Elections: Union Action Makes Difference in Key Races

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Tony Avella addressing labor supporters at a campaign breakfast

Grassroots action by the PSC and other unions helped elect a number of pro-union, pro-CUNY candidates in a year when Republicans racked up electoral gains with calls for cuts in public spending.

“I believe in movement politics,” said Attorney General-elect Eric Schneiderman. “This was a campaign of activists – and boy, did we show what activists can do.” Schneiderman’s 55%-44% victory came with strong backing from the PSC and other unions, tenant organizations and groups dedicated to equal rights for all. Comptroller Tom DiNapoli won by 50%-47% with a campaign that hit hard at his main opponent’s cozy relationship with Wall Street. Get-out-the-vote organizing by unions was a big reason that candidates hostile to public workers lost both races.

Efforts by the PSC and other unions also made the difference in a State Senate upset in Queens, where Tony Avella, a strong advocate for public education, defeated anti-immigrant State Sen. Frank Padavan.