New York City municipal workers are not getting a paid Juneteenth holiday this year, despite a pledge last year from Mayor Bill de Blasio to make it one and as it becomes one for federal workers.
Juneteenth, on June 19th, marks the day in 1865, two months after the end of the Civil War and more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, that enslaved Black people in Texas were told by Union soldiers that they had been freed.
Its profile has risen in the wake of national conversations on racism and inequality, and last year, de Blasio said it would be “an official city holiday" starting this year.
But to make it one, the city would need to have labor negotiations with the unions representing city workers. As of Thursday, there have been discussions but no negotiations, according to the city.
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President Joe Biden on Thursday signed legislation making Juneteenth a federal holiday.
While not a holiday, New York City did launch a broad savings and education program, including thousands of college scholarships for Black and low-income students, in a move tied to Juneteenth and economic recovery. De Blasio said the Juneteenth Economic Justice Plan would include universal "baby bonds" for all city school districts, and 2,800 four-year CUNY scholarships for disadvantaged students.
The mayor said the goal of the program was to build generational wealth, citing the wide disparity in the average net worth of white and Black households.