. That’s how we make New York work for hardworking New Yorkers.”
Over the coming weeks and months, the makingNYwork campaign will build grassroots momentum through town hall meetings, door-to-door canvassing, and phone banks to educate union members and the general public about the campaign, and enlist their support for this legislative session and beyond.