New York State AFL-CIO

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On April 28, the unions of the AFL-CIO observe Workers Memorial Day to remember those who have suffered and died on the job and
to renew the fight for safe jobs. This year we will come together to defend hard-won victories by working people from attacks by
right-wing Republicans and business groups. We will commit to fighting until all workers have safe jobs and the freedom to form
unions to seek a better future.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act and Mine Safety and Health Act promise workers the right to a safe job. Unions and our
allies have fought hard to make that promise a reality—winning protections that have made jobs safer, saved hundreds of thousands
of lives and prevented millions of workplace injuries and illnesses.

But our work is not done. Each year thousands of workers are killed and millions more injured or diseased because of their jobs.

The safety and health gains we have won are now threatened. The Trump administration has launched an all-out assault on regulations.
The president has ordered that for every new protection, two existing safeguards must be removed from the books. At the same time
Republicans in Congress have moved quickly to overturn new rules issued by the Obama administration. Agency budgets and enforcement
programs are on the chopping block. The safety and health of workers and the public are in danger.

We must fight back. We cannot and will not let them turn back the clock and destroy the progress we have made to
make jobs safer and save lives.

Please join us on Workers Memorial Day as we continue the fight for safe jobs.

FIND AN EVENT IN YOUR AREA

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cuomo

A new provision in Gov. Cuomo’s budget will make it easier for union members to deduct their dues payments from state taxes.

“We welcome this new benefit particularly at a time when the right of working people to join a union is increasingly under attack,” said Mario Cilento president New York State AFL-CIO.

Read the full article at http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/new-york-budget-lets-union-workers-deduct-dues-state-taxes-article-1.3043790

New Tax Deduction Gives Back an Estimated $35 Million to Union Members

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Albany – “The No. 1 priority of the Labor Movement is always to help working men and women achieve a better life, and it is with that in mind we are pleased with the final state budget,” said New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento.

“A key piece included in the final spending plan will make it easier for union members to deduct the cost of their union dues from their state taxes.

“This new benefit will put an estimated $35 million back into the pockets of our members in private sector, public sector, and building trades unions throughout the state.

“We welcome this new benefit particularly at a time when the right of working people to join a union is increasingly under attack.

“The Labor Movement provides the best way for working people to get ahead and this new benefit will help us in our fight to continue to grow the middle class.

“On behalf of the 2.5 million members of the New York State AFL-CIO, I want to thank Governor Cuomo for once again taking the lead and recognizing the value of union membership and the importance of providing the Labor Movement with another helpful tool for organizing working men and women.

“I want to also thank Speaker Heastie, Majority Leader Flanagan and Independent Democratic Conference Leader Klein for listening to the working men and women of this state and understanding how this new provision will positively impact the lives of all New Yorkers,” said Cilento. (*see end of statement for more detail)

“Among the other issues included in the spending plan that advance the agenda of working people in the private sector, public sector and building trades are: an agreement on 421-a that spends taxpayer dollars in a responsible way by creating good middle-class jobs and more affordable housing, a commitment to fund clean water initiatives to help communities monitor and protect this most precious commodity, extension of the millionaires’ tax to help address income inequality and help fund vital public services as well as infrastructure initiatives, preserving vital benefits for injured workers and giving a voice to workers, and community members on the future of Indian Point.

“We remain committed to working with our partners in the legislature to continue to improve the lives of working people, now and into the future,” said Cilento.

* This will increase the number of union members in the state eligible to deduct their union dues on their state tax return. Right now, only a small percentage of union members that itemize deductions on their federal taxes take this deduction due to limitations built into the law.  The state budget agreement removes those limitations at the state level. Members will still need to itemize at the federal and state level to take advantage of the new deduction.  For those who currently do itemize at the federal level, the state will get rid of the current limit on the deduction and allow the full amount of union dues to be deducted.  Previously, only the amount in excess of 2% of an individual’s adjusted gross income was deductible.

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President’s Message

Injured Workers Need Our Help

The NYS AFL-CIO has always stood with workers who endure life changing injuries through no fault of their own. We will never stop fighting to make sure all workers get the medical care and adequate wage replacement they need to get back on the job or make sure they are not abandoned if they are too ill or injured to ever work again.

The workers’ compensation system was created to provide injured workers prompt access to high-quality medical care and wage replacement while protecting businesses from lawsuits when a worker is injured. For injured workers however, the system has become bogged down by expensive litigation, costly delays and unnecessary barriers to care.

Let’s make sure the hard-working men and women who go off to work each day, many doing risky jobs that keep New York’s economy moving, do so knowing we have their backs. We must improve access to benefits, remove barriers to care and enhance the ability of all workers to more easily and efficiently work within the system. Most importantly we must make sure the benefits are adequate.

Workers have a right to be protected from injury on the job and they have a right to compensation and medical care should an injury occur. It’s that simple. We urge our legislators to stand with us to make sure that will always be the case.

 

Mario Cilento, President

Call To Action

LABOR LOBBYISTS MEETING
Monday, March 27, 2017, 1:00 p.m.

100 South Swan Street, Albany, NY

Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli will address the lobbyists.

Issue of the Week

Oppose Removing Protections for Injured Workers

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This legislation would compel the Workers’ Compensation Board to implement impairment guidelines that have not been publicly reviewed and have the potential to drastically cut schedule loss of use awards. These awards are made to some of the most severely, permanently injured workers.

Any updated guidelines must be drafted with input from all stakeholders. Issuing these guidelines without that input will hurt injured workers and employers alike.

It is important to remember; the workers’ compensation system is in place to protect businesses from lawsuits when an employee is injured. In return, the system is supposed to ensure those workers have prompt access to adequate wage replacement benefits, high-quality medical care and guaranteed, albeit relatively low, payouts for loss of use of a body part. This legislation would further whittle away at the second half of that bargain.

For further information contact Mike Neidl at 518-436-8516 or by email information@nysaflcio.org

Legislative Alert 2016

President’s Message

Assembly Majority Tax Plan Returns Fairness to the System

The NYS AFL-CIO applauds Speaker Heastie and the Assembly Majority for fighting to restore a progressive personal income tax in New York State. The plan would keep the increased 8.82% tax rate that was enacted in 2009 for those with incomes over $1 million.

The plan would also create new top tax brackets as follows: for those earning between $5-$10 million – 9.32%; for those between $10-$100 million – 9.82%; and for those with $100 million or more – 10.32%. The proposal would allow the additional higher rate of 8.82% expire for those earning under $1 million.

This plan would generate $5.6 billion in revenue and would return progressivity to New York’s regressive tax system that helped contribute to years of deficits and budget instability. Prior to enactment of the millionaire’s tax, New York’s highest rate was 6.65%. The wealthiest families in New York paid at the exact same rate as many moderate to low income families.

Even now New York has the greatest income inequality than any other state. The wealthiest 1% of taxpayers take home most of the income gains, but pay a smaller share of their income in combined state and local taxes than lower and middle-income families.

Arguments that the additional tax would drive wealthy New Yorkers away have not come to pass. In fact, recent data provided by the Fiscal Policy Institute shows the number of millionaires in New York State has grown by one-third since enactment of the millionaire’s tax.
Meanwhile the additional revenue generated by this plan will fund vital public services including education, health care, mental health, transportation and infrastructure.
We urge the support of our elected officials on this plan and will work for passage in the final state budget.

 

Mario Cilento, President

Call To Action


LABOR LOBBYISTS MEETING

Monday, March 20, 2017, 1:00 p.m.100 South Swan Street, Albany, NYAssemblyman Peter Abbate, Chair of the Committee on Governmental Employees will address the lobbyists.

Issue of the Week

Oppose Cuts for those who Suffer Severe Workplace Injuries

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We strongly oppose this legislation to eliminate schedule loss of use awards. These awards are made to some of the most severely, permanently injured workers – those who experience amputations, severe facial disfigurement, vision loss, hearing loss or other permanent loss of use of extremities.

It is important to remember the workers’ compensation system protects businesses from lawsuits when an employee is injured. In return, the system is supposed to ensure those workers have prompt access to adequate wage replacement benefits, high-quality medical care and guaranteed, albeit relatively low, payouts for loss of use of a body part. This legislation would eviscerate the second half of that bargain, and would leave injured workers NO remedy for loss of use of an extremity .

We urge opposition to this draconian benefit cut.

For further information contact Mike Neidl at 518-436-8516 or by email information@nysaflcio.org

IBEW 3 Strike Line (1)
Last week, after nine years on the job, I joined my sisters and brothers of IBEW Local 3 in standing up and striking against Charter/Spectrum Cable over their continued disrespect of workers and the customers we serve. This decision was not made lightly.

For years, my coworkers and I have been targeted for punishment because we advocate for our customers. *Customers who deserve the services they were promised. We take great union pride in the work we do, but Charter/Spectrum is refusing to provide us the tools, resources and support we need to do our jobs properly.

In addition, the company has proposed drastic health care cuts for unionized workers and their families and wants to eliminate our pensions and job security. We decided we simply can no longer stay silent.

We can win. With your help we can show a Multi-Billion dollar company like Charter/Spectrum that labor and the community stand together! Here are the actions you can take now to support the fight:

1).  Sign the petition to CEO Thomas Rutledge. Tell him it’s time to show respect to workers and customers.

2).  Join a picket line near you at Charter/Spectrum pay centers.

In Solidarity,

Joseph Mossa
IBEW Local 3 Technician on Strike at Charter/Spectrum Communications


*Recently New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman made the decision to sue Spectrum/Charter communications for misleading customers by failing to deliver the faster Internet speed and performance they were promised.

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Statement of New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento in response to

Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan’s proposed Workers’ Compensation Reforms

“The only proposals we’ve seen so far under the guise of workers’ compensation reform would result in steep cuts in benefits to injured workers without any guarantee of savings to employers.

“The duration cap updates that have been proposed will harm injured workers by ending benefits sooner and the burden will then be transferred as an unfunded mandate when injured workers turn to social services from local governments to fill the gap.

“As in the past, the New York State AFL-CIO will support legislation that increases injured workers’ access to high-quality medical care and adequate wage replacement while vigorously opposing any attempts to cut benefits or limit access to care.”

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ON ASSEMBLY HEALTH COMMITTEE 2/14/2017

NEW YORK HEALTH ACT

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The New York State AFL-CIO, representing 2.5 million union members and their families, as well as our retirees and their families, supports the above referenced legislation.

This bill would enact the New York Health Act to establish a single payer, universal health care system in New York State.  All residents would be eligible to participate and enroll in NY Health which would establish a comprehensive medical insurance program, coordinate that program with all current providers including Taft-Hartley funds, and establish parameters with regard to enrollment, covered services, provider participation and other aspects of the program.

The cost of maintaining the current system of health care in today’s economy has made it cost-prohibitive for too many employers to provide insurance for their workers. Those employers that are able to afford this cost are finding it harder to do so, thanks in large part to multi-payer systems which contributes to out-of-control costs.

Not only are employers feeling this hardship, but as more of the cost has been passed along to workers in the form of higher premiums, deductibles and copays, the financial well-being of workers is being challenged.  Unions are finding it more difficult to negotiate pay raises and other benefits as a result of holding the line on health insurance benefits.  Meanwhile, those who do not have insurance, particularly if they are not eligible for subsidies to pay for coverage required under the Affordable Care Act, face even more extreme financial hardship.  

This bill would codify the right to access health care in this state, and by establishing a single payer system it will alleviate employers and individuals from the costs of health insurance or worse, drastic medical bills that can lead to financial ruin. This will reduce overall cost in the system and allow for more effective administration and management for the provision of health care. The bill further will reduce long term health care costs by ensuring that all New Yorkers have access to ongoing and regular preventative care.   

Therefor this federation urges passage.

For further information, contact the Legislative Department at 518-436-8516

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ON ASSEMBLY HEALTH COMMITTEE 2/14/2017

SUPPORT DOCTORS’ ABILITY TO PROVIDE CARE

 

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The New York State AFL-CIO, representing 2.5 million union members and their families, as well as our retirees and their families, supports the above referenced legislation.

This bill would allow doctors the ability to negotiate with large HMOs for issues that affect their ability to treat patients, their business operations and their own livelihoods. Without this basic right, independent physicians are powerless to challenge the practices of huge health insurance companies that offer “take it or leave it” contracts which almost always contain provisions which are not only unfair to providers but unfair to patients as well. These provisions can often limit a doctor’s ability to decide appropriate courses of treatment.  Without appropriate input from the doctor, these plans can result in health care decisions being made by insurance personnel rather than health care professionals.

This law will empower physicians to advocate for their patients, encourage competition among health care plans, and restore some semblance of fairness and balance in a marketplace that is increasingly and overwhelmingly dominated by one sector of the health care industry. Most importantly, it will enhance the quality of health care for all New Yorkers which is being jeopardized by the vast power wielded by huge health insurers with tremendous market domination.

Therefore, this Federation urges this bill be passed.

For further information, contact the Legislative Department at 518-436-8516.