Workers Rights

SUPPORT WORKERS' RIGHT TO ORGANIZE UNIONS AND BARGAIN COLLECTIVELY

Extend the right to majority card-check recognition of union bargaining status to all New York workers, with the right of new unions to submit a first contract to binding arbitration at the request of the union.

JUST CAUSE

Enact legislation to make New York a Just Cause state where workers cannot be fired at will but only for just cause, which is the standard in most of the industrialized world.

KEEP THE TRIBOROUGH AMENDMENT

Oppose proposals to repeal the Triborough Amendment to the Taylor Law. The 1967 Taylor Law (Public Employees Fair Employment Act) permits public employees to organize unions, but denies them the right to strike. Management had little incentive to bargain in good faith with public employee unions that had no right to strike until the 1982 Triborough Amendment to the Taylor Law. The Triborough Amendment rebalanced the power between management and public employees by providing that when there is an impasse in negotiations when a contact expires, the terms of the previous contract continue. Arbitration (binding for police and fire, advisory for others) is employed to help resolve the dispute. If the Triborough Amendment were repealed, management would have no incentive to negotiate a fair contract because it could then change the contract as it saw fit, leaving the workers and their unions with no legal recourse.

PAY EQUITY

Enact a Pay Equity law to insure that workers are paid equal pay for work of comparable worth. Jobs traditionally done by women and people of color have been systematically underpaid. This reform will end this institutionalized discrimination against women and minorities.

PAID FAMILY LEAVE INSURANCE

A minimum of twelve weeks paid family leave for each newborn or adopted child, and for taking care of ill family members.

CHILD CARE AND ELDER CARE

Subsidized, high quality child care and elder care for all who need it.

A GUARANTEED ADEQUATE INCOME

A guaranteed adequate annual income for all, indexed to inflation, which will bring both families and individuals up and out of poverty.

GUARANTEED RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS

Establish a New York State system of Guaranteed Requirement Accounts that provide a return of at least 3 percent guaranteed by the state government. All workers would be required to contribute 2.5 percent of their income to a government account with a 2.5 percent employer match. This supplement to Social Security and other retirement plans and savings is needed to address the retirement crisis where most people approaching retirement face a future of poverty or near poverty. Three-fourths of workers nearing retirement age have less than one year's income in their retirement accounts. Half of New York workers do not have any employer-sponsored retirement plan.

LABOR LAW PROTECTIONS FOR FARMWORKERS

Extend to farmworkers the same rights under labor law as other workers, including A Day of Rest, Overtime Pay, Collective Bargaining Protections, Disability Insurance, Unemployment Insurance, Child Labor Protections, and Occupational Safety and Health Standards.

LABOR LAW PROTECTIONS FOR PRISONERS

Enact legislation to end the super-exploitation of prison labor at pennies per hour, which undercuts the wages of workers and earnings of businesses outside the prison system. The prison labor system as it exists now is akin to slavery and the prison labor camps in other authoritarian countries. Work done by prisoners can be part of rehabilitation and enable prisoners to acquire job skills, support their families, and have savings upon release. Work done by prisoners for private contractors and for public services should be paid prevailing wages. Prison workers should have all the protections of labor law, including the right to organize unions.

PROTECT THE SCAFFOLD SAFETY LAW

Construction work in New York State is made safer by the Scaffold Safety Law, which holds employers accountable when workers are injured or killed because employers cut corners on the safety of people working at heights.

WORKER-INSPECTORS TO ENFORCE WORKPLACE HEALTH AND SAFETY

Enact state legislation to establish the right of workers to enforce safety and health regulations in a program that trains and certifies workers to be on-the-job inspectors in every workplace. Worker-inspectors would be protected from employer reprisals and have the power to

  • Shut down hazardous operations.
  • Enforce the right of every worker to refuse unsafe work.
  • Investigate incidents to uncover their root causes and to force the implementation of their findings, 
  • Block the introduction of new chemicals untested for their impacts on human health and the environment.

OSHA is too underfunded and understaffed by the federal government to adequately protect workers and communities. Because workers know their work sites, worker-inspectors would be better able to protect the workforce and the community from industrial hazards and accidents.

JUST TRANSITION

Establish a Just Transition Income Support Program to compensate all workers whose jobs are eliminated by steps taken to protect the environment. Displaced workers would receive full income and benefits as they make the transition to alternative work.

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