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Statement of New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento on Labor’s legislative victories on AI, WC, and IDA reform

New York State AFL-CIO
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Albany, NY – The Union Movement is celebrating several victories this legislative session on the heels of a successful state budget cycle for labor. We commend and thank Speaker Carl Heastie, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and the Democratic Majorities of both houses for passing key bills that, with the governor’s signature, will significantly improve workers' lives.

Artificial Intelligence

The Union Movement's commitment to workers' rights and protections is underscored by the passage of the Legislative Oversight of Automated Decision-making in Government Act (LOADinG Act). If signed into law, this act will regulate and ensure the responsible use of artificial intelligence by state agencies. AI’s development and implementation in government will have a profound impact on the future of work and services, with the potential for improvement if appropriately used. Still, it comes with the threat of job loss, privacy and security concerns, and bias-related access problems. This bill would ensure AI is used with appropriate human oversight and would prohibit workers from being displaced by the implementation of AI.

Workers’ Compensation

Workers who have job-related PTSD would be able to get the full protections of the workers’ compensation law and all the care it affords, regardless of their occupation, position, or title, with the signing of legislation that prohibits the denial of valid claims. It is a step toward ensuring injured and ill workers can recover and return to work, regardless of whether their injury or illness is physical or mental.

Industrial Development Agency

Finally, another bill passed this session would, for the first time, require that a worker and school district representative be appointed to every municipal Industrial Development Agency board. This would allow these representatives to provide input before offers of tax breaks or other local assistance for economic development are made.

All these bills were critical priorities for the Union Movement and will substantially benefit workers by protecting them while providing much-needed transparency and accountability to the public.