ALBANY, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — On Monday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo delivered a message to laborers in New York State.
Happy Labor Day. And it’s a pleasure to be with my brothers and sisters of the labor movement once again. Of course, we would have all liked to be together in person on this great day, but we are still together in the spirit of solidarity, and we always are. I want to congratulate Mario Cilento and Vinny Alvarez for the great job they do, and for all the women and men who dedicate themselves to keeping the labor movement strong. We need it now more than ever.
We should start by taking a moment to celebrate the historic work that we have done together in New York. We are fulfilling our destiny of making the labor movement the nation’s vehicle for progressive change and for social justice. We’ve led the nation in raising the minimum wage, the best paid family leave program, protecting public sector service workers after the Janus decisions, protecting farm workers, and all workers’ rights to organize.
But we have something else to celebrate today. This nation has been at war, the war fighting COVID. New York State was the place where COVID ambushed this nation, and New York State will go down in the history books as the place that beat back COVID. And when they write those history books, the heroes of the battle will be the hardworking families of New York. It’s the hardworking families that we now call the essential workers. They had to show up every day so that everyone else could stay home and be safe.
The heroes of the COVID war are not the elite. They’re not the most well off. The heroes were the hardworking, talented, and principled women and men of labor. They showed up every day and they put their lives at risk to protect others. The heroes are the transportation workers who kept the busses and trains moving. The police, the firefighters, the teachers, the postal workers, the food service workers, everyone who kept society functioning and stable. The public employees. They are the heroes of the COVID battle. But in my book, they have always been the heroes because they have always been essential to building this nation, and making New York New York, and making America America.
So today, it is my honor to celebrate organized labor, the essential workforce of this nation, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Thank you, and God bless you.