Legislative Alert: February 21, 2020

President's Message - Include Labor Peace Agreements in Adult-Use Cannabis

The NYS AFL-CIO strongly supports inclusion of a labor peace agreement as the centerpiece of legislation to establish a legal and well-regulated adult-use cannabis market in the state. Further, current unionized medical cannabis companies that have already invested and created jobs in New York should be authorized to lead the way in all phases of the new cannabis industry. This is the only way to ensure legal parameters are followed, local communities heal from past cannabis enforcement, and we reap the economic benefits of creating good jobs and a reliable revenue stream.

We should establish a program to get economic and support programs in place for individuals that faced criminal justice, health and other socio-economic issues related to cannabis. The best way to do that is to create a pipeline of good-paying jobs with health insurance and pension benefits for those individuals. Labor peace agreements have already created a future for thousands of workers in the medical cannabis sector and will create opportunity for many thousands more in the adult-use sector.

The NYS AFL-CIO has partnered with our affiliate RWDSU, Cornell ILR and the Workforce Development Institute to establish a training and placement program to do just that. The NYS AFL-CIO also supports small business participation and ownership opportunities in the new market. Entrepreneurial training and responsible business practices must be a part of that process.

Finally, the NYS AFL-CIO supports funding for law enforcement training and equipment, research programs and local government assistance to ensure legal parameters are followed and our communities and roadways are protected as cannabis becomes legal. The only way to do this is to ensure the product is safe, securely supplied and taxed at appropriate levels to ensure there is a viable and stable market. The current medical cannabis industry is best poised to provide that revenue stream and the resources to make this a beneficial industry for workers and the communities they live and work in alike.

Mario Cilento, President

Call To Action

Monday, February 24, 2020, 1:00 p.m.
100 South Swan Street, Albany, NY
Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli will be the guest speaker.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020, 1:00 p.m.
100 South Swan Street, Albany, NY

Issue of the Week

Protect Public Employees Rights
Part W of S7505/A9505
Public Protection and General Government Budget Bill

This legislation amends various sections of the civil service law to clarify procedures by which public employers ensure that adequate information is provided to new hires with regard to their right to join a union.

Specifically, this bill requires public employers that have new employee orientation meetings to provide notice to unions and allow unions access to those meetings. It also includes technical measures to ensure that unions continue to have access to lists of new hires.

This proposal will help protect and preserve the New York state constitutional right for all workers to unionize. This will ensure that all new hires in the public sector are afforded the information and opportunity to become a member of the appropriate bargaining unit and the benefits that go along with being a union member.

Given that wage inequality is rampant and the ongoing decline of the middle class, organized labor is now more than ever a necessary voice for working people. Strengthening and preserving the right to join a union will mean better wages, benefits, and conditions of employment, as well as a brighter future for all workers and their families.

Therefore, this Federation urges this bill be passed.