July 16, 2022 - cnn.com
By dialing only three numbers, anyone can now reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for mental health crises. On June 16, 2022, the nonprofit that operates the lifeline on behalf of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration launched the 988 dialing code available to everyone across the United States. Read More >>
July 12, 2022 - laborpress.org
A 2003 EPA Inspector General report held the EPA accountable for mischaracterizing the air quality in lower Manhattan as "safe to breathe." A growing coalition of unions and survivors say it's time for the City of New York to come clean with what then Mayor Rudy Giuliani knew and when he knew it about the toxic air that has killed thousands and sickened tens of thousands. Read More >>
June 27, 2022 - nytimes.com
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is calling for a House investigation into whether two Supreme Court justices, Neil Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh, who voted to overturn Roe v. Wade should be impeached for lying at their confirmation hearings about their views of the landmark abortion-rights case. Read More >>
June 27, 2022 - gothamist.com
New York City’s law extending voting rights in municipal elections to noncitizens who are legally allowed to live, work and go to school in the five boroughs violates the New York State Constitution, according to a ruling issued by Justice Ralph Porzio in Richmond County State Supreme Court on Monday. Read More >>
June 24, 2022 - npr.org
In a historic and far-reaching decision, the U.S. Supreme Court officially reversed Roe v. Wade on June 24, 2022, declaring that the constitutional right to abortion that's been upheld for 50 years no longer exists. Read More >>
June 23, 2022 - scotusblog.com
The Supreme Court of the United States struck down a New York handgun-licensing law on June 23, 2022, that required New Yorkers who want to carry a handgun in public to show a special need to defend themselves. The 6-3 ruling is the court’s first significant decision on gun rights in more than a decade. In a far-reaching ruling, the court made clear that the Second Amendment’s guarantee of the right “to keep and bear arms” protects a broad right to carry a handgun outside the home for self-defense. Read More >>
May 16, 2022 - spectrumlocalnews.com
The court-appointed special master tasked with drawing New York's new congressional and state Senate maps released a preliminary draft of the new congressional boundaries Monday the state will have for the next decade.
Carnegie Mellon University Fellow Jonathan Cervas as special master drew lines for the state's 26 House seats, with 15 leaning Democratic, three leaning Republican and eight falling in the 45-55% competitive range. Read More >>
May 9, 2022 - cityandstateny.com
State Attorney General Letitia James and lawmakers announced new legislation aimed to help not only New Yorkers seeking abortions, but also those from other states where the procedure is poised to get banned if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade. Read More >>
May 3, 2022 - politico.com
The Supreme Court has voted to strike down the landmark Roe v. Wade decision, according to an initial draft majority opinion written by Justice Samuel Alito circulated inside the court. Read More >>
May 3, 2022 - cityandstateny.com
Gov. Kathy Hochul announced she will appoint Rep. Antonio Delgado to fill out the rest of Brian Benjamin's term as lieutenant governor. That will leave his upstate swing seat open at a time Democrats are desperate to hold onto the House, and with district lines in limbo in the state. Delgado will also be tapped to replace Benjamin on the primary ballot as he runs to win a full term as the state’s number two. Read More >>
May 24, 2022 - nbcnewyork.com
Congressional and state seats have changed. Before this summer’s primary elections, find out how your old districts stack up with your new ones. Read More & Enter Your Address to See if You've Been Redistricted >>
April 27, 2022 - cityandstateny.com
The long redistricting saga in New York will only continue, as the Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling that deemed newly drawn state Senate and congressional maps unconstitutional. Read More >>
March 25, 2022 - cbsnews.com
As you have recently seen, many Unions, along with many residents, are greatly troubled by what appears to be a stark double standard between athletes/performers, on the one hand, and public employees, on the other, regarding continuation of the vaccine mandates. While a number of Unions had challenged the vaccine mandates as intrusive and unneeded in light of testing options, it was one thing to abide when the mandate was applied uniformly but it is another to treat public employees in a less favorable, discriminatory manner. This is all the more disturbing when one considers that these workers, without fanfare or glory, came to their jobs each day facing the perils of COVID-19 in person during the worst of the pandemic to provide services to the residents of this great City. That the Nets or Mets might be at some disadvantage in having roster limitations hardly seems to have greater public import than in the loss of livelihood to hard-working New Yorkers who are the backbone of this City. Moreover, while the City has an understandable interest in the public health, the City has in recent weeks moved towards a return to normalcy, jettisoning much of the vaccine limitations in the private sector. In light of these developments, we ask, on behalf of the NYC Municipal Labor Committee, that the City meet with us to address issues regarding the groups of public employees who were summarily terminated or who went on unpaid leave for being unvaccinated and have a right to return. Fairness requires that this move towards normalcy also apply to the people who have served the City. Just as the City reached out to the MLC and the Unions for their cooperation and support in keeping the City going and fighting back the pandemic, we now look to you, as restrictions are being rolled back, to work with us to ease the burden on public employees. We ask to meet across the table and discuss pathways for all affected employees to return to work and continue to serve the City and its residents.
In response to NYC Mayor Eric Adams exempting the city’s athletes and performers from the Big Apple’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate following weeks of pressure after it kept Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving from playing in home games — and was expected to block some baseball players from taking the field next month, the Municipal Labor Committee issued the following statement:
"Mayor Adams’ decision to eliminate a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for those in professional sports and the entertainment industry but maintain the requirement for municipal employees discriminates against the more than 1,400 municipal workers who were terminated for not being vaccinated. There should not be a re-entry system for the elite and no system for the City workers who risked their health to provide essential services over the last two years. I have requested that the City work with the MLC to design a fair-to-all re-entry system."
EXECUTED VACCINATION MOAs
Oct. 4, 2021: Local 300 SEIU and the Department of Education >>
Nov. 4, 2021: Local 300 SEIU and the City of New York >>
Nov. 3, 2021: Since the filing of the Improper Practice Charge against the City for failure to bargain implementation of its latest vaccine mandate there have been bargaining sessions with a number of groups. These sessions have also have produced discussion with the City focusing on the unfairness of the short timeframe to deal with the hastily-issued mandate. The most recent discussions benefited from the involvement of Marty Scheinman. With Marty’s assistance, we have arrived at the following:
Given the uncertainty swirling around effective dates, the City will allow those who filed medical or religious exemption/accommodation requests through 11:59 p.m. on November 2nd to be included within the group that will remain on payroll through either the City agency or independent Scheinman appeal process (previous cutoff was Oct. 27th and, as set out below, only allowed for continuation of pay if the employee chose the City agency appeal path);
Employees will be able to file new exemption/accommodation requests today through 11:59 p.m. on Friday, November 5th; those who file during this period will remain on payroll through the agency determination of the request, not through the appeal process (this opportunity was foreclosed by the prior Order). If an appeal is granted, the employee will be paid retroactive to the date of the agency determination.
For appeals of agency denials of exemption/accommodation requests, there will be two separate processes, the City “statutory” one and the independent Scheinman group, but now both will be treated the same; that is, for employees who filed for exemption/accommodation by November 2, workers will remain on payroll through determination of appeal under either path (previously, the City was not allowing employees to remain on payroll if they chose the independent Scheinman path); and
For those workers who were placed on leave without pay as of November 1, but get their first vaccine by 11:59 p.m. this Friday, November 5, Scheinman will have jurisdiction to meet and discuss with the City and Unions how their period of unpaid status should be addressed.
For those Unions interested in going forward on this basis, these provisions will be folded into a Memorandum of Agreement, one for Civilian Unions and one for Uniformed Unions (the difference being the separation incentive since Uniformed workers have unlimited sick leave), that OLR will provide this afternoon. As contemplated, the process is modeled on the initial Scheinman Arbitration Award for the DOE unions (including leave of absence and separation incentives with continued healthcare through June 30, 2022), with the modifications highlighted above, and other changes regarding a potentially broader view of exceptions under the City appeal path and a waiver of certain aspects of further appeal from the Scheinman appeal path. We will have recommendations from the lawyers on the full MOA once received. Given the new opportunities for members this week, you are urged to consider all this promptly and get the word out as appropriate.
In a closely watched Nov. 29, 2021, decision, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Amazon had committed serious violations of federal labor law during a union campaign at a warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama. The NLRB attacked Amazon’s “flagrant disregard” for election rules, saying it “essentially hijacked the process.” Meanwhile in Buffalo, baristas at Starbucks voted to unionize on Dec. 9. Read More >>
Richard Trumka, the powerful president of the AFL-CIO who rose from the coal mines of Pennsylvania to preside over one of the largest labor organizations in the world, died Aug. 5, 2021, at the age of 72. Trumka led the AFL-CIO since 2009, overseeing a federation with more than 12.5 million members. Before that, he was secretary-treasurer of the organization for 14 years. But labor was in his blood from an early age. He grew up in a coal mining town in southwestern Pennsylvania. He was the son and grandson of coal miners and worked in the mines as well before and while attending college and law school. In 1982, at age 33, he was elected the youngest president of the United Mine Workers of America, pledging that the then-troubled union “shall rise again.”
Trumka, while at the United Mine Workers, led a successful strike against the Pittston Coal Company, which tried to avoid paying into an industry-wide health and pension fund. Trumka never shied away from controversy in order to get results. In 1993, he led a nationwide strike against Peabody Coal. While he will be remembered for myriad contributions he made during his tenure, ironically, in one of his final acts, Trumka appeared on video at a rally in support of striking coal miners at Warrior Met Coal in Alabama. Workers there had been striking since April 1 for better pay and benefits. On Aug. 4, about 2,000 people attended a rally in support, at which time Trumka said, "I stand with my brothers and sisters at Warrior Met. I stand with you today. I stand with you tomorrow. And I'll stand with you for as long as it takes to win a fair contract." One day later, Richard Trumka passed away. His current term as AFL-CIO president was set to expire this year. While some reports say his retirement was widely expected, he had not announced his plans.
Liz Shuler, then AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer, was elected as President and Fred Redmond as secretary-treasurer, becoming the first female to lead the labor federation and the first African American to serve as its second-in-command.
August 24, 2021
Makes History As First Female Leads the State
Former Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul was sworn in as New York’s first female governor at 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021, becoming the 57th governor to lead the state. She takes over mid-term for Andrew Cuomo who resigned amidst a sexual harassment scandal that surfaced last year and came to a head with a report released by State Attorney General Letitia James. When Hochul made her first formal address as governor later that day, she laid out her priorities, including a mask mandate and a vaccine requirement for all school personnel, along "with an option to test out weekly, at least for now." Other pressing issues included the state's eviction moratorium, which is set to expire at the end of the month, as well as reforming the state's slow-moving $2.7 billion rental relief fund and its $2.1 billion worker relief fund, as well as reforms to sexual harassment and ethics training procedures and policies for state employees. Read more here or here.
The State Legislature passed the Early Retirement Incentive (ERI) in early April and Governor Cuomo signed it into law on April 19. The ERI would allow certain employees covered by NYCERS, TRS, and BERS to retire by increasing their pension benefits either by crediting them with extra years worked or eliminating the pension reduction usually taken when an employee retires before age 55 with 25 years of service. Chapter 59 of the Laws of 2021 provides the City of New York and the NYC Department of Education (DOE), the option to elect an ERI. Eligible members may not file for the ERI until the two entities have elected to participate, established an Open Enrollment Period, and the Open Enrollment begins.
The ERI law contains two retirement options, Part A and Part B. The Mayor, however, can deny the ERI to any individual or title deemed “critical” for revenue or public safety reasons. According to NYCERS, if Part A is elected, the Mayor and/or Chancellor will define what titles are eligible to apply.
With Part A, eligible members are given additional qualifying service credit for up to three years. With Part B, eligible members may retire without early retirement reduction factors and are not given additional service credit. Members can apply for only one, and must be in continuous active service (being on the payroll, on leave with pay, or on leave without pay for less than 12 weeks) preceding the Open Enrollment Period.
Eligible members choosing Part A must be eligible for service retirement, 50+ years old with 10+ years of service if not otherwise eligible to retire, or in a plan that allows for retirement at 25 years of service, regardless of age. In this case, the additional service credit provided by Part A of the ERI may be used to reach the required 25 years.
Eligible members choosing Part B must be at least 55 years old and have 25+ years of creditable service.
The NYCERS website defines the ERI benefit for Part A as one month of additional service credit per year of pension service with a maximum additional service credit of three years. Early retirement age reduction factors will apply differently based on a member’s tier, with age reductions prorated for partial years.
Tier 1: 5% per year prior to age 55
Members 55 or older with 30 or more years of service: no reduction
55/25: 5% per year prior to age 55. Members with more than 25 years of service in a physically taxing title: no reduction
Basic Tier 2 62/5: 6% reduction for each year of the two years prior to age 62; additional 3% each year prior to age 60. Members with 30 or more years of service: 5% reduction for each year prior to age 55
62/5: 6% reduction for each year of the two years prior to age 62; additional 3% each year prior to age 60. Members with 30 or more years of service: 5% reduction for each year prior to age 55
57/5: 1/30 for first two years prior to age 57; additional 1/20 per year prior to age 55. Members with more than 25 years of service in a physically taxing title: no reduction
55/25: 5% per year prior to age 55. Members with more than 25 years of service in a physically taxing title: no reduction
With the Part B option, eligible members can retire with an unreduced benefit. Part B does not provide additional service credit.
If approved by the Mayor, the ERI in NYCERS cannot start before June 30, 2021, and cannot end later than Oct. 31, 2021. The ERI in TRS cannot start before April 1, 2021, and end no later than Aug. 3, 2021. The open application period for both is expected to be 90 days, with a mandatory 14 day notification from members. All pension members would retire under the rules of their current tier and plan.
New York Legalizes Recreational Marijuana, Tying Move to Racial Equity
After years of stalled attempts, New York State has legalized the use of recreational marijuana, enacting a robust program that will reinvest millions of dollars of tax revenues from cannabis in minority communities ravaged by the decades-long war on drugs. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo signed the cannabis legislation on Wednesday, a day after the State Legislature passed the bill following hours of debate among lawmakers in Albany. READ MORE>
The SEIU Local 300 Scholarship Fund offers two $1,000 scholarships to either college-bound students or students already in their first year of college to help them pursue their academic goals. A $1,000 scholarship will be awarded to one female and one male applicant.
Download> information and application.
Local 300 threw its support behind a New York State bill that would fully repeal the 100% rebate for the Stock Transfer Tax and keep the funds for the state, thereby raising up to $16 billion annually if actually collected. Local 300 joins dozens of other labor Locals backing the legislation at a time when the state is in a significant financial crisis caused by the pandemic that has devastated the economy.
President James Golden said that, from 1905 to 1981, New York State imposed a tax on the sale of stocks. However, the State began rebating the tax in 1979, and since 1981, the tax is now 100% rebated back to Wall Street. In the past 10 years alone, the total given back to stockbrokers is more than $100 billion. That’s why Local 300 signed on to a letter sent to the Governor and Legislative leaders letting them know that austerity measures like laying off 22,000 City workers are unacceptable when the state has alternative measures of securing an economic future.
State Senator James Sanders Jr. is sponsoring the bill in the Senate. He said revenues from the Stock Transfer Tax are generated by the volume and frequency of trades, with the tax ranging from 1.25 cents to 5 cents per transaction. For example, the tax raised on a $1,000 trade would be $2.50.
“This is a tax that would not impact the pockets of the average everyday investor because very few people have investments that trade with high enough frequency for this to make a difference,” Golden said. “Most of the general population who invests in the stock market does so for long-term gain, and does not play the stock market for daily gains.”
Sanders said it is Wall Street speculators who will be the most impacted and pay the vast bulk of the tax. When Wall Street was suffering years ago during the market collapse, New Yorkers bailed it out. Now that the shoe is on the other foot, and it’s the average New Yorker who is suffering during the pandemic while Wall Street is reaping in the rewards, the wealthiest 1% are crying poverty. The top 10% of American households, as defined by total wealth, owned 84% of all stocks in 2016, with 94% of the very rich reporting significant stock holdings of $10,000 or more in shares. That compares to only 27% of the middle class.
Rumors that Wall Street will leave New York State if the tax rebate is repealed are a myth. The New York Stock Exchange never relocated while the Stock Transfer Tax was collected in the state from 1905-1981. Additionally, the NYSE already has lower transaction fees than other markets.
DC 37 negotiated to have the NYS Paid Family Leave (PFL) Law include all members covered by the 2017-2021 economic agreement. The provisions of the law also cover members in the non-profit and private sector Locals. The PFL benefit provides a way for union members to care for their families without jeopardizing their job security or health insurance.
In 2021, the PFL benefit increases from 10 weeks to 12 weeks. The maximum weekly paid benefit increases to $971.61 or $1,943 bi-weekly. PFL pays 67% of the employee’s average weekly wage up to the cap at 67% of the New York State Average Weekly Wage of $1,450.
The benefit also can be used while bonding with an adopted or fostered child, caring for a spouse, domestic partner, child/stepchild, parent/step-parent, in-law, grandparent, or grandchild(ren), or helping when a spouse, partner, child, or parent is deployed abroad for active military service. While on Paid Family Leave, the member can receive a partial salary, based on a statewide formula, outlined above, and continued health insurance. They are guaranteed the same, or a comparable, job after their leave ends.
The 2021 maximum annual employee contribution is $385.34 per employee. It is based on gross bi-weekly wages including overtime and may fluctuate from paycheck to paycheck. Employees earning less than $75,408 a year will not reach the maximum contribution, which is scaled to income. The rate is based on members’ utilization of PFL along with the scheduled benefit increase. This is an insurance based plan. All employees are in the plan in case they may, at some time in the future, need to use the benefit. Only employees who know they will work for less than 175 days, such as summer seasonal employees, will not have a deduction as long as they fill out a waiver form.
The benefit can be used at once, or by incremental full days, over a 12-month period. Full-time employees, who work a regular schedule of 20 or more hours per week, are eligible for PFL after 26 consecutive weeks of employment. Part-time employees, who work a regular schedule of less than 20 hours per week, are eligible for PFL after working 175 days, which do not need to be consecutive.