Labor leaders and the politicians who court them marched up Fifth Avenue today, leading the Labor Day Parade. Virtually all senior members of New York City’s organized labor movement attended, including Mario Cilento (president of the NYS AFL-CIO), Gary LaBarbera (president of the Buildings & Trades Council), Vinnie Alvarez (president of the NYC Central Labor Council), Mike Mulgrew (president of the United Federation of Teachers), Randi Weingarten (president of the American Federation of Teachers), George Miranda (president of Teamsters Joint Council 16), Stuart Appelbaum (president of RWDSU), George Gresham (president of 1199) and Grand Marshall Edgar Romney of Workers Unite. Politicians marching included Governor Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio. Republican/Conservative mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis also made a brief appearance.
Congressman Charles B. Rangel hosted a “flash mob” outside the Harlem Shake restaurant on Lenox Avenue Saturday afternoon. Headed into the campaign’s final 72 hours, he was joined by George Gresham, president of 1199SEIU, Public Advocate Tish James, Council Member Inez Dickens, former rival and former assembly member Adam Clayton Powell IV.
1199SEIU, with it’s president George Gresham, is a major political force. Among it’s victories is it’s mayoral campaign-saving endorsement of Bill de Blasio, and it’s endorsed Charles Rangel in the 13th Congressional District primary. We spoke with George Gresham at the Harlem Shake. I began by asking him about 1199’s plans for primary day:
Here’s an excerpt from Rangel’s remarks. He meanders for a bit, discussing El Barrio and his own experience and good fortune, but doesn’t mention his primary opponents:
1199SEIU held a rally this week to push for the continuing operation of St. John’s Hospital in Far Rockaway. St. John’s is the sole hospital on the Rockaway peninsula, Peninsula Hospital having closed last year.
We’ll start our coverage with a brief clip of Dante de Blasio speaking at the rally. (We’re unclear on why the MC referred to him as Jonathan … but we think it’s Dante.)