When Bill de Blasio won the New York City mayor’s race in a historic landslide Tuesday, most of the city’s 152 municipal unions felt a wave a relief – if not outright joy.
The mayor-elect, the first Democrat in 20 years to hold an office often called the second toughest job in America after the presidency, proclaimed a lofty liberal vision for the city, emphasizing its growing economic inequality and promising a new redistribution of the city’s wealth.
It is a message that makes most union leaders feel they have a new friend in city hall. And even though Mr. de Blasio offered few specifics about how he planned to handle the city’s looming contract negotiations, his campaign theme of “a tale of two cities” couldn’t be more apropos for how they’ve felt after years of austerity under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. All of the city’s 300,000 municipal union members have been working on expired contracts, and the vast majority of workers have gone without a raise for 3 years or longer.
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