2021 State Labor Power 100

May 12, 2021  
5:00PM - 6:00PM
Event Description

City & State's must-read list of the most powerful people in New York City and Albany have been long standing institutions in New York. On May 10th, we are celebrating the New York labor sector, debuting our State Labor Power 100 list. The list will debut in a special issue recognizing and ranking top brass from government, labor unions, advocacy, academia, media, business and beyond. Be the first to know who made the cut and where they are ranked in the State Labor Power 100 specialty publication.

Thomas P. DiNapoli
Comptroller, State of New York
Thomas P. DiNapoli is the 54th Comptroller of the State of New York. The Early Years A life-long Long Islander, Tom was raised in a middle-class, union household and saw the value of hard work and stretching every dollar in the example set by his parents. In 1972, Tom won his first election and served as a trustee on the Mineola Board of Education, becoming the first 18-year-old in New York State to hold public office. He attended Hofstra University, earning a bachelor’s degree in history and graduated magna cum laude in 1976. He worked in the telecommunications industry for 10 years, and went to night classes and earned a master’s degree from The New School University’s Graduate School of Management and Urban Professions. Public Service In 1986, he ran for the New York State Assembly and was elected to represent the 16th District in northwestern Nassau County for the next 20 years. Tom was elected State Comptroller on February 7, 2007, by a bipartisan majority of the State Legislature. He was elected Comptroller by New York’s voters in 2010, 2014 and 2018. Tom is known for his integrity, independence and even-keeled leadership. Record of Accomplishments • Identified billions in waste, fraud and cost savings in government. • Uncovered corruption in State and local governments, leading to dozens of arrests and tens of millions in restitution. • Provided robust oversight of school district operations and education spending. He has charged his auditors with examining school safety practices, reviewing programs to protect children from harassment and discrimination, monitoring special education providers, and identifying best practices to help schools around the State. • Developed an early warning system to identify municipalities and school districts showing signs of fiscal stress. • Managed the third largest public pension fund in the nation through difficult losses during the Great Recession, reformed how it operates and received high praise for industry leading standards. • Invested nearly $2 billion in private equity and loan programs to benefit New York-based businesses and provide a return to the State pension fund. • Earned a reputation as one of the leading shareholder voices on many corporate concerns including environmental issues, disability inclusion and corporate political spending. • Opened up government spending on his transparency website Open Book New York. • Led the fight for prudent fiscal and procurement reforms to help New York change how it does business and put it on better fiscal footing. • Streamlined claims process for individuals to recover lost money. Returned hundreds of millions in unclaimed funds to rightful owners each year.
Andrew Gounardes
Andrew Gounardes
New York State Senator, District 22
State Senator Andrew Gounardes Bio State Senator Andrew Gounardes represents New York’s 22nd State Senate District, which includes the neighborhoods of Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach, Gravesend, Gerritsen Beach, Manhattan Beach, and Marine Park. He was elected in November 2018. Senator Gounardes is Chair of the Committee on Civil Service & Pensions and has passed key legislation to expand services to 9/11 heroes and promote street safety, including the landmark school zone speed camera expansion to protect students and families. He is also a champion of the fight to fix the MTA and fund our public schools and universities. Born and raised in Bay Ridge, Senator Gounardes graduated from Fort Hamilton High School and earned degrees from Hunter College and the George Washington University Law School. Senator Gounardes’ passion for public service began as an aide to former City Councilmember Vincent Gentile. He later served as Counsel to Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams for five years and a trustee of the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, one of the largest municipal pension funds in the country. Guided by the principles of philoxenia, a Greek word meaning "love of strangers," he was active in the community long before being elected to office. Following Superstorm Sandy, Andrew co-founded Bay Ridge Cares, an organization that prepared 25,000 hot meals for victims after the storm. A community advocate, he worked with Riders Alliance and Bay Ridge Advocates for Keeping Everyone Safe (B.R.A.K.E.S.) to fight for better transportation and safer streets. Senator Gounardes is also active on issues affecting the Greek community. He is a member of the Hellenic American Leadership Council, a network of Greek-American leaders from across the United States that promote civic involvement, human rights, and democratic values in and between the United States and Greece. He is a founding member of the St. Andrew’s Freedom Forum, an international initiative that raises awareness of the denial of human rights and religious liberties of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of the Eastern Orthodox Church and recognizes religious freedom defenders throughout the world.
Jessica Ramos
New York State Senator, District 13
Jessica Ramos has spent her life fighting for working families, advocating for labor, and organizing her local community. Born in Elmhurst to an undocumented seamstress and a printing pressman, Jessica was raised in Astoria, attended Queens public schools, and now lives in Jackson Heights with her two sons. A strong union advocate, Ramos worked with Build Up NYC to fight for construction, building and hotel maintenance workers in New York City. Ramos also worked with SSEU Local 371 and 32BJ SEIU, where she helped building maintenance workers, office cleaners and public schools cleaners win contracts that protected their rights, wages, and benefits. Jessica was a member of Queens Community Board 3 and served as Democratic District Leader in the 39th Assembly District. Jessica sat on the boards of the Jackson Heights Beautification Group and Farmspot, Jackson Heights’ community-supported agriculture (CSA) program. She has received awards for her work with the LGBTQ community and her advocacy on behalf of Women and Minority-Owned Businesses. As the first American-born in her family, Jessica feels a deep sense of responsibility in bridging the gap between immigrant and non-immigrant communities. Jessica credits her love for activism and public service to her parents, Colombian immigrants who fought for and won the right to dual citizenship for Colombian-Americans and founded Siempre Colombia, a not-for-profit organization in Jackson Heights. Jessica does not have a driver’s license—she rides the subway every day.
Latoya Joyner
New York State Assembly Member, District 77
Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner proudly represents the 77th Assembly District, which includes the Claremont, Concourse, Highbridge, Mount Eden and Morris Heights sections of The Bronx. Since her election to the Assembly in 2014, Latoya has already made her mark both in Albany and in the community, on issues ranging from affordable housing and education to domestic violence. She is the author of a groundbreaking law to create a pilot program that protects victims of domestic violence by speeding up the process for obtaining temporary orders of protection and allowing them to file protection orders electronically. An outspoken proponent of strengthening rent regulation and protecting tenants, Assemblywoman Joyner publicly supported a freeze for the 33,000 apartments under rent regulation in her district; she remains committed to this issue going forward in Albany. In her first year as a member of the New York State Assembly, Assemblywoman Joyner’s support has led to increased funding for the Bronx Children’s Museum and other community-based organizations that directly benefit District 77 residents. She has also championed security upgrades for tenants that reside in New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments in her district. For seniors and those that are disabled, Assemblywoman Joyner passed legislation that improves housing conditions and opportunities through the Urban Development Action Area Project (UDAAP) — a program that expedites the land review process for low-income housing. A direct result of this process is the “Artsbridge” development, a 61-unit senior building located in the Highbridge community. A proven fighter for families, Latoya has implemented real change in her district by supporting education. In the 2015-2016 year’s budget, Latoya backed Educational Opportunity Programs (EOP), including the New York Legal Educational Opportunity Program (LEO) — a program that affords minority and low-income students an early introduction to the legal profession. The Assemblywoman’s advocacy culminated in increased funding and the reinstatement of the LEO program for New York students. As a member of the New York State Bar and a former court attorney for a New York City Civil Court Judge, Latoya Joyner utilizes her deep seated knowledge of the law to serve the needs of families throughout the Bronx.During her tenure in what is called the "people's court," Latoya used her problem-solving skills to help those appearing in court — many of whom were unrepresented — to reach settlements on a wide range of issues that impacted their lives. Latoya received her law degree from the University at Buffalo Law School, where she was an associate editor for the Buffalo Journal of Gender, Law and Social Policy. During law school, she interned with the New York State Division of Human Rights in the Bronx and her responsibilities included investigating housing discrimination claims. She saw firsthand the hardships that individuals with disabilities faced in securing permanent housing, especially those with mental and psychosocial disabilities. This extensive experience in protecting the rights of tenants has given Assemblywoman Joyner a unique perspective in her efforts to develop legislation and equitable housing policies for the residents of the 77th Assembly District. Previously, Latoya served as a community liaison in the district office of then-Assemblywoman Aurelia Greene, a legendary fixture in Bronx governmental circles who currently serves as Bronx Deputy Borough President. In this capacity, she handled day-to-day constituent concerns, researched legislation, and met with lobbyist groups and community organizations. Latoya also served as a member of Community Board 4 and the Neighborhood Advisory Board. Latoya Joyner is a proud product of New York’s public educational system. She is a graduate of the Richard R. Green High School for Teaching and the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She participated in Stony Brook’s Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) and benefited from its dedication to supporting and advancing African-American and Latino students. Striving to take the greatest possible advantage of the opportunities EOP made available, Latoya studied abroad in Ghana and participated in various internships. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in political science and sociology, graduated with honors and became a member of Chi Alpha Epsilon Honor Society and Phi Beta Kappa. Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner lives in the Concourse section of The Bronx.
Roberta Reardon
Commissioner, New York State Department of Labor
New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon was appointed by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo in October 2015 to oversee the Department’s more than 3,300 employees. On June 15, 2016, Commissioner Reardon was unanimously confirmed by the New York State Senate. Under Commissioner Reardon’s leadership, the New York State Department of Labor has helped New Yorkers navigate the most challenging economic crisis in the Department’s history – the COVID-19 Pandemic. As an innovator of change, and with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo, Commissioner Reardon has delivered real results for her fellow New Yorkers. These efforts include fighting for a fair wage for all through the implementation of the Minimum Wage increase, elimination of the Tipped Wage Credit, passage of the Salary History Ban, and ensuring a prevailing wage for public work projects. She has been a champion for New York’s workforce by improving worker protection standards, recovering stolen wages, advancing workforce development and training initiatives, expanding apprenticeship opportunities and elevating and protecting the importance of organized labor and our Labor Unions. Commissioner Reardon has also overseen the rebranding of the New York State Department of Labor and the WE ARE YOUR DOL campaign to reinforce the DOL’s mission to protect workers, assist the unemployed, and connect job seekers to the jobs they love and to help businesses thrive and grow. Previously, Commissioner Reardon, a former actor, served as President of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) from 2007-2012. She was the founding Co-President of SAG-AFTRA, a 165,000-member union for the entertainment industry, when the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) merged with AFTRA in 2012 – successfully spearheading the merger. As former union member and former union President herself, she continues to be a strong voice of advocacy for laborers and all workers throughout New York State. After stepping down as Co-President of SAG-AFTRA in late 2013, Commissioner Reardon consulted for the AFL-CIO as Special Liaison for Common Sense Economics. She also taught in the Cornell/CUNY Labor Relations Certificate program. Commissioner Reardon is a former member of the Board of Trustees for the AFTRA Health and Retirement Fund, as well as the New York City Labor Council. She has been honored with the Jewish Labor Committee’s 2009 Human Rights Award as well as the New York City Central Labor Council’s 2012 Award for Service to the Labor Movement and was a recipient of the Cornell ILR School, Union Leadership Institute’s 2017 Change Maker Award. Commissioner Reardon graduated from the Cornell Industrial and Labor Relations School’s New York State AFL-CIO/Cornell Union Leadership Institute and holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Wyoming. She is a Worker Institute Fellow at Cornell University and sits on the Board of Trustees for the Actors Fund of America.

Welcome & Introduction By Zach Williams, Staff Reporter, City & State NY


Keynote Remarks By Thomas DiNapoli, Comptroller, New York State 


Keynote Remarks By Roberta Reardon, Commissioner, New York State Department of Labor


Keynote Remarks By Senator Jessica Ramos, Chair, Committee on Labor


Keynote Remarks By Senator Andrew Gounardes, Chair, Civil Service and Pensions Committee


Keynote Remarks By Latoya Joyner, New York State Assembly Member


Recognition of State Labor Power 100 List


Closing Remarks

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