Much is being written about how “progressive” Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio and his ally, gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, are. But somehow, giving workers pay raises that put them ahead of inflation to make up for all they’ve lost is not on any of these progressives' agenda.

I never voted for Cuomo for Governor because when running in 2010, he pledged to be tough on unionized state workers. He ultimately used the threat of lay-offs to balance the budget on the backs of state workers making less than $15 an hour. The New York State Public Employees’ Federation contract of 2011 gave these workers zeros for the first three years and two-percent raises the next two years.

All of de Blasio’s city contracts included “raises” that did not keep up with inflation. Under President Barack Obama, Federal workers and Social Security recipients got freezes during some years of his administration.

When you consider that Republicans are no friends of workers either, is it any wonder that voters are fleeing both parties?

Our Mayor thinks that when Firefighters’ absentee rate rises above 7.5 percent, that’s reason to reduce 10 engine companies from five Firefighters to four. Just what is the logic of that? With such petty attacks on workers doing a heroic job from a Democratic Mayor, who needs Republicans?

While city workers’ salaries have lagged behind inflation, the median rent has gone from $395 a month in 1987 to $1,450 a month today, according to Robert Neuwirth’s commentary in the March 25 Daily News.

Nationwide, you realize things aren’t good for workers when the West Virginia Teachers’ strike is considered a great victory. They successfully fought against givebacks, but the five-percent raise they’re getting doesn’t make up for four years of no raises at all.

When union leaders are asked why they don’t get behind candidates who are stronger for them, they express fear of reprisals from the likes of Cuomo and de Blasio.

This reminds me of what one man tells Michael Moore in “Sicko.” He said, “The difference between Europe and America is that in France the government fears the people, but in the United States the people fear the government.” Unless this changes, poverty wages will be the norm.


Retired transit worker


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