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Press Release

February 8, 2021

Amit S. Bagga Receives First Major Union Endorsements In Council District 26: Local 802-AFM And Professional Staff Congress Of CUNY

The first two labor endorsements in the district go to Bagga, a veteran of local and federal government with an extensive track record on labor issues, who als most recently led the City’s groundbreaking $40 million Census campaign

NEW YORK, NY -- Amit Singh Bagga, Candidate for Council District 26, announced having received the first two major labor endorsements in the race for the district today, Local 802 - American Federation of Musicians (Local 802) and the Professional Staff Congress of CUNY (PSC-CUNY). The race for this district currently has the largest number of candidates in any Council race in the city. Bagga is a veteran of local and federal government, with an extensive track record on labor issues, including having implemented Paid Sick Leave, Fair Workweek, the Freelance Isn’t Free Act, and more. If elected, Bagga will be the first South Asian to serve on the City Council and the first openly LGBTQ+ South Asian to hold elected office in the nation. 

“There is no task as solemn or urgent as rebuilding an economy where all New Yorkers have access to opportunity, no New Yorker is excluded, and no employer is solving a difficult economic equation on the backs of workers - which includes all of our city’s musicians, educators, and professional staff members of CUNY,” said Amit S. Bagga, Candidate for City Council District 26. “As a New Yorker with deep roots in musical performance and a member of a family with three CUNY graduates, these endorsements are deeply personal for me. I am proud and honored to have the support of both Local 802 and PSC-CUNY, and commit to putting them at the heart of our fight for employment with dignity for all.” 

Local 802 

As the world’s largest local union of professional musicians and with a large number of members in the 26th Council District, Local 802 fights for industry standards and fair labor practices that

ensure the dignity of New York City’s musicians. The union represents a diverse community comprising thousands of musicians, who can be found on the stages of Broadway, the New York Philharmonic, and even performing in restaurants and bars across the five boroughs. 

Members of Local 802 are at the heart of New York City’s renown vibrant cultural scene, which draws both local New Yorkers and tourists to its venues. Due to the COVID-19 shutdowns over the past year, this industry and its workers were very severely affected. Ensuring that workers and their contracts are protected as the industry rebuilds will be critical to keeping tens of thousands of workers in the middle class and the industry alive into the future. 

PSC-CUNY 

PSC-CUNY, which aims to advance the professional lives of its members and enhance their terms and conditions of employment, represents approximately 30,000 faculty and staff at CUNY and the CUNY Research Foundation, more than 500 of whom call District 26 home. 

Amit S. Bagga: An extensive labor rights track record 

Protecting and expanding labor rights are a top priority for Bagga, who has spent nearly 15 years delivering real results for working New Yorkers, and has partnered closely with many advocates, labor unions, and elected officials to implement landmark protections for workers, including Paid Sick Leave, Fair Workweek, as well as first-of-their-kind protections for freelancers and paid caregivers, car wash workers, and laundry workers. 

Bagga has made putting workers at the heart of New York City’s economic recovery the centerpiece of his campaign, proposing to establish the NYC Fair Economy Fund, the city’s first-ever publicly-funded skills- and rights-training program for low-wage and immigrant workers, and pledging that any new jobs created as the result of City or Council action must offer, at minimum, prevailing wages, full protections and benefits, and the immediate ability to unionize. 

Most recently, Bagga conceived of and implemented New York City’s groundbreaking $40 million Census campaign, which achieved a historic response rate for the city (including for many majority Black, Brown, and immigrant neighborhoods), outpacing nearly every major city in the U.S. in terms of self-response. With more than 160 funded partners, the campaign was the City’s first-ever and the nation’s largest investment of public dollars into local groups explicitly for the purpose of community organizing, and also featured 34 media campaigns in 27 languages. Though the final census results are not yet available, interim estimates suggest the campaign might have been successful in preserving one of the two congressional seats the state was expected to lose prior to the Census count.

Bagga has also served as a Deputy Commissioner at the NYC Departments of Social Services and Consumer & Worker Protection, as well as a congressional aide for several years. Over the course of his career, he has helped bring economic stability to hundreds of thousands of immigrant New Yorkers by successfully negotiating with multiple federal agencies to have IDNYC accepted for banking, and helped overhaul the City’s used car licensing law to combat rampant predatory lending that was fleecing largely immigrant consumers of millions of dollars annually. In addition, he successfully fought the Bush immigration system to help nearly 1,000 immigrant families in Queens and Brooklyn reunite, gain asylum and permanent residence, and become citizens. 

Bagga is a native New Yorker, a graduate of the city’s public schools, and the son of immigrants who are refugees of the Partition of India.

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