Governor Cuomo has included a proposal in his Executive budget that requires employers to allow certain workers to accrue paid sick days. We applaud this proposal and believe it is time for all workers to be assured they will not lose their pay as a result of becoming sick and unable to work. This is important for all workers, but especially for low wage workers, who all too often live from paycheck-to-paycheck and cannot afford to lose a day’s pay.

If ever we needed proof that New York’s revenue system is unfair and unreliable, it is this year. The stock market is booming and has been for years; unemployment is almost as low as it gets; taxes have been cut and capped at every level of government; and the overall economy is humming with the longest bull market in its history. We should be in a healthy budget year but our revenue structure - which has always failed us during the bad times – is so broken that it is now failing us during the good times.

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.

A top priority this year will be the fight to ensure that gig economy workers are no longer treated as second class citizens. Problems with wage and tip theft, unfair hiring, safety and worker injuries, unresolved claims of discrimination or harassment and other unfair workplace situations are common. We need to do better for these workers and end their exploitation.

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.