Issues: Labor

Let Cities, Counties Supplement State's Minimum Wage (Commentary on Times Union by Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assemblyman Karim Camara)

As a nation, we've long agreed that everyone who's willing to work hard should have a shot at moving up in the world. But as families today know all too well, the middle class feels awfully elusive when you earn $8 an hour.

That's why we're supporting legislation that would allow municipalities in New York to supplement the state's minimum wage to be more in line with regional living costs. We recognize that New York is a diverse state, and a nuanced, local approach makes more sense than a one-size-fits-all policy. After all, a decent wage in Binghamton isn't necessarily the same for Buffalo or Albany County.

February 11, 2014
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Senator Serrano Advocates for Raising the NYS Minimum Wage: Introduces Three Bills & Rallies in Support

(Albany, NY) - Senator Serrano advocated in support of raising the New York State minimum wage. On February 4, Serrano stood with other members of the Senate Democratic Conference for a press conference announcing the introduction of three bills relating to the New York State minimum wage. The legislation would: enable local governments to raise the minimum wage in their localities (S6516), expedite the increase of the State's minimum wage (S6518), and end the corporate tax credit for employees who pay workers the minimum wage (S6490).

February 11, 2014
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In the News: Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins Discusses Minimum Wage (Source: Capital Tonight)

Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins appeared on the Capital Tonight to discuss the minimum wage, "hoping to reopen dialogue and get some momentum to raising minimum wage in accelerated phase, indexing it to inflation" for a more sustainable lifestyle for minimum wage workers in New York State.

Click here to view the video.

February 6, 2014
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Press Release: Senate Democratic Conference Announces Action On Minimum Wage

Albany, NY - The Senate Democratic Conference on February 4th announced the introduction of three bills relating to the New York State minimum wage. These three pieces of legislation would enable local governments to raise the minimum wage in their localities, expedite the increase of the state’s minimum wage, and end the corporate tax credit for employers who pay workers the minimum wage.

February 4, 2014
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Media Advisory: Senate Democratic Conference Announces Action On Minimum Wage

The Senate Democratic Conference will hold a press conference today, February 4th 2014 at 1:00 PM, to announce the introduction of legislation relating to the New York State minimum wage and call for immediate Senate action.

WHO: Senate Democratic Conference Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins Members of the New York State Senate Democratic Conference

WHEN: Tuesday, February 4th 2014 at 1:00 PM

WHERE: Senate Democratic Conference Room, Room 315 Capitol, Albany

February 4, 2014
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CUTTING RED TAPE TO CREATE JOBS

CUTTING RED TAPE TO CREATE JOBS

We all know that one of the keys to a booming economy is creating jobs.  But what’s the driving force behind allowing businesses to expand and grow employment opportunities?  Cutting red tape.  For years, New York has been known for its high taxes and regulations.  As state senator, it’s a top priority for me to not only cut taxes, but also to do away with burdensome regulations that hinder the growth of businesses in the Central and Northern New York region. 

Recently, I was pleased to be part of an effort to collect ideas from small businesses, farmers, manufacturers and other employers on ways to cut red tape.  That effort identified 2,219 specific rules, regulations and practices that employers believe puts New York at a competitive disadvantage for attracting and creating jobs.

Part of this initiative included industry-specific public forums that took place throughout New York State.  I hosted one of the first of these sessions in Watertown, focusing on agriculture.

January 27, 2014
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Committee Meeting: Labor Meeting

Senate Standing Committee on Labor Senator Diane Savino, Chair 12 Noon, Monday, January 27, 2014 Room 123 CAP

PLEASE NOTE CHANGE IN LOCATION OF MEETING MARIO CILENTO, PRESIDENT OF THE NYS AFL-CIO TO ADDRESS THE COMMITTEE

January 27, 12:00 PM - 12:05 PM
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Will the Real Job Creators Please Stand Up?

January 7th 2014

By Rodney Yearby, Sr.

At present, there are three times as many people looking for employment than there are positions available. Beginning December 28th 2013, 1.3 million Americans lost their unemployment benefits just three short days after Christmas.

January 13, 2014
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SENATE MAJORITY COALITION ISSUES REPORT ON REGULATORY REFORM

REPORT IDENTIFIES OVER 2,000 STATE RULES AND REGULATIONS THAT WARRANT REFORM OR REVIEW

ALBANY – The New York State Senate Majority Coalition issued a comprehensive report today that sheds light on New York State’s notoriously dense regulatory structure and identifies 2,219 specific rules, regulations and practices that put New York’s businesses at a competitive disadvantage.

January 13, 2014
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Annual AFL-CIO Holiday Party

On Thursday, December 12th, Senator Stewart-Cousins joined her friends in labor at the annual AFL-CIO Holiday Party. The Senator is pictured here with Mario Cilento, President of the New York State AFL-CIO. NYSUT President Dick Iannuzzi also attended the holiday party. The Senator is pictured below with Mr. Iannuzzi, Pat Puleo and Florence McCue.

December 15, 2013
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State Senator Peralta Targets 21st Century Gang Crime

With holiday shopping bills coming due, State Senator Jose Peralta is cautioning consumers to keep an eye out for unauthorized or suspicious transactions on their bank and credit card statements and is introducing legislation to help law enforcement crack down on “21st Century” organized crime activity.

 Identity theft and the confiscation of personal information, such as bank PINs, are not "seasonal" crimes, but they occur with greater frequency during periods of increased financial activity—like the Christmas shopping season.

 Gangs are becoming more involved in these and other white-collar crimes, such as bank fraud, credit card fraud, money laundering, counterfeiting and mortgage fraud, according to the FBI's National Gang Intelligence Center, which identifies New York and Florida as the twin epicenters of this troubling new development in organized crime.

“Despite the increasing prominence of these crimes, the law used in New York to prosecute gangs and organized crime organizations does not include a wide variety of cyber and identity crimes,” Senator Peralta said.  “That’s not surprising considering that when the Enterprise Corruption Statute was passed in 1986, pagers were the cutting-edge personal technology of the day and the identity theft law did not even exist.”

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, who worked closely with Senator Peralta in drafting the legislation, said, “Those committing the crimes of identity theft are well-organized enterprises that inflict economic harm on a global scale, often leaving multiple victims and significant financial losses in their wake. My office has utilized the enterprise corruption statute in the past to pursue justice against those committing these crimes and this legislative fix to strengthen the law will allow us to do that more efficiently. I thank Senator Peralta for his leadership in introducing this legislation and for recognizing that the law must keep pace with emerging technology.”

Including crimes such as identity theft in the Enterprise Corruption Statute would also save the state money by eliminating duplicative legal proceedings, potentially saving hundreds of thousands of dollars per case.

When a defendant is charged with the crime of enterprise corruption by committing larceny through identity theft, for example, current law requires the defendant be indicted twice for the same underlying actions—one indictment for enterprise corruption and larceny and a second indictment for the identity theft charges.

In turn, a defendant must also be arraigned twice, have bail set twice and have two sets of motions.  In the end, a defendant is tried for the same conduct not once, but twice.

In addition to being needlessly costly to the state, the current law is inequitable to defendants, who also face duplicative costs stemming from needing to pay two retainers to defense counsel.

Here’s a small sampling of high-profile cases of new-age organized crime activity: U.S. Says Ring Stole 160 Million Credit Card Numbers; an identity theft ring spearheaded by the Crips, Bloods and a Brooklyn-based gang called the Outlaws stole more than $2 million from New York charities;  a cyber-theft of 10 million credit and debit card records was attributed to a New York City based street gang with ties to Central America; a Romanian man with ties to organized crime was charged with stealing at least $1.5 million by installing "skimmer" devices at ATM machines across New York City and Long Island.

“The bill would bring the law into the 21st Century,” Senator Peralta said.  “And it would make it easier for police and prosecutors to go after gangs and organized crime syndicates, in addition to saving the state money.”

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December 10, 2013
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Senator Valesky Visits Welch Allyn

Senator Valesky visited Welch Allyn on December 4, one of the region's largest employers and a worldwide leader in the manufacture of medical equipment.

December 5, 2013
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Be Our Guest: Roosevelt Ave. needs more than a BID expansion if it's going to thrive

As reported by the Daily News:

By State Senator Jose Peralta

The recent incidents of deadly violence on Roosevelt Ave. — two murders committed in broad daylight within days of each other last month — underscore the fact that we need a lot more than trash bins and video cameras to make Roosevelt Ave. safe.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m in favor of the proposed expansion of the 82nd St. Business Improvement District, which would cover more than 800 businesses on Roosevelt Ave. from 81st St. to 104th St. Fresh paint, additional trash cans and video cameras are certainly welcome. And banding together under the banner of the BID would be good for the small merchants and vendors along the avenue.

But Roosevelt Ave. is referred to as the old Times Square, and for good reason. When police successfully cracked down on prostitution in Times Square and midtown in the 1980s, much of the business simply moved to Roosevelt Ave., where it is fueled, in part, by the sale of foreign-born women into sexual slavery.

For full article, click here. 

October 28, 2013
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Senator Kennedy Urges Support for Stronger Workplace Protections for Interns

Federal Court Judge threw out an unpaid intern’s sexual harassment suit, after ruling unpaid interns are not covered by same workplace protections provided to paid employees. 

Senator Kennedy wants NY’s human rights laws reformed immediately to ensure all workers, including unpaid interns, are protected from sexual harassment, retaliation and discrimination.

Students from colleges across WNY join Senator Kennedy to discuss need for workplace rights for unpaid interns.

October 23, 2013
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Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein, Sen. Diane Savino and Assemblyman Steve Otis Celebrate New Child Labor Laws Aimed at Protecting Child Models

NEW YORK, NY- Today, New York State Senate Co-Leader Jeff Klein, Senate Labor Committee Chairwoman Diane Savino, and Assemblyman Steven Otis celebrated the signing of a sweeping new child labor law that promises to end widespread exploitation of underage models in New York’s fashion industry. Until today, minors in New York's fashion industry were forced to work without the protections of the state's child labor laws. But under a new law signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo late on Monday night, children in the fashion and modeling industries will now be provided the same protections afforded other young performers.

October 22, 2013
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Buffalo News: New York Bill Aims to Protect Interns Against Sexual Harassment

Sen. Krueger today announced her introduction of legislation to protect unpaid interns from sexual harassment and workplace discrimination. The Buffalo News' Tom Precious reports:

Days after a federal judge said an unpaid intern did not have the same protections as paid employees against workplace sexual harassment, a state lawmaker has introduced legislation to end what has been described as a dangerous loophole in the state’s human rights laws. Sen. Liz Krueger, a Manhattan Democrat, wants to end sexual harassment episodes in which employers have escaped without penalty solely because the victim was an intern.

October 15, 2013
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Sen. Krueger Introduces Bill to Protect Interns from Sexual Harassment, Discrimination

Sen. Krueger today announced her introduction of new legislation to ban workplace sexual harassment of unpaid interns in New York State (S. 5951). Loopholes in local, state, and federal laws have hampered interns’ attempts to seek redress for sexual harassment through the courts.

October 15, 2013
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What's on Your Mind? - Minimum Wage

Senator Gipson is interested in your ideas. Leave comments or suggestions here along with issues that interest you.

October 11, 2013
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What's on Your Mind? - Jobs

Senator Gipson is interested in your ideas. Leave comments or suggestions here along with issues that interest you.

October 10, 2013
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