Constantinides pins campaign on union support and green jobs

With the special election for the Queens Borough President Office in the horizon, Councilman Costa Constantinides (D-Astoria) has released a four-point Worker’s Rights Labor Plan on Monday.

The sweeping reforms proposed by Constantinides focuses on real estate development, workplace mistreatment, a four-day workweek and creating green jobs, according to the councilman’s campaign team.

“The new, green economy we’re building here in Queens should be done with union labor — no matter the profession,” said Constantinides, a Democratic candidate.

The first part of his plan would ensure that any major development that occurs in Queens is labor-friendly.

“Skilled trades bring incomparable quality, safety, and fairness to building in New York City, and it’s something we must be committed to saving in Queens,” said his campaign team.

Since announcing his candidacy to run for borough president, Constantinides was endorsed by labor unions UFCW Local 1500 and IUOE Local 94, and last year he introduced a resolution to support the #CountMeIn movement, which is against big real estate using nonunion labor for development projects.

Constantinides would like to use the borough president’s office to request legislation that would sponsor a bill to create a city entity dedicated to tackling workplace mistreatment for city employees and civil servants, such as harassment or misdeed, according to his campaign team. The body would also offer information on protections and resources on how to file about misconduct at the workplace.

Another initiative that the councilman would like to champion if elected, would be a commission to study the positive impacts of a four-day workweek, which is a policy that has had momentum in countries outside the U.S. and an impact on the environment, according to his team.

“Microsoft Japan saw a 40 percent productivity increase this summer by switching to a four-day workweek,” said his campaign team. “By having employees take off Fridays, the company says it printed 60 percent fewer pages this August and experienced a 23 percent drop in energy consumption. Proponents of the structure believe a four-day workweek leads to happier, well-adjusted employees who are less likely to be stressed or burned out.”

Constantinides, chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection, wants to also create 50,000 green jobs in the World’s Borough. He wants the effort to aid in combatting climate change while creating carbon-efficient jobs that support renewable energy consumption and the Queens’ resiliency plans.

If elected, Constantinides said he is committed to creating those jobs by 2030 and that the work should be done by unions, and he hopes to create a high school-to-union pipeline by expanding career and technical education programs in the borough.

“Queens has long led been a leader in the labor movement. We must continue that into the 21st Century by setting a strong example for the rest of the New York City,” said Constantinides.

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