Transportation Workers Protection Act announced

New York, on both the state and city levels, has been hard at work reforming employee protections. Recently, City officials have been proposing legislation to protect construction workers. The effort has received wide support from other City officials and the Buildings and Construction Trade Council of Greater New York. The individuals supporting the bill also felt some push-back from the NYC Housing Authority.

Now the same effort has been introduced to the transportation sector. Recent measures have been made by Governor Cuomo to protect employees of airports. Similar to the bill mentioned above for construction workers, this piece of legislation also stresses preparedness and protocol for emergency response personnel so they can carry out their duties more efficiently. The proposed bill, to be titled the Transportation Workers Protection Act, will specifically include airport workers in the list of protected employees. An article, linked below, on WorkersCompensation.com, states, “Under current law, on-the-job assaults against transit employees – including bus operators, train operators, ticket inspectors, and conductors – are considered Class D felonies. However, current law does not specifically include airport workers in this category of transit employees. This new law will remove any ambiguity and explicitly include airport workers among those whom an assault against would result in increased penalties.”

The plan to draft the legislation was announced on January 25th by Governor Cuomo with the company of Hector Figueroa, President of Airport Workers’ Union 32JB.

NY Gov Announces Legislation to Protect Workers at NY Airports

Bill proposed to protect, better train New York City construction workers

In the past two years, thirty city construction workers have passed away as a result of work-related accidents. It goes without saying, even one life lost is one too much. Gary Labarbera, President of the Building & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York, wrote an article for Daily News New York that supported the bill proposed by three New York City leaders to protect construction workers. “Housing and Building Committee Chair Jumaane Williams and Councilmember Carlos Menchaca have submitted a bill, with the support of Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, that would promote worker safety by requiring that construction workers have such skills and training.”, said President Labarbera to Daily News New York. As the saying goes, knowledge is power and union construction workers are thoroughly trained through NYSDOL-approved programs. The bill, if passed, will call for a more thorough training of both union and non-union workers. Labarbera also stressed a NYCOSH study released in January determined that the quickly growing percentage of minority workers face a statistical likelihood of getting injured or killed on a worksite. He added that the study found that Latinos were the most at risk for work injury or fatality. Although painting a picture that correlated work injuries with non-union worksites, that minorities were more likely to get injured than their non-minority counterparts, and that statistics proved that the numbers of minority workers jumped 70% in a 10 year period, no mention was made about the type of worker that was on either type of worksite. This was most likely because, in the bigger picture of what the bill intends to do, the worker and work site isn’t in question. The bill advocates for worker and worksite protection, period. “As unionized construction workers supporting this Council bill, we are proud to stand as advocates on behalf of the sector’s entire workforce, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender and union or non-union status.”, Labarbera proclaimed in the article for Daily News New York.

Just a few days prior to Labarbera contributing his article to Daily News New York, a number of officials from the NYC Housing Authority released statements against the bill, reasoning that it would strip jobs from non-union construction firms, among other issues addressed.

Please see the articles below for more information.

City Council can protect NYC workers from construction accidents by mandating better training

NYC Buildings Department opposes bill requiring training program for construction workers

NYCHA tenants fear apprentice plan would create less diverse construction workforce

Progresso To Close Plant In Vineland, NJ-Measures Made To Protect Workers

General Mills announced recently that its Vineland, New jersey location will be closing by the summer of next year. The General Mills/Progresso Plant closure is going to greatly effect the Vineland area-close to 400 jobs will be lost in an already stricken by high unemployment. The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 152, a union that represents the plant, has made sure workers effected by this will be protected. Severance packages have been agreed upon between General Mills executives and union members. “The severance packages include improved pension accruals and a stipulation that General Mills/Progresso will continue to contribute to the workers’ health care trust fund after the plant closes at the end of summer 2017. 
Local 152 represents 270 of the 370 workers at the plant.”, states an article from Laborpress.org. Several sources assure workers that this was not a result of labor costs, but instead was a result of relocating the plant. “We never believed this was a decision made on labor costs,” String said. “And based on numbers we’ve seen, again, I believe that now.”, String says in another article posted in TheDailyJournal.com. The Local 152 is also taking further measures to help its workers, such as setting up job fairs and looking for potential businesses to by the plant.

Please see the links below for sources and more information.

UFCW Negotiates Progresso Plant Closure
Progresso Facility Officially Leaving Vineland, Taking 370 Jobs With It
It’s Official: Vineland Progresso Plant to Close Next Summer

LIU Brooklyn faculty lockout ends successfully for professors

In the aftermath of a faculty lockout that took place the Brooklyn campus of Long Island University, the faculty and the university’s administration have come to an agreement regarding a union contract renewal. The lockout ended Wednesday, September 14th, although classes were supposed to start the first week of this month. With thanks to professors, students, and the American Federation of Teachers, classes have begun and their rights as a union have been exercised and protected.

On August 31st the faculties union contract expired, and they did not agree with terms of the proposed renewal. A vote to accept or decline the contract took place, and the faculty rejected the new contract 226 to 10. Another outcome of the disagreement ended with professors not being able to get into their offices or emails. During the 12 day lockout the American Federation of Teachers, a labor union that represents education and teachers, was there in support of the faculty. The Long Island Faculty Federation is also represented by the AFT. Randi Weingarten, the AFTs current president, was there to speak on behalf of the faculty and students. This ultimately ended with a contract the administration and the faculty both agreed upon. The successful end to this is due to the efforts from the American Federation of Teachers and the hard working professors who knew the rights they had as a union.

L.I.U.-Brooklyn Locks Out Professors Amid Contract Dispute

Faculty Lockout at L.I.U.-Brooklyn Ends With Contract Agreement