Legislative Alert: January 13, 2020

President's Message

2020's Challenges can also be Opportunities

On behalf of our 2.5 million members, retirees and their families across New York State, I welcome everyone in the labor movement back to Albany, and I wish each of you a healthy and happy New Year. We are coming off an incredibly successful 2019, thanks to the hard work and advocacy of the labor movement and our partnership with Governor Cuomo and the Democratic majorities in the Senate and Assembly.

As always, there is more to do especially given the challenges we face in the coming year. We have a possible $6 billion budget deficit at the state level, a federal government that has turned its’ back on our state, an economy that is working well for the wealthy, but is still leaving too many people behind, and all with the backdrop of global instability.

We must work with the Governor and Legislature to offset the deficit in the Medicaid program to ensure that we do not put vital health care services at risk and still meet the needs of education, higher education, state services, infrastructure and aid to localities. Our priority will be to protect these services by exploring every revenue option available, so that the programs and services working families and the needy rely on will continue to be accessible.  

We must enact policies at the state level to offset the federal government’s neglect of vital labor, public safety and health policies. We will collectively continue our commitment to improving labor law enforcement, worksite safety and the rights of workers in the workplace, to counterbalance anti-worker policies from Washington D.C. Offsetting the Janus decision, helping lift workers’ voices in the private sector and preventing workplace injuries will be priorities in 2020.

Another priority will be to continue our commitment to making sure all workers have the same rights and protections. It is true that a rising tide lifts all boats, and it is also true that any time we allow any worker to be exploited, we leave the door open to our own exploitation down the road.

Simply put, we need protections for workers who do not have the benefit of union representation. With our strong support, the Governor is moving forward with a wage order to help thousands of “tipped” workers get minimum wage to end their exploitation in dozens of industries. We will fight to ensure workers in emerging industries, like adult-use cannabis, have access to union representation. And, we will continue the fight to ensure “gig economy” workers are no longer denied the same basic fairness of labor rights and protections that all other workers have.

None of these goals are easily solved. But they are all achievable, particularly when labor joins together and speaks with one voice. We look forward to working with the Governor and Legislature to ensure that we will be successful in 2020.

Mario Cilento, President

Call To Action

Tuesday, January 14, 2020, 1:00 p.m.
946A LOB  
            Mario Cilento will be the guest speaker            

Monday, January 27, 2020, 1:00 p.m.
100 South Swan Street, Albany, NY