Unions and Tenants Unite To Combat Housing Crisis

Volume CI, No. 5May, 2001

The New York State Tenants and Neighbors Coalition, a 26-year-old statewide organization of 15,000 individual tenants and 200 member organizations, and representatives of more than 20 unions, met in the 802 Club Room on March 8 to begin discussions on how labor and tenant advocacy groups can fight the housing crisis together.

The meeting was chaired by Judy West, the recently retired Legislative Director for Local 802 and a longtime leader of both Tenants & Neighbors and the Park West Village Tenants’ Association. 802 President Bill Moriarity gave the opening remarks, speaking about the urgency of a labor and tenant alliance in light of the most recent attacks on tenants’ rights.

Some of the concerns addressed at the meeting were the shrinking supply of affordable housing and the threats to rent control, rent stabilization and public housing. Michael McKee, outlining Tenants and Neighbors’ legislative agenda, spoke of the steps that should be taken to preserve and expand affordable housing in the city. New York State AFL-CIO Research Director Joseph Jamison spoke of the AFL-CIO’s plan to spearhead the construction of new affordable apartments.

Among the labor unions in attendance were the New York State AFL-CIO, New York City Central Labor Council, Actors’ Equity Association, Local 802, AFSCME District Council 37, Communication Workers of America Local 1180, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees locals 52 and 751, Painters District Council 9, Teamsters Local 584, Screen Actors’ Guild, Service Employees International Union Local 32B-32J, Transport Workers’ Union Local 100 and UNITE Local 23-25.