Majority of Council Members Approve Vote to Recognize Council Member Aide Titles



Twenty Eight Council Members Committed To Vote To Recognize Council Member Aides; 

NYC Council Union Positioned To Become The Largest Legislative Staff Union In The Nation

NEW YORK -- The New York City Council staff union, the Association for Legislative Employees (ALE), has won support from twenty eight Council Members for the recognition of Council Member Aides, the staffers who work directly for Council Members. By signing on to ALE’s letter of support, they pledge to vote in favor of authorizing Speaker Corey Johnson to voluntarily recognize roughly 400 Council Member Aides, the majority of whom have requested union recognition twice in the last 12 months. 


Upon recognition of Council Member Aides, ALE will become the largest legislative staff union in the country. 


Last month, Speaker Johnson voluntarily recognized two staff titles in the Council’s Finance Division, which made the City Council the first legislative body in New York State to have unionized employees. The backing of the majority of Council Members gives a mandate for Speaker Johnson to take steps to voluntarily recognize Council Member Aides. ALE will give Council staff an organized means to address issues regarding salaries, work hours, office reopenings, harassment, and grievance procedures.


In addition to the 28 Council Members who are backing Member Aides in their request for recognition, several New York City unions have signed on in support, including: Communications Workers of America, District 1; American Federation of Musicians Local 802; Service Employees International Union Local 1199; CUNY Professional Staff Congress; New York State Nurses Association; Office of the NYC Public Advocate Staff Union (Campaign Workers Guild); and United Auto Workers Local 4100 (Columbia Postdoctoral Workers). ALE is continuing to gather support from Council Members and labor unions.


“We are proud to announce the growing list of Council Members and unions who are supporting Member Aides’ request for union recognition. This will be a historic victory for legislative staff across the country. Council Member Aides have consistently been on the front lines, serving constituents in every neighborhood, and now helping their communities navigate the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s time to ensure that Aides can advocate for their own workplace protections. A union will help staffers secure the resources and support they need to do their jobs effectively,” said Sarah Crean, Council Member Aide and ALE Core Committee Member. 


“I have been a part of the union organizing efforts at the Council for over five years and I am proud to witness how close it is to finally becoming a reality. We look forward to working with the Speaker to push the recognition of Council Member Aides over the finish line. These staffers are dedicated public servants who deserve a voice. We hope to soon join the ranks of the thousands of other unionized municipal employees,” said M. Ndigo Washington, Council Member Aide and ALE Core Committee Member. 


“I am the proud son of a Teamster, and a lifelong supporter of labor. Today we have reached the point where a majority of my colleagues support unionizing. I look forward to working with the Association of Legislative Employees so that we can voluntarily recognize Council Member Aides,” said New York Council Speaker Corey Johnson.


“Councilmembers are nothing without staff. Strengthening staff strengthens the institution and our ability to collectively effectuate positive change for the communities we serve,” said Council Member Mark Treyger. 


“I’m proud to support the Association of Legislative Employees’ efforts to become a formally recognized union. This is a campaign that has been ongoing for several years. I urge my colleagues to support these efforts and vote to allow this process to move forward,” said Council Member Inez Barron.


“Democracy starts in the workplace and a legislature is no exception. I'm grateful for the extraordinarily hard work our staff do everyday to support New Yorkers -- during this pandemic, and during many other crises large and small -- and to build a better city. I'm proud to support their union organizing for representation and fairness from Day 1, and thrilled that a majority of my Council colleagues agree. Let's recognize them today,” said Council Member Brad Lander.


“CWA District 1 is proud to stand with City Council Member Aides! In working to pass new legislation to protect workers and strengthen our city, we must not forget that there are hundreds of staffers without whom the City Council simply would not be able to function. Every group of workers deserves the right to stand collectively and advocate for their working conditions, and we applaud the City Council Member Aides for taking this historic step,” said Dennis Trainor, Vice President Communications Workers of America, District 1. 


“The staff of the NYC Council have taken yet another great step forward. They deserve the respect that a collective bargaining agreement provides. The Council members are doing the right thing by respecting the right of workers to organize,” said Ed Ott, former Executive Director of the NYC Central Labor Council.

Voluntary Recognition of Finance Titles





NEW YORK -- In a historic first, the New York City Council has moved to voluntarily recognize two staff titles in its Finance Division which have requested union recognition. Recognition of these titles will make the City Council the first legislative body in New York State to have unionized employees. Staff will be represented by the newly formed Association of Legislative Employees (ALE). 


A majority of 400 additional staff members who serve City Council Members directly (Councilmanic Aides) have also requested voluntary union recognition. Upon recognition of both the Finance Division and Councilmanic Aide staff titles, ALE will become the largest union of legislative employees in the United States. 


“We thank the Speaker for working with us on this critically important first step,” said Monica Pepple, Legislative Financial Analyst and ALE Core Committee Member. “This is a victory for City Council staff and legislative employees across the country. We are proud to serve the people of New York City and join the ranks of other unionized City employees. The Council strives to create an equitable and just city for all New Yorkers; as employees, we also deserve an equitable and just working environment. We look forward to collaborating with the Speaker and the Council to ensure voluntary recognition for Councilmanic Aides next.”


Two civil service titles in the City Council’s Finance Division, “Legislative Financial Analyst” and “Senior Legislative Financial Analyst,” comprising 23 staff in total, are the first titles to receive voluntary recognition. Finance Division staff coordinate the Council’s work and oversight relative to New York City’s $92 billion municipal budget. An overwhelming majority of staff have signed cards requesting union recognition.


The recognition of the Finance Division titles follows a multi-year campaign to bring a staff union to the City Council. Staff have sought an organized means to address issues such as salaries, work hours, training and advancement, harassment, and grievance procedures. As staff face additional pressures during the pandemic, it is especially important that they have a collective voice which empowers them to advocate for their safety and well-being. 


On December 7th, the City Council filed a petition with the NYC Office of Collective Bargaining voluntarily recognizing ALE as the exclusive bargaining representative for the Finance staff titles. It is anticipated that the initial two-title bargaining unit will be certified by early January 2021. 


“Today is a historic day for the City Council and a down payment on establishing America’s largest legislative staff union. Like hundreds of thousands of other unionized municipal employees, City Council finance staff can now bring our collective voice to the table to improve wages and benefits, confront harassment, reduce turnover, and ultimately improve financial oversight of the City of New York. In turbulent times, the Speaker kept his word to staff who wanted to unionize, and we look forward to his support in recognizing the Councilmanic Aides who have been seeking recognition alongside us,” said Daniel Kroop, Senior Legislative Financial Analyst and ALE Core Committee Member.


The Speaker of the City Council, Corey Johnson, said, “As the proud son of a Teamster, I am a staunch supporter of labor and deeply appreciate the stability and benefits that unions provide to working families. I am told that it is rare to have a City governmental entity file a voluntary petition of recognition for employees seeking to unionize but I believe that it is important to practice what you preach, especially when it comes to workers’ rights. That’s why I am so proud to have filed this petition on behalf of our Central Staff Legislative and Senior Legislative Finance Analysts.”