Feb. 20, 2023 By Bill Parry
Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz continues to add endorsements from the city’s organized labor unions. On Feb. 15, Katz announced her reelection campaign was endorsed by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), Local 338 RUFCW, RWDSU Local 1102, and UFCW Local 1500, which represent over 100,000 members.
“These workers keep our stores, supermarkets, and everyday industries moving – especially during the difficult times brought on by the pandemic,” Katz said. “Every day, I work to keep them safe at home and work – and with their partnership, I know we can keep doing that in Queens together.”
Katz already had the support of more than a dozen other unions representing workers in Queens.
“The hardworking men and women of the RWDSU demand qualified and responsible elected officials, and that is what District Attorney Melinda Katz has always been,” said RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum. “During her tenure, DA Katz has been a consummate leader, striving to keep our members safe at home and when at work. We look forward to working with her for four more years.”
Along with the endorsements, members of the unions will join in the signature-gathering efforts to ensure Katz is on the ballot for the Democratic Primary in June.
“District Attorney Katz has served diligently over the last three years, keeping our communities safe and giving our stores the safety they need to thrive,” said RWDSU Local 1102 President Alvin Ramnarain. “Our members look forward to benefiting from District Attorney Katz’s leadership for four more years.”
Before she was sworn in as district attorney in 2020, Katz served as Queens borough president after several terms on the City Council and the New York state Assembly.
“The office of the district attorney is more than a leader in law enforcement, but a voice for policies their community is seeking, and District Attorney Katz is that voice for those living and working in Queens,” said John Durso, president of Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW. “During her career in public service, Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW has had a long working relationship with the district attorney and over the years have seen first-hand how hard and how often she’s championed the cause of working people. Local 338 RWDSU/UFCW is proud to endorse DA Katz for re-election.”
Several union leaders noted that after she took office in 2020, Katz created the borough’s first Housing and Worker Protection Bureau, which returns stolen wages to employees and investigates unsafe workplaces.
“We live in a critical moment where essential workers in Queens are standing up for their rights,” United Food & Commercial Workers Local 1500 Executive Vice President and Recorder Joseph D. Waddy said. “We deserve a district attorney who will protect these rights, and we have that in DA Melinda Katz.”
Katz will face challenger George Grasso in the June 27 Democratic primary. The Douglaston resident retired as administrative judge at Queens Supreme Court, criminal term, in August 2022 to run for district attorney.
Grasso served more than three decades in the NYPD, rising through the ranks to become the first deputy police commissioner before stepping down in 2010 and heading to the bench.