"We are the union! We are the union! The mighty, mighty union!"
It was a rallying cry after a massive judicial blow. Union members took to the streets Wednesday evening to protest the Supreme Court's decision that government workers can't be forced to contribute to labor unions that represent them in collective bargaining.
"I'm very disappointed in the Supreme Court," one demonstrator said. "I am very disappointed in our government."
Hundreds of union workers descended on Foley Square. Many said they were concerned that the ruling will diminish their numbers and power.
"It will enable people not to pay dues, but to ride on the union coattails," one protester said. "If they have a grievance, if they have a problem the union will help them, but they will not be paying dues to make the union strong. It's very simple: it's not fair."
"The unions in New York are going to stand up and do what's right for the middle class," said another.
Many union heads lashed out at the high court's 5-4 decision.
"I think the ruling is just part of a long-term racist, sexist, anti-immigrant attempt to dismantle everything working people in this country have achieved," said Barbara Bowen, the president of the Professional Staff Congress, a union for City University of New York employees.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has deep ties to organized labor, said the decision is part of a larger effort to destroy the labor movement.
Flanked by labor leaders earlier Wednesday, Cuomo signed an executive order to keep personal contact information for state employees private. He argued it was a protection against possible union-busting efforts.
"The Trump administration has been very clear they're anti-union," the governor said. "They represent a part of this country that is anti-union. They represent big business that is anti-union."
"It's going to make us work harder, make sure our members are signed up and that they understand the value of the union," said Anthony Wells, the president of the Social Service Employees Union Local 371.
Many believe the ruling is an attempt to destroy the unions. But some vowed that it won't happen as long as the members stick together.