RWDSU endorses Constantinides in race for Queens borough president

Photo by Max Parrott/QNS

The union that drew a line in the sand against Amazon’s plan to build its HQ2 campus in Long Island City is backing Councilman Costa Constantinides in the March 24 special election for Queens borough president.

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) announced its endorsement of Constantinides Friday.

“Costa Constantinides knows firsthand what it’s like to work in retail and the benefits of having a union, one of his first jobs was at one of our grocery stores,” RWDSU president Stuart Appelbaum said. “But more importantly, he has not forgotten about the experience and has been guided by it in his years in office. He has demonstrated a commitment to lifting up working people and has consistently supported our efforts to advance workers’ rights.”

Constantinides was an outspoken opponent of Amazon’s HQ2 campus in LIC and in December he spoke out against the e-commerce giant’s future distribution centers in Woodside and Maspeth. During an anti-Amazon rally in January 2019, Appelbaum claimed that people who supported the HQ2 campus could no longer call themselves “progressive” or pro-worker or pro-union.

“Working people need someone in Queens who has the strength and self-determination to speak out for their concerns of working people,” Appelbaum said.”He proved that when he stood up to Amazon despite their money and power. We need someone who is not controlled by big money donors but is willing to be a fresh and independent voice for the community.”

RWDSU joins Teamsters Local 553, UFCW Local 1500, The Jim Owles Liberal Democratic Club and the New Queens Democrats, among others, in endorsing Constantinides.

“As someone who put himself through school by working in retail, I am so excited and honored, and humbled to have the support of the RWDSU,” Constantinides said. “We have fought to protect our retail workers, especially warehouse workers who’ve been exploited by Amazon in Queens and throughout the city. I look forward to this partnership with Stuart Appelbaum and the RWDSU continuing as Queens Borough President, where I’ll never stop fighting for good jobs that provide fair wages, benefits, and a pathway to the middle class.”