Queens Borough President Melinda Katz might have been fighting a cold on Sunday but she toughed it out to accept an endorsement by Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz while on the steps of Corona Plaza.
“I am here to endorse Melinda Katz for district attorney,” said Díaz on April 28 to cheers from nearly 100 union workers. “I see her work as the borough president understanding that when you look at the district attorney’s office, yes we need justice, yes we need somebody who is firm someone who is firm, and fair and fearless, but we also need somebody with compassion.”
Díaz said he also supported Katz because she “understands the diversity that is in Queens and the complexity of the different communities” and “that is the reason why she is the best person for Queens District Attorney.”
Before she thanked Díaz and the union workers who were at the event, she was bestowed an honorary sash by Oswaldo Guzmán, president of the Ecuadorian Civic Committee of New York and asked to march in the annual Ecuadorian Parade, which is on Aug. 4.
“I love Rubén Díaz Jr., he has been standing up for people of color, equal rights and criminal justice reform for decades now,” said Katz. “I want to thank 32BJ, you make this city run and you keep our buildings running every single day, and if 32BJ keeps our buildings running LiUNA 78 builds those buildings.”
Johann Garcia, the business manager of LiUNA Local 78, a union that represents approximately 40,000 people in the construction industry, was proud to support Katz.
“Every time we ask her for something she helps us out,” said Garcia. “We are looking for help with the unscrupulous contractors out there who are avoiding paying the workers’ compensation and ignoring the workers’ rights.”
LiUNA Local 78 has a headquarters in Long Island City and represents throughout the five boroughs, L.I. and New Jersey, according to Garcia.
“We have about 65 percent of our membership living in Queens,” said Garcia, who grew up in Astoria. “A majority of our members are Latin Americans from Ecuador, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Argentina and we also represent a lot of Eastern Europeans.”
Patricia Floril, a Flushing resident who works as a maintenance worker and has representation from the service worker union 32BJ SEIU, is also excited about Katz.
“Melinda is going to be the best one for Queens,” said Floril. “32BJ supports her and she is going to support us as workers.”
Katz also has endorsements from The New York City Uniformed EMT’s Paramedics & Fire Inspectors AFSCME Local 2507, the Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York, the New York State Laborers, and the Mason Tenders. She also has endorsements from the New York Hotel Trades Council, CWA Local 1180, IUEC Local One, IUOE Local 15 and Teamsters Local 237.
“We live in a borough where there are many individuals who feel like they can’t come forward to report wage theft and I think it’s important for me to stand up for those individuals,” said Katz. “There has to be a way where anyone can report abuse, anyone can report a theft and anyone can report a worksite that is not safe whether they are documented or undocumented. I want to make sure that doesn’t happen in Queens.”