On Wednesday evening, November 19, Make the Road New York presented Local 79 Business Manager Mike Prohaska with one of its 2014 Dignity, Community & Power Awards at its annual gala. Joining him in receiving awards were United Steelworkers International President Leo Gerard and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. Deborah Axt, the Co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York gave the award to Prohaska after a warm introduction in which she talked about his progressive leadership of Local 79. In his speech, Prohaska spoke about how proud he was to be a laborer and emphasized that the award was not for him, but for the members of Local 79 and the work they do every day at their job sites and in their communities.
Make the Road New York is a nationally-recognized organization that organizes, works with, and provides direct services to Latino and working class communities. Many of their goals align with those of Local 79 and, as a result, Local 79 has increasingly found itself working with them. Most recently, Local 79 entered into an agreement with Make the Road New York to provide immigration and naturalization-related legal services to its members. These services could prove to be very important to members, especially in light of the changes in immigration policy to be announced by President Obama on the evening of November 20.