New York City is a place where individuals from every corner of the Earth come to live out their dreams and build better lives. That diversity is our city’s greatest strength. It is critical that our leaders in city government reflect what is best about New York City, not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it is essential to ensuring the fears, hopes, dreams, and problems of all New Yorkers are heard and understood by those with power.
Born into a Cuban and Puerto-Rican family and elected as the first Latino Vice President of the 20,000-member strong New York City Carpenters Union, I believe it is vital we fill the vacuum of high-ranking Latino leaders in city government by choosing City Councilman Francisco Moya as the next Speaker of the New York City Council.
As a Latino leader of a union, I know how important it is to elevate all voices to leadership roles.
I started my career in the NYC Carpenters Union as a member of Local 157, the largest local union in the country, which covers parts of the Bronx and Manhattan. One of my major priorities was, and still is, protecting hundreds of non-union workers who are from Latino and Hispanic communities by organizing them into the union where they can begin building safe and stable careers for themselves. That includes good jobs with great pay and benefits.
The brothers and sisters I organized was able to do a 180-turn in life and live the American Dream that people from around the world come to NYC for. Rather than continuing to work on dangerous non-union construction sites where their diversity wasn’t valued and they were paid subpar wages with no benefits, they sought out a more rewarding path.
I speak from experience. Before I joined the union, I had a long career as nonunion construction employee. I didn’t understand how transformative a union job could be for me. I also didn’t see someone who looked like me rising up in the ranks either. I couldn’t have been more wrong. After 15 years as a rank-and-file member building up our iconic skyline, I played an integral role in the creation of a new local for the next generation of concrete workers – Local 212. Before long, I was elected president and I have continued to excel.
With close to 20 years of experience in this industry, I have seen firsthand the struggles of minorities in nonunion construction. It is more important than ever to ensure that we create more opportunities for our Latino brothers and sisters. That is my primary focus now that I am serving as Vice President of the NYC District Council of Carpenters. It’s with this experience that I will help to uplift Latino and Hispanic workers and leaders, just as I have been uplifted myself.
For years, Francisco Moya has served in the City Council representing the 21st district in Queens—which is comprised of Corona, Jackson Heights, and East Elmhurst—one of the most diverse parts of our city. He has shown experience and grit, standing up to special interests in his time in the City Council, as well as his time in the New York State Assembly. As a native New Yorker, he understands what our communities need.
With Moya as Speaker, Latino New Yorkers will know that Mayor Eric Adams has a strong partner protecting them and their children, while creating a more just and equitable New York City.
Moya is the perfect person at the perfect time for the job. He represents what is best about New York City and the values that we uphold in the union, not just for our Latino and Hispanic members, but for everyone.
I am proud that my union endorsed him for New York City Council Speaker, and I look forward to working with him to ensure that we continue to foster viable pathways for Latino and Hispanic brothers and sisters to climb, lead, and prosper.
That is the New York dream, and the American dream.
David Caraballoso, Vice President of the New York City District Council of Carpenters