Unfortunately, unemployment continues to plague specific regions and industries including hospitality, hotel and entertainment as well as office work and many others.

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.

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.