Rejecting Its Endorsement, Troy Area Labor Council, AFL-CIO Withdraws Support for Councilmember Sue Steele’s Reelection

Last week, the Troy Area Labor Council (TALC), AFL-CIO announced its 2021 endorsements for candidates across Troy and Rensselaer County in the upcoming general election. Its support for Councilmember Sue Steele’s reelection was conditioned. Given widespread public opposition to the proposed development of 1011 Second Ave in the Lansingburgh section of Troy, TALC urged her to finally respect the clear democratic will and finally work to stop this project from moving forward.

Councilmember Sue Steele refused, outrageously casting TALC’s conditions as “extortion” and stating she refuses to be “hijacked.” Accordingly, TALC has accepted Sue Steele’s rejection of our endorsement.

Adam Pelletier, TALC president and American Federation of Government Employees Local 3343 member, said, “Unfortunately, Sue Steele decided to reject our endorsement. Accordingly, we withdraw our endorsement and support for her reelection. We understand some prominent local Democrats are disappointed we conditioned our support. We will not apologize for having expectations for our endorsees to support policies and legislation that benefit working people. That has and always will always be the expectation of our endorsed candidates. No politician is owed an endorsement.”

Initially, TALC was prepared to endorse Steele. During our first interview, we were impressed, particularly with her vote against the expansion of the city’s police force. However after our initial interview, she threw her support behind the 1011 Second Ave development despite universal outcry. She took an activist position by voting for the city council to become lead agency on a proposal that was dead and had been rejected by the planning commission. We invited her back for a second interview for her to explain why she voted against the popular will of Troy residents. We were unsatisfied with her answers. We were particularly disturbed by her claim that building more high rent apartment units near a working class section of the city is a form of diversification.

Gentrification is not diversification. Gentrification has and continues to dramatically raise the cost of living in Troy and increasingly price working people out of their homes. Supporting these developments is explicitly anti-worker. We gave Councilmember Sue Steele an opportunity to reverse course and stand with working people. She made her decision and we stand by ours.”

Troy Area Labor Council, AFL-CIO is the central labor body covering Troy and Rensselaer County. Our affiliated local unions represent over 14,000 working people.

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