Unions in New York spurn Cuomo following damning report

Governor Andrew Cuomo.
File photo by Dean Moses

State Attorney General Letitia James’ report on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s sexual misconduct has broken the dam on his political fortunes. 

Joining the chorus of national figures that have called for the governor’s resignation — a list that now includes President Biden — several New York State unions have called for the end of his governorship. 

New York State has the second-highest rate of union membership among its workforce, making support from unions vital to political longevity.

In a call with PoliticsNY, John Samuelsen, the international president of the Transport Workers Union (TWU), reaffirmed his split with the governor from earlier this year, and now says Cuomo’s time is over.

“It’s pretty clear there’s a pile of evidence that he engaged in violative workplace sexual harassment. Both in terms of civil violation and potential criminal violations. It’s time to go. Time for him to go,” Samuelsen repeated. “This is not a situation where anyone is gleeful about it. [This is a] sad day for New York State.”

Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 32BJ President Kyle Bragg lauded James’ work, denounced Cuomo’s actions, and echoed calls for his ouster.

“We stand with women and all victims of sexual assault, and are sadly disappointed by the details documented in the 168-page report of Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation. New Yorkers entrusted the Attorney General to investigate these serious claims, and she ensured a thorough and timely investigation, conducted by independent investigators. Creating work environments where sexual harassment is not tolerated is not a matter of politics, but principle, from which no one should be exempted,” said Bragg in a press release. “We urge the Governor to resign and to take responsibility for his well-documented actions and how they have hurt women, and those who have devoted themselves to advance the interests of all New Yorkers. And if the Governor does not resign, we will support the state legislature’s actions to bring accountability to the office with all deliberate speed.”

American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) Local DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido said Cuomo’s actions preclude him from continuing to serve as Governor.

“Safety and security must be the standard of every workplace. The details made public as part of Attorney General Letitia James’ investigation make clear that is not the case in the Governor’s office,” Garrido said in a statement. “We cannot turn a blind eye to the harassment perpetuated by Governor Cuomo. It is evident he is no longer fit to serve. The Governor must resign. If he does not, the Assembly must begin the process to impeach.”

New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento said Cuomo had failed.

“The first job of any elected official is keeping safe the people they serve; it is clear from the appalling findings of the Attorney General’s report, Governor Cuomo failed to do that,” Cliento said. “We fought for and won the very worker protections that were violated; there must be accountability without exception. Governor Cuomo can no longer lead the state.”

Cuomo shows no sign of imminent resignation. His campaign website continues to host endorsements from unions that now call his departure. Cuomo’s office could not be reached for comment in time for publication.