The legalization of adult-use cannabis provides the foundation for a new revenue and job-creating industry that will sustain our economy for generations.

This tremendous victory would not have been possible without the unwavering commitment and determination of RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum and RWDSU Local 338 President John Durso.  The entire Labor Movement thanks them both for their leadership on this groundbreaking victory.

In 2020 prior to the outbreak of the pandemic, the state created an MRT II Task Force to cut $2.5 billion in Medicaid funding. It was a mere week after the MRT II process started that hospitals and other health care facilities were on the verge of overflowing due to the worst health care crisis in our lifetime. It is important to note, the state was making these cuts despite Wall Street performing at record highs, unemployment was at record lows and the economy was in overall great shape.

The NYS AFL-CIO and its affiliates have been working to implement the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act in an effective and responsible way. Many affiliates have been involved in the panels and workgroups that were created to provide input about reducing the state’s carbon emissions, improve environmental and energy policy, and transition industries negatively impacted by the CLCPA to protect jobs and the tax base as well.

This past week the NYS Senate passed legislation to grant up to four hours of paid leave for workers to get COVID-19 vaccinations. This will help speed up the herd immunity process and encourage individuals to get vaccinated. We must all do our part to eradicate COVID-19 and its variants, and vaccination is one of the ways we will accomplish this. The Assembly has already passed this important bill and the Democratic majorities in both houses deserve credit for their leadership.

New Yorkers have been suffering from the physical, economic and mental health effects of this pandemic for over a year. Mental health issues have affected many New Yorkers, especially youths who have seen a massive increase in suicides over that time. Mental health professionals have highlighted the need to remain vigilant as the stress from the pandemic, job loss, school closures and other economic fallout continues to weigh heavily on the minds of New Yorkers.