Mason Tenders’ PAC backs slate of ‘pro-union’ and ‘pro-development’ City Council candidates

City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams rolls out council’s land use guidelines and housing agenda during City Hall press conference. Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022.
Photo courtesy of Emil Cohen/NYC Council Media Unit

The Mason Tenders’ District Council PAC announced endorsements for 28 City Council incumbents in this year’s primary elections on Monday, with a focus on candidates who are “pro-union” and “pro-development.”

The PAC’s — the political action committee arm of Mason Tenders’ District Council of Greater New York and Long Island — announcement marks some of the earliest endorsements in this year’s council races, which are just getting underway, with petitioning for the June primary set to start on Tuesday.

Mike Prohaska, the PAC’s chair, said in a statement that the current council, which is mostly new members, has already made great strides in approving developments that include “affordable” housing and employ union labor.

“With 75% new members, this City Council under Speaker Adrienne Adams has already made significant progress approving development projects that will create many thousands of affordable apartments built by union laborers with good-paying jobs,” Prohaska said. “Twenty eight of these Council Members have earned our enthusiastic early endorsements for 2023 elections.”

Mason Tenders’ backed 28 members of the 51-person council, who are all up for re-election this year due to last year’s redistricting, in it’s first round of endorsements. The PAC for the union, which represents 17,000 construction workers in the city, will announce it’s second round of council endorsements next month.

The PAC endorsed Speaker Adrienne Adams, who’s prioritized building more affordable housing since taking over the speakership last January. The speaker said in December that during her first 12 months in office, the council approved over 40 rezonings, which will create 12,000 units of housing, 60% of which will be affordable.

“The Council Members we are endorsing today represent the best hope for the future of New York City,” Prohaska said. “They are not afraid to apply a common sense approach to building the city New Yorkers need — a city with affordable housing, built by workers earning family-sustaining wages and benefits with vibrant, livable communities for all.”

Among the 28 endorsees are Council Members Marjorie Velázquez (D-Bronx) and Julie Won (D-Queens), both of whom ultimately approved controversial rezonings in their districts last year after either standing against or not taking a position on the projects. 

Velázquez ended up pushing the Bruckner Boulevard Rezoning in Throggs Neck over the finish line after long standing against the project. The proposal will bring 348 units across four sites to the east Bronx neighborhood, 192 of which will be affordable.

The final deal for the development included construction jobs for local labor unions such as 32BJ SEIU, Laborers Local 79 and the New York City District Council of Carpenters.

Similarly, Won ended up backing the $2 billion Innovation QNS development in Astoria, Queens, after holding out for more “affordable” units than were originally proposed by the developer. The project wound up including 1,400 affordable units out of 3,000 apartments overall.

It promises to include over 5,000 jobs, according to a report from QNS. Many of those will be union jobs.

Velázquez is facing challengers from both sides of the aisle in the Democratic primary and November general election. While Won has Democratic rivals lining up to try and unseat her in June.