Vote NO on the New York Constitutional Convention
Strong worker rights to protect your hard-earned paycheck and benefits are constantly under attack these days by special interest groups.
At the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters, we are working each and every day in the legislative halls of New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware to preserve and protect the rights of our nearly 40,000 men and women carpenters.
While there’s not a major U.S. Presidential or New York Gubernatorial election this year, it’s an extremely important year for voters in the State of New York, as the public will have the opportunity to vote on the opening of the New York State Constitution.
What’s At Stake for You
Every twenty years, New Yorkers have the opportunity to vote on the opening of the State Constitution. The last New York Constitutional Convention vote occurred in 1997 and an overwhelming number of New Yorkers (62%) voted No on re-opening the Constitution. The last time, New Yorkers agreed to open up the State Constitution occurred in 1967.
The State Constitution safeguards fundamental workers’ right to organize, bargain collectively, and it REQUIRES that prevailing wages are paid on public works projects. If the convention is approved, it can have serious ramifications for all workers.
In today’s highly charged and anti-union environment, there is the strong likelihood that if the State Constitution is opened up that conservative, right-wing organizations will raise millions of dollars and campaign hard to degrade a number of important worker rights issues that impact members of the Northeast Regional Council of Carpenters, such as prevailing wage rates, collective bargaining and workers’ compensation.
We need you to Vote No, to ensure that the State Constitution is not re-written by special interests.
Prevailing Wage: A Constitutional Mandate
Labor of human beings is not a commodity nor an article of commerce and shall never be so considered or construed. No laborer, worker or mechanic, in the employ of a contractor or subcontractor engaged in the performance of any public work, shall be permitted to work more than eight hours in any day or more than five days in any week, except in cases of extraordinary emergency; nor shall he or she be paid less than the rate of wages prevailing in the same trade or occupation in the locality within the state where such public work is to be situated, erected or used.
Article I § 17
If New Yorkers Vote Yes
In April 2017, the Empire Center for Public Policy released in a study saying that: “publicly funded construction projects in New York [are] inflated up to 25 percent by the state’s outdated “prevailing wage” mandate.” The report went on to say that: “The public works pay mandate effectively serves as a taxpayer subsidy to shore up underfunded construction union pension and welfare plans.”
This group and other conservative think tanks are calling for New Yorkers to Vote YES on the rewriting of the State Constitution this November.
Our Union is encouraging you to Vote NO this November 7th.
If New Yorkers vote yes in 2017 to the rewriting of State Constitution, three delegates from each of our 63 Senate Districts, plus 15 at-large delegates will be nominated – likely existing elected officials and political insiders. Nominees would then be elected by the public in November 2018. The delegates would meet in 2019 and be paid a salary of $80,000/year to discuss changes to the Constitution. Any changes agreed to by a majority of the delegates will then go to the public for approval, no earlier than 2020.
If New Yorkers Vote No
No is the right choice for our members and all New Yorkers.
And it doesn’t mean that aspects of the State Constitution cannot be changed over the next two decades. … Since the State Constitution was written in 1894 years ago, there have been 222 amendments to it through bills passed by the state legislature and then voted on individually over the years by New Yorkers. Most recently, a number of ballot Constitutional amendment questions were voted on by New Yorkers in 2013.
This is the appropriate way to change the laws: through a vote by people who live in the State and not by the decisions of unknown delegates votes who are nominated by special interest groups.