New York unions demonstrate the power of informed voters

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Late last month, a victorious Tom Suozzi was sworn back into Congress after winning the special election to fill the seat left open by expelled Republican Rep. George Santos. Suozzi defeated Republican nominee Mazi Pilip by nearly eight points on election night. His win chips away at the Republican majority, with Congress currently composed of 219 Republicans and 213 Democrats. 

Suozzi’s win was aided by the efforts of New York City unions who dedicated time and effort to help Suozzi secure victory. New York City union members made over 50,000 calls and knocked on nearly 10,000 doors in Queens alone, in a member-to-member campaign that saw action by 86 different New York City Central Labor Council (NYC CLC) local union affiliates.

The NYC CLC is the nation’s largest regional labor federation, uniting 300 local unions from every trade and occupation of public, private, and construction sectors of New York’s economy. 

“Union members in Queens know that Tom has been a champion for working families throughout his entire career in public service, including during his time spearheading the House Labor Caucus. We know that we can count on Tom to continue fighting for policies that help all workers and supporting organized labor as the most effective means of building a strong middle class.” NYC CLC President Vincent Alvarez said in a statement following Suozzi’s win. 

“We also extend our thanks to the hundreds of New York City union members who helped us get out the vote. Electing Tom Suozzi back to Congress isn’t just a victory for residents of the Third Congressional District, but the entire New York City Labor Movement.” NYC CLC President Vincent Alvarez added, highlighting the importance of the effort of union members engaging in the get out the vote campaign efforts. 

Unions in New York and across the nation play an important role in local, state and federal elections. In 2023, NYC CLC endorsed candidates won in 96% of their races. Labor endorsed ballot proposals ​​to remove a debt limit for small city school districts and to extend a debt limit exemption to allow cities and towns to build new sewage facilities also both succeeded.

Union backed candidates in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Virginia, Ohio and many other states also took home historic wins. Thousands of union volunteers in communities across the country worked to educate and inform their members about pro-worker candidates and also garner support for policies and initiatives that would have a positive impact. 

Get Out the Vote campaigns encourage union members to vote in every election and to encourage family members to do the same. This effort correlates with the countless wins of union backed candidates across New York and the country. 

As the 2024 election draws near, unions have begun to endorse candidates and engage in conversations with fellow union members about candidates in the upcoming election. These efforts, which will continue to grow as the New York primary election comes into view, strive to maintain engagement of union members in important elections on the local, state and federal levels.