We’re excited to announce the formation of the New Jersey Young Democrats’ Labor Caucus! Led by Ryan Doran and Vincent Cerrito, the caucus will be focused on fighting for worker’s rights throughout the state.
To learn more about what they have planned for the caucus, we sat down with Vincent and Ryan for their thoughts on everything labor.
NJYD: Who & what does the Labor Caucus support?
Ryan: Our labor caucus supports: the right of workers to organize unions, collective bargaining, project labor agreements (PLA’s), increasing of the State of New Jerseys minimum wage. We strongly support the efforts to eliminate gender and race inequality in pay and benefits.
NJYD: What impact do unions have in the workforce?
Vincent: The fair wages that unions work to establish help workers of all classes put roofs over their heads and food on their tables. Unions build our schools and represent the teachers that educate our children. They demand safety in the workplace, fight for better wages and benefits, and provide a financial plan for retirement. One of our goals is to bring awareness specifically to the younger generation on the benefits of unions and how tirelessly unions have fought throughout the last century to ensure our nation’s working class gets their fair share.
NJYD: What contributed to the two of you Co-Chairing this caucus?
Ryan: We met at a young democrat event and realized that we were the only two in the room affiliated with labor, naturally that caught the attention to both of us. We talked to each other about what we thought was important to workers in New Jersey and decided that we both wanted to do our part to fight for workers’ rights. I personally work out in the field every day as a union electrician out of IBEW Local 351, and I am proud of what I do.
NJYD: Does the NJYD Labor Caucus have future plans to partner with any other organizations?
Vincent: Yes. It is crucial that we extend our support to all organizations that support labor rights. Additionally, it is essential that we strive to create new relationships which should include traditional high schools and technical schools. It is critical to promote the benefits of union membership and to educate young people about the alternative career choices and training and apprenticeship programs that unions provide.
NJYD: What upcoming events can we expect from the NJYD Labor Caucus?
Ryan: We plan to support the upcoming elections in any way we can, also we are planning community service projects throughout the state of New Jersey. We hope to get the younger generation of people that are passionate about getting involved in all levels of public service to participate. We also plan to organize Labor movement rallies to spread the message across the entire state of New Jersey that organized labor is here to stay, we just need to keep fighting the good fight.
NJYD: What do you think is the greatest threat to unions at this time?
Vincent: There are threats to unions at the political level with legislation such as Right to Work laws. At the grassroots level, there are great misunderstandings of the importance of unions in maintaining the strides that have been made throughout the past century. For example, Right to Work legislation may sound very appealing to non-union workers. However, without the presence of unions in the workforce, workers may see the erosion of fair wages and protections that workers have earned and deserve. Workers may find that without the strength and support of unions, they will instead have a right to work for lower wages and benefits.
To stay updated on the NJYD Labor Caucus’ activities, be sure to like their Facebook Page.
Vincent Cerrito is a Project Manager at Ray Angelini Inc., a member of the Audubon Joint Land Use Board, and a member of the Camden County Committee.
Ryan Doran is an Electrician with IBEW Local 351 and a member of the Camden County Planning Board. Ryan is also active with the Camden County Young Democrats and the Bellmawr Democratic Club.