By Patricia Stryker
Local 237 Recording Secretary
Director, Polical Action and Legislation
On Tuesday, November 7, 2017, you, the voter, will see on the ballot a question to be answered “Yes or No.” You will be asked whether the state should hold a Constitutional Convention. Your vote should be a resounding “No.”
Under the State Constitution, every 20 years the people are asked a seemingly innocuous ballot question: “Shall there be a convention to revise the Constitution and amend same?” It’s an option, but it’s not the only way to update the Constitution.
If in 2017, people voted for holding the convention, delegates would be elected at the next general election — in November, 2018. The following April, delegates would meet in Albany for an unspecified period of time until they agree on recommendations that would put to the voters for another referendum no sooner than six week later.
Why should you vote “No”? What’s at stake? Currently under our Constitution, these are the following provisions:
There is another option available to make changes to the Constitution. It can be changed legislatively by our elected representatives in Albany by two separately elected state legislatures. If passed, the bill or bills would appear on the following November ballot as a referendum. This method had been used successfully since 1894. This method works.
The climate in the country, including New York State, is not very worker friendly. Unfortunately, we have seen the rights of workers diminished and in certain states taken away completely. We must work together to educate each other about why we cannot risk destroying the state’s charter document by having a constitutional convention that could bring changes that adversely affect workers.
Hercules Cornish went to work for the Housing Authority as a caretaker J in 1952 and retired 24 years later as a stores worker. He died the year following this interview, which was conducted in June 1999.
Originally I was from Harlem, but when I came out of the service in 1945 my wife had moved to the Bronx, so I moved there, too. I went to work for the New York City Housing Authority in 1952.