DA Candidate Florence Earns 16th Union Endorsement with ATU Local 1181

School bus drivers join Florence’s labor coalition

Today, ATU Local 1181 endorsed Diana Florence for Manhattan DA, joining the steady drumbeat of labor support for her campaign. Florence is the candidate with the most union support in the crowded field.

Florence has previously published opinion pieces in The New York Daily News, El Diario, and City Limits about using the criminal law to protect essential workers, and prosecuting wage theft as larceny. She also proposed a first-of-its-kind Labor Crimes Bureau to directly address crimes of power including sexual harassment, wage theft, workplace safety, and tax and unemployment fraud.

“Diana Florence is the only candidate with a proven record of fighting side-by-side with working New Yorkers- and that’s why ATU Local 1181 proudly endorses her for Manhattan District Attorney,” said ATU Local 1181 President Michael Cordiello. “Diana knows our issues from wage theft to contract fraud, and has the backs of bus drivers and unionized workers who drive this city forward.”

“I am honored to have the support of the essential workers who drive thousands of children to school every day,” said Diana Florence, candidate for Manhattan DA. ” Our people-powered campaign is gaining momentum through our vision to rebuild a Manhattan DA’s Office that puts people first. Our Labor Crimes platform sets a new standard for how the Manhattan DA will tackle work-related cases. I have a proven record of going after employers who steal wages, corrupt M/WBE contractors, and workplace safety cases. Everyday New Yorkers know that I am not afraid to hold the rich and powerful accountable.”

Florence launched her campaign in August with six unions: the New York State Ironworkers, Bricklayers Local 1, Terrazzo Workers Local 7, Heat & Frost Insulators Local 12, Ironworkers Local 361, Northeast District Council of Plasterers’ & Cement Masons’ Local 262 and 780. She’s picked up nine more, including the Teamsters Joint Council 16, the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, New York City, Vicinity District Council of Carpenters, Laborers Local 79, DC 9 IUPAT Painters & Allied Trades, IUEC Local 1 Elevator Constructors, and LiUNA! NY.

Background:

Diana Florence began her career as a prosecutor 25 years ago in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, focusing on domestic violence cases, then complex frauds and corruption in the Special Prosecutions Bureau and Labor Racketeering Unit, and later becoming the head of the first of its kind Construction Fraud Task Force. She won landmark convictions against companies and individuals for defrauding 9/11 charities, corruption, domestic violence, wage theft, and deadly work conditions. She has taught trial advocacy for over two decades to lawyers in the DA’s Office and has lectured investigators and lawyers from around the world on topics ranging from inter-agency cooperation to prosecuting fraud, racketeering, and workplace homicide.

As an ADA, Diana held powerful interests accountable by prosecuting developers and corrupt corporations for cheating workers and taxpayers. In a historic case against Harco Construction, she ultimately secured justice for the family of a 22-year-old construction worker, Carlos Moncayo, who was buried alive at work. Using the existing criminal law, Diana charged the corporations and site supervisors, who had been repeatedly warned of hazardous conditions, with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide for Moncayo’s death. As a result, she drafted legislation (A10728) named after Carlos Moncayo, known as “Carlos’ Law” that would establish higher fines for corporations for endangering workers’ lives.

Diana has made prosecuting wage theft a centerpiece of her career, notably working alongside IronWorkers Local 361 to secure $6 million in stolen wages and back-pay from AGL Industries. Diana subsequently wrote a bill (A06795) with Assemblymember Catalina Cruz (D-Queens) to reclassify wage theft as the more serious crime of larceny. Other jurisdictions- like the Pittsburgh City Council and Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner- subsequently created similar prosecution models for wage theft.

Diana has worked side-by-side with community-based groups, unions, workers centers, and government agencies to create an innovative prosecution model heavily rooted in broad-based participation. She is also a fluent Spanish speaker.

Platform

Diana Florence wants to make a new PACT (Power, Accountability, Community, and Trust) with New York that puts people first. PACT prioritizes prosecuting “crimes of power”, being accountable and transparent about the decisions of the DA, and working side-by-side with community stakeholders.

 

As an ADA, Diana created an innovative model of collaborative prosecution known as co-enforcement. Co-enforcement is based on knowledge instead of assumptions. It relies on collaboration with community partners to determine what justice looks like which then drives the priorities of investigation and prosecution. It starts with working alongside advocates, labor unions, tenants, worker centers, elected officials, industry groups, community leaders – the very people who are affected by crimes of power to ascertain the needs and values of the community. Using co-enforcement, the Construction Fraud Task Force Diana led built a trusting relationship with the community it served and together achieved success.

Biography

Born in Manhattan, Diana is a long-time resident of Kips Bay where she lives with her husband and two children. Diana graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, receiving a BA in Art History with a concentration in Spanish as well as her law degree.