New York City Council member Elizabeth Crowley (D-30th District) immediately put her cards on the table on meeting with Build Up New York City Brigaders.
“I am a proud member of DC 9, the Painters’ Union,” she declared, talking about work she did as a union worker around the city, including at Radio Music Hall. “It was a wonderful experience. I loved working in the trades.”
The occasion was a get-together between Building Trades workers who last year participated in BUNYC’s first brigade. The brigaders helped Build Up New York City and coalition partners win a huge victory for the Brooklyn Heights Community. Their efforts helped reshape the redevelopment of the Brooklyn Heights Public Library into a great project for Brooklyn. The project will help keep Brooklyn affordable for families, improve options for schools, increase library space and provide good jobs for Brooklynites.
The brigaders who met with Crowley are: Ironworker John Cavanagh; Heat and Frost Insulator Marquisha Page; Vanessa Roberson of the Painters’ Union; Security Officer Yvette Cumberbatch; Plumber Michael Smith; and Laborer Vivia Morgan. They discussed union standards, labor needs and having the voices of workers in government.
Crowley applauded their efforts and tied it to her background in the labor movement, encouraging them to find ways to serve the public, including running for public office, like she did. The lessons she learned as union member influence her work as a councilmember to this day, she said.
“What’s good for workers is good for the community,” she said. “I wouldn’t have been able to run and I wouldn’t have been able to be successful if I had not been a union member, if I had not been involved in the trades.”
Page thanked Crowley for telling them her story.
“It’s very impressive and encouraging to hear women’s stories and the adversities that they went through and how far they’ve come,” Page said. “It’s important to me because, as a woman, it gives me encouragement and it makes me feel that there is hope that things will be better. I love to listen to people like that and hear their stories.”