August 8, 2012
By Joe Maniscalco – Labor Press
When he was about six or seven-years-old, John Mancuso – the Port Richmond native now vying to unseat Republican Nicole Malliotakis in New York’s 60th Assembly District – remembers standing on a picket line with his father outside the Clove Lakes Health Care and Rehabilitation Center.
“I didn’t understand what a strike meant,” Mancuso says. “To me it was just people marching around in a circle holding signs. Later on, I realized how the union helped my dad keep his job when the nursing home wanted to fire the entire staff and bring in new people.”
In the intervening years, Mancuso has built up a Democratic pedigree that includes stints as aides to both NYC Councilman Vincent Gentile and former State Senator Seymour Lachman. If he wins the Assembly seat on the Democratic and Working Family Party lines in November, Mancuso says he will work hard to amend the controversial Tier 6 pension plan, protect collective bargaining and help bring new industry to the state by supporting legalized casino gambling.
“It’s really just about preserving union issues up in Albany and making sure while I’m up there that we’re trying to bring industry back to the state so we can create good union jobs again,” Mancuso says.
In order to do that, however, Mancuso believes he’s first going to have to combat a significant “anti-union climate” that has somehow managed to largely obscure the vital role labor has played in the lives of hard-working men and women of the state.
“Too many people are just overlooking that now,” he says. “They don’t understand it. And it’s mostly the Republican legislators that don’t understand it because they represent a lot of special interests in a lot of corporations that don’t have union labor, and who don’t ever want to have union laborers. That’s why it’s important that we have as many Democrats as possible up in Albany.”