First Labor Endorsements for Any Candidate in 2021 Go to Ben Kallos
New York, NY – Today, Ben Kallos was the first candidate to receive any labor endorsements in a race for 2021, receiving seven endorsement from major labor organization as he runs to be the next Manhattan Borough President succeeding Gale Brewer who is term-limited.
“I am proud to have the support of our nurses, construction workers, civil servants, telecommunications and utility workers, who do the work that makes our city great,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “We must support our working families in government, healthcare, at public utilities, and in the private sector, for a better borough.”
Kallos a union-side labor lawyer who once represented the Mason Tenders District Council announced his candidacy for Manhattan Borough President with the support of the following brothers and sisters in organized labor with tens of thousands of members throughout the city and the borough of Manhattan (alphabetical order):
- Communications Workers of America Local 1101
- Heat and Frost Insulators Local 12
- New York Professional Nurses Union
- Organization of Staff Analysts (OSA)
- Steamfitters Local 638
- Sheet Metal Workers Local 28
- Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2
Ben Kallos, is a Democrat and Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus who has distinguished in his unwavering support for working families who have organized into labor unions. As a legislator, Kallos authored the law to count every injury and life lost on a construction site with steep fines for disreputable contractors that would hide injuries on the job (Local Law 78 of 2017). He was also a co-prime sponsor of laws to require site safety supervisors and safety training on construction sites. Kallos has also carried legislation to require prevailing wage, training, and apprenticeship on city-subsidized construction projects as well as to offer private sector workers to an auto-IRA retirement savings plan.
As Chair of the Land Use Subcommittee on Planning, Dispositions, and Concession, Kallos “used his position to grill developers and city officials over deals that had been struck by the de Blasio administration ... like courtroom dramas — grilling housing agency officials and other applicants for details on financing, affordability levels and benefits awarded to workers on a given site and chastising them when they couldn’t provide answers...” according to Politico.
Council Member Kallos has joined organized labor at countless rallies in support of living wages, benefits, and better working conditions in the private and public sector.
“Understanding technology is a must and Council Member Ben Kallos actually laid cable supporting telecommunications infrastructure for tens of thousands of users on the SUNY Albany campus. Ben Kallos has never been afraid to stand up to anyone and do the work to win. Kallos made sure he joined us at every opportunity in support of our contract negotiations with Verizon on behalf of workers and customers including rallies, calling the CEO personally, and even holding them accountable at the Public Service Commission. As the next Manhattan Borough President with a vote on the Franchise and Concession Review Committee he will be a strong voice for our workers and consumer protection,” said Keith Purce, President of Communications Workers of America Local 1101.
“Saving our planet has always been a priority for Council Member Ben Kallos who understands the importance of energy efficiency in buildings. Heat and Frost insulation pays for itself in a matter of years, then keeps giving, which is why as a Chair of the Committee on Governmental Operations Ben Kallos focused on hundreds of millions in municipal building retrofits to save tax payers’ money and the planet. As Co-Chair of the Progressive Caucus, he backed the first of its kind green buildings law for the private sector. We need Ben Kallos as the next Manhattan Borough President to make sure our city’s biggest polluters – our buildings – reduce the carbon footprint for cleaner air and to save our planet,” said John Jovic, Business Manager and Financial Secretary, for Heat and Frost Insulators Local 12.
"The health and welfare of patients in our NYC hospitals is better served with safe staffing of nurses, something Council Member Ben Kallos has fought for and helped us win at Lenox Hill Hospital. For the last six years, Ben has stood with us at informational events, advocating directly with executives or in the media, and has been there for our members for two successful contract negotiations. Anyone who may one day be a patient at a hospital in Manhattan will be well served to have Ben Kallos as the next Borough President fighting for safe staffing and positive patient outcomes," said President Kathleen Flynn, RN, Esq. of the New York Professional Nurses Union (NYPNU).
“Ben Kallos has been a dramatic and effective member of the City Council. His energy and courage stand out and we are very pleased with his responsiveness and hard work,” said Robert Croghan, Chairperson and President of the Organization of Staff Analysts (OSA), whose leadership has endorsed Kallos.
“Real Estate Developers took billions in public dollars for affordable housing, and many have not lived up to their promises. When I discovered this, Ben Kallos was there to listen and protect my whistle blower status. He authored the law that I recommended to force landlords to register each and every unit of affordable housing to help end the crisis,” said Stephen Werner, from the Executive Board of the Organization of Staff Analysts (OSA), an analyst and whistleblower at Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) with whom Kallos worked alongside ProPublica to expose as many as 200,000 units of affordable housing that had gone unregistered and pass Local Law 64 to force their registration and offering to low-income New Yorkers.
“A man of his word, when we questioned why city dollars were going to subsidize poverty wages on construction sites, Council Member Ben Kallos immediately began working with us on legislation supporting fair wages and benefits for construction workers throughout our city. We’ve been proud to march with him shoulder to shoulder and hope to continue to do so as our next Borough President,” said Sal Starace, Financial Secretary-Treasurer and Recording Secretary for Sheet Metal Workers Local 28.
“Construction is safest when workers have the benefit of modern training facilities, certifications, on the job training, and wages that recognize their expertise, these are facts Ben Kallos already knew when he toured our training hall. As a Council Member Ben Kallos has fought for training, apprenticeship, and prevailing wage on publicly funded projects through laws he’s co-sponsored, legislation he has authored, and a project by project basis. Kallos authored the law to count every life on a construction, creating fines for disreputable contractors that would hide injuries on the job. As the next Manhattan Borough President Ben Kallos will continue Gale Brewer’s construction safety working group and fight for our city’s working families,” said Patrick Dolan, Jr. President of Steamfitters Local 638.
“Keeping the lights on is a 24-hour 7 day a week job for our utility workers which is something Council Member Ben Kallos has always understood. As a candidate he joined us at daily protests in front of the home of the CEO who made million off the backs of consumers as he locked workers out of their jobs for nearly a month. As a Council Member, Ben Kallos has always been there for us and we need him as the next Manhattan Borough President fighting ConEd to protect workers and consumers,” said James Shillitto, President, Utility Workers Union of America Local 1-2.
A graduate of the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School he first used his law degree to as a union-side labor lawyer at Gorlick, Kravitz and Listhaus. The firm worked with international unions to remove local leadership with criminal affiliations, negotiated collective bargaining agreements, and recovered health and retirement benefits from employers who would steal from their workers. As an Associate he worked on the Delphi Bankruptcy, a spin-off of General Motors and the largest bankruptcy in the domestic auto industry at the time, where Delphi was seeking to reduce wages and end health insurance and retirement benefits for current and retired workers.
“I saw first hand that something was wrong with our country when the laws helped big corporations get out of paying their workers a retirement they spent their lives working for only to pay executives who ran the same company into the ground in a matter of years millions. I got into government to fight for workers from the inside. I realized that it was only as an elected official that could I stand with my brother and sisters to hold those with money and power accountable to the workers and residents of our great city,” concluded Council Member Ben Kallos.