May 4, 2021 By Ryan Songalia
A city council candidate who received the backing of a number of major labor unions Saturday has released a jobs plan that he says will create 100,000 jobs in New York City.
The plan drawn up by Amit Bagga, candidate for city council district 26, aims to create jobs in the healthcare, education and climate sectors, while also addressing the city’s infrastructure and housing needs.
The proposal, known as A Fair Economy For All: Jobs and Justice for New Yorkers, was unveiled Saturday at a rally in Queensbridge Park in Long Island City. A number of unions endorsed Bagga, along with his plan, including District Council 37, Hotel Trades Council, New York State Nurses Association and 32BJ SEIU.
“District 26 is at the center of our city and at the crossroads of many challenges our city faces: fighting climate change; building green infrastructure; providing high-quality, publicly-funded healthcare; and equipping our workforce for the economy of the future,” said Bagga, a Sunnyside resident who is competing in a district that covers Sunnyside, Woodside, Long Island City and a section of Astoria.
The bulk of the job creation – an estimated 50,000-75,000 jobs – would come from funding investments in solar power for public and private buildings; retrofitting buildings for emissions reduction; and training apprenticeships for green technology careers.
“The types of jobs that would be created here range from architects to engineers to building service workers to mason tenders to bricklayers, glazers, policy experts, accountants, auditors, investigators, inspectors,” Bagga tells Queens Post.
The healthcare component of the plan would aim to create up to 15,000 jobs citywide, while establishing a birthing center and a publicly-funded health center in District 26.
Another 10,000 jobs would come from hiring educators to train the work force to do these new jobs. Bagga says this portion of the work force expansion would be paid for in part by passing legislation that would force New York University and Columbia University – both private schools that are currently tax exempt – to pay property taxes.
New York University and Columbia University are among the largest landowners in the city.
“We’ve gotta fight hard in the next city council to make sure they’re paying at least a portion of their fair share, which, given how large they are in terms of landlords, would be hundreds of millions of dollars a year,” Bagga said.
Also proposed is passing the “NYC’s Essential Workers Bill of Rights,” a bill that is sponsored by Council Member Brad Lander which would extend paid sick leave and whistle blower protections to gig workers.
“Here in New York City, it should not matter what type of tax form you file at the end of the year. You should have access to all of the rights and protections that all workers should have,” Bagga said.
The race to replace term-limited council member Jimmy Van Bramer remains a crowded field, but Bagga has picked up a number of progressive endorsements, including from State Sen. Jessica Ramos and the Working Families Party.
Bagga says the plan is to work on getting other city council candidates to co-sign his plan, just as nearly two dozen had for his plan to provide protections for food delivery workers.