June 14, 2021 By Christina Santucci
Councilmember Jimmy Van Bramer picked up several endorsements in his bid to become borough president from workers advocacy organizations – ahead of the start of Early Voting this past weekend.
The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU); Make the Road Action; and New York Communities for Change all said Friday that they are backing Van Bramer for the seat.
Make the Road Action is the political arm of immigrant advocacy organization Make the Road New York. New York Communities for Change is an economic justice group that seeks to “challenge capital and oppressive economic systems.”
The organizations said they supported Van Bramer’s rejection of real estate contributions and his vocal opposition to Amazon’s now-scrapped plan to build one of its headquarters in western Queens.
“Queens thrives when we have a workers’ rights leader in Borough Hall and that’s Jimmy Van Bramer. Jimmy was raised by labor parents, and fought alongside us in the Amazon HQ2 fight to demand that Amazon treat its workers better and for unionized good-paying jobs,” Stuart Appelbaum, RWDSU president, said in a statement.
Amazon cancelled its plan to build a campus in Long Island City in February 2019, citing steadfast opposition from local politicians. Van Bramer, along with state Sen. Michael Gianaris, had been a central voice against the proposal.
“Jimmy Van Bramer fought against Amazon because he knew it was a bad deal for immigrant workers in Queens, standing up instead for real, good paying jobs. He took on the richest corporation in the world, and as Borough President, we know he’ll fight for the local businesses and good jobs that working families need,” a spokesperson for Make the Road Action said in a statement.
Van Bramer called the groups supporting him a “powerhouse trio of workers rights organizations.”
“We were on the frontlines fighting back against a multi-billion dollar tax giveaway to the wealthiest, most anti-worker corporation in the world – right here in Queens – and together we won with and for workers.” he said in a statement. “I’ve spent my life defending working families like the one I came from, and I’ll always put them first.”
The council member was also endorsed Friday by Christian Smalls, a former Amazon worker who is seeking to unionize four of the company’s facilities in Staten Island.
Van Bramer is running against former Councilmember Elizabeth Crowley and Queens Borough President Donovan Richards in the Democratic primary this month for the seat. Richards was elected to the role last year in a special election.
Early voting kicked off Saturday, and Primary Day is Tuesday, June 22.