Legislative Alerts

President's Message

What We Owe Workers Who Risked Everything

The MRTA will allow adults aged 21 and over to possess up to 3 ounces of cannabis and establish parameters to grow their own product.

President's Message - The Fight for Farmworkers Continues

After last year’s historic passage of the Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act, it is important that we continue to advocate on behalf of farmworkers as the law is implemented and ensure that farmworkers can exercise their right to form unions. We proudly stand with the RWDSU/UFCW which is actively organizing farmworkers in order to improve their lives.

Unfortunately, a lawsuit was filed shortly after the law took effect. Among other things, opponents of the law challenged its application to family members of farm owners and supervisors. Despite the lawsuit, the law has taken effect. The Governor has proposed language in the executive budget proposal that would clarify the challenged language. The NYS AFL-CIO is working with the executive and legislature to address these issues and make the lawsuit moot.

The NYS AFL-CIO is also continuing work to make sure that farmworkers are treated equally. The law implemented a threshold for overtime pay for farmworkers at 60 hours per week, in an attempt to smooth the transition for employers.   However, the law also provided a mechanism to improve on the 60-hour work week by establishing a farmworker wage board empowered to reduce the threshold. Former NYS AFL-CIO President Denis Hughes was appointed to the wage board. The wage board will hear input from stakeholders and is empowered to reduce the 60-hour threshold. The NYS AFL-CIO will continue to fight for a 40-hour work week. The Wage board is scheduled to meet over the next several weeks. The schedule and locations are listed. We encourage interested affiliates to attend and testify on behalf of the farmworkers.

We thank all our affiliates for their past and continued support in making sure farmworkers are treated with dignity and respect.

Mario Cilento, President

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

President's Message - Paid Sick Days for All Workers

President's Message

Our Revenue System Is Failing Us

President's Message

Fairness and Flexibility for Gig Workers

The overwhelming public support for ending the unfair treatment of their workers, has led app-based companies to engage in a public campaign to convince people that somehow the flexible hours that many of their workers enjoy will disappear if they have to follow the labor laws that apply to every other employer in New York.  

They are waging this campaign because a report by the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations on the work experiences of gig economy workers shows unstable earnings, lack of benefits and harassment were common concerns for these workers. Also, a recent poll by Siena Research Institute found that 75 percent of those polled support ensuring that workers in the gig economy receive basic employee protections.

App-based companies have driven down labor standards since their inception, hurting gig workers, while simultaneously disadvantaging traditional businesses who correctly classify their workers as employees. There is no reason app-based companies should not abide by the same rules as traditional employers, particularly when in many instances, gig workers perform the same job as traditional employees.

Governor Cuomo has recognized this and emphasized that more than 40 percent of New Yorkers will be employed in the gig economy this year. He has put forth a framework to give these workers a fighting chance to be treated fairly while enjoying the same rights and protections as other workers.

These companies challenge every ruling and new law that attempts to fix this problem and now they are spending millions on ads that tacitly threaten to take away flexibility from their workers. This behavior is exactly why we have labor laws in the first place. Given the reports of wage and tip theft, harassment, worker injuries and unaddressed labor complaints, the time to act is now.

Mario Cilento, President

President's Message

Gig Economy Workers Deserve Fairness

President's Message

2020's Challenges can also be Opportunities

President's Message

Gig Economy Workers Need Our Help Now