Legislative Alert – June 2, 2017

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President’s Message

Reject Rolling Back Worker Paycheck Protections

The increased use of debit cards over the last decade as method of payroll was sold as a modern, convenient way for employees to access their pay and an alternative for low wage workers to avoid predatory check cashing companies. Inevitably, however, the unchecked use of debit cards for payroll has led to many workers getting unfairly charged to access their pay.

Debit cards can be an option for employees but it’s imperative that we do not replace one bad industry with another by allowing ATM vendors, financial institutions or any other company to nickel and dime workers out of their hard-earned pay. Unfortunately, recent revelations by the Attorney General and the Department of Labor found that is exactly what was happening. That is why the Department of Labor put regulations in place to protect workers from abusive debit card practices.

The regulations included a prohibition against unreasonable fees, assurances that employers could not impose the use of debit cards on their workers, adequate notification of the terms of use, as well as worker privacy and security protections. Also, included in the regulations were guarantees for geographic access to ATMs or banks so workers could access their check without having to travel or pay a fee.

These strong protections are particularly important for low wage workers and immigrant workers. Unfortunately, the lucrative debit card industry fought these protections and an appointed, administrative board overturned them saying DOL lacked the authority to establish the regulations. Now they are trying to replace these protections with weaker legislation.

The regulatory matter is on appeal and now in the courts. As we move toward the end of session, we urge our elected officials to resist the promises of “fair play” if only we roll back these protections and we need to reject the threats that they will no longer offer these cards. Until the courts decide we should not make any changes to weaken these vital regulations.

We urge opposition to S5208A/A6771A.

 

Mario Cilento, President

Call To Action

NEXT LABOR LOBBYISTS MEETING
Monday, June 12, 2017, 1:00 p.m.100 South Swan Street, Albany, NY

Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon
will address the lobbyists

Issue of the Week

Support The Public Workforce
A7396A Gunther/S5680 Ortt

This legislation would prohibit a state agency from decreasing full time equivalent (FTE) positions if more than 25 percent of their employees worked overtime the previous year.

The downsizing of the state workforce has led to a staffing crisis in state agencies that now rely on overtime to maintain adequate staffing levels. Within the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), overtime hours increased 7.7 percent from 2014 to 2015. The typical amount of overtime earned was more than 19 hours per pay period in 2015. This trend is not sustainable.

Inadequate staffing levels have led to an increase in workplace injuries and increase workers’ compensation costs. Employees are concerned that if these extreme workloads continue they will not be able to provide the highest quality of care for their clients.

Therefore, this federation urges passage of this legislation.

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