It filled me with great pride yesterday to see so many of our AME brothers and sisters come out in opposition to IR 1661, a piece of legislation that would require all exempt employees, regardless of hire date, to pay 15% into health care. As a union, we are only as strong as those we represent, you, and our ability to demonstrate and mobilize our strength in numbers represents our organized economic and political power. Yesterday's turnout at the Legislature helped us demonstrate this ability to organize and enabled us to send a clear message to both the administration and the Legislature. We understand that if they come for the exempts today, they will be coming for us tomorrow; we understand that by its very nature this bill was intended to send labor a message, while intentionally attempting to undermine our ability to negotiate collectively in good faith. We understand this and we responded en masse. I thank you. I have included the Newsday article about yesterday's events at the legislature below.
While we were able to stay the vote on 1661, your executive board and I are continuing to represent your best interests in both our direct and ongoing negotiations with the County and our healthcare negotiations through SCOPE. We are working diligently and tirelessly to protect your benefits and I look forward to delivering you the contract you not only deserve but have earned. Suffolk County Works Because We Do.
As this month comes to a close and we look forward to the extended weekend ahead by either celebrating with friends and family, or joining our union brothers and sisters at the Ducks game, I ask that you take some time and reflect on why it is we have this holiday weekend and what the American labor movement, through its rich history, has provided all working men and women in this country. As stated by Samuel Gompers, founder of the American Federation of Labor:
"Labor day differs in every essential way from other holidays...all other holidays are connected with conflicts and battles of man's prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor Day is devoted to no man, living or dead, to no sect, race, or nation."
Labor Day is a time to recognize the achievements of the American workers; it is a time to recognize ourselves as working citizens and the contributions we-and those who came before us-have made toward ensuring the strength and prosperity of this great country.
I thank you for your hard work, support, and involvement and wish you a happy and safe Labor Day Weekend.