ALBANY — In what was delivered like an early, fiery campaign speech, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo told labor leaders Monday how he, like his father before him, owes his place in the governor’s office to organized labor.
“You made Mario Cuomo the governor of the State of New York just on the backs of organized labor and I will never forget it,” said Cuomo, who had more than $19 million in his Cuomo 2018 account in July. He then credited labor for his win as attorney general in 2006 and his first term win for governor in 2010, “and I will never, ever, ever forget it.”
Then Cuomo promised that he would make sure construction jobs in his aggressive agenda of public projects all go to unionized workers: “Every job a union job. That’s what we’re going to do.”
Cuomo’s comments drew immediate criticism from the business community, which tries to counter labor’s influence and fundraising in elections for governor.
“New York State taxpayers have enough problems, like crumbling roads and bridges, and soaring taxes, without having to subsidize Cuomo’s political supporters, who would rather be handed the work than learn to compete within the confines of public bidding law and an open market,” said Josh Reap, director of government affairs for Associated Builders & Contractors, Empire State Chapter. “If they can’t compete fairly, taxpayers shouldn’t be left footing the bill for their poor decisions.”
The event on his official schedule was to “deliver remarks” at the convention of the state AFL-CIO in Manhattan. The official event was closed to the media, but Cuomo’s office provided audio of the speech.
Republicans Rob Astorino, the Westchester county executive; Mark Molinaro, the Dutchess County executive; and Carl Paladino, a Buffalo developer have said they are considering runs for governor in 2018.