For more photos from the event, go HERE.
The steps of the New York State Capitol were transformed into a sea of orange as hundreds of Laborers, proudly donning orange shirts in unison, organized over the need to change the controversial tax abatement program 421a, which is set to expire next month.
The tax abatement program has become a profit model, allowing huge tax breaks for prominent developers and ignoring the necessity for prevailing wage requirements. The impending deadline of the program proposes an opportunity to make things right – to require public responsibility for public subsidies.
Labor officials and state politicians, along with hundreds of building trades workers, joined the call to action, which amounted to a massive voice for change that echoed through the streets of Albany. The message was loud and clear: Fix 421a Now!
Speakers at the event included Assembly Housing Chair Keith Wright; Assemblyman Richard Gottfried; Assemblyman Walter Mosley; James Cahill, president of the New York State Building and Construction Trades Council; Gary LaBarbera, president of the Building and Construction Trades Council in New York City; and Mike Hellstrom, Local 108 Business Manager and executive board member of the Mason Tenders District Council. Local Unions 78, 79 and 190 were on hand to show support as well.
The New York State Organizing Fund also played a large role in the event by supporting the local unions with refreshments as well as providing their mobile messaging truck where the L.C.D. screen played ads from the UP4NYC coalition.