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Unions praise Democrats' plan to take over NY Senate

ALBANY _ Some unions that could benefit from additional state spending and progressive legislation under a Senate controlled by Democrats praised Wednesday’s announcement that could lead to Democratic control of the chamber.

The 32BJ Service Employees International Union with 80,000 members said the change would “advance a statewide agenda for working families and their communities.”

“Together we are committed to providing educational opportunities for immigrants, lifting wages for workers, and promoting gender equality through the law, and look forward to building an even stronger political mandate for working families in November,” union president Hector Figueroa said.

The Senate’s five-member Independent Democratic Conference announced Wednesday that it would leave its bipartisan coalition with Republicans next year. The IDC said it would then align with Democrats to form a new coalition while remaining an independent conference.

Republicans would need to win at least three seats held by Democrats to win their own majority and block the Democrats’ plan.

Peter Ward, president of the New York Hotel & Motel Trades Council, said the Democratic majority coalition would “pass legislation that improves the lives of our members and all working families throughout the state.”

Both were among the unions that joined in the May 31 commitment with the Working Families Party, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to flip control of the Senate. Republicans had long blocked spending measures and sought tax breaks for businesses, which were opposed by the unions.

The unions support higher wages and progressive legislation.

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