Friday, February 10, 2017


Unions and Independent Democratic Conference members stand together against national right-to-work legislation and release four-point protection plan for New York State workers

Standing up against the anti-labor vision of Donald Trump, Senator Marisol Alcantara, Labor Chair of the New York State Senate and Senator Diane Savino, Former Labor Chair of the New York State Senate, joined by Senators Jeff Klein, Jesse Hamilton, and Jose Peralta, with New York City labor leaders called on federal representatives to block right-to-work legislation and announced a four-point Labor Protection Plan to combat anti-worker legislation being pushed at the national level.

Alarmingly, Republicans in Congress have introduced legislation that would expand right-to-work laws nationally. Such laws exist in 28 states and have resulted in lower wages for workers, reductions in employers providing workers with benefits like health insurance and decreases in manufacturing jobs. The IDC’s protection proposal aims to prevent the expansion of right-to-work legislation in New York while calling on federal representatives to block its expansion nationally.

“As a longtime labor organizer and as a student of history, I am well aware of the importance of the labor movement in building the middle class in this country. It is past time that we stopped talking about how to manage the decline of organized labor and started talking about how to revitalize it for the changing conditions of the 21st century. I will fight to ensure dignity and a living wage for all New York State workers, and will stand strongly against any attempts by the federal government to undermine unions,” said Senator Alcantara.

“Unions were born in New York City, and as a former union leader I will always defend the rights of the men and women in labor. Right-to-work legislation is bad policy that decimates unions by tearing apart collective bargaining and overall discouraging workers from benefitting from what unions offer. The truth is when you live in a pro-union state, you earn more, you receive better health insurance benefits and you live more comfortably in retirement. These are important worker dignities that we will always stand by and fight for in this state, and and we will attempt to thwart any interference by the federal government to take those important rights away,” said Senator Savino.

“The attacks on labor across this country through right-to-work laws has had a devastating effect on the lives of workers. Now, with Vice President Mike Pence, a staunch defender of these laws, in the White House we have seen a push to expand them nationally by Congress. We will not stand by idly. The IDC will oppose any law that attempts to disenfranchise labor unions in this state and I urge my colleagues at the national level to do the same,” said Senator Klein.

“The working class is clearly under attack in the country, and one of the weapons being utilized to combat organized labor is the right-to-work laws, a tsunami that has swept labor protections and rights in more than two dozen states nationwide. States that have passed some sort of right-to-work legislation experienced negative economic outcomes, losing manufacturing jobs in an already decreasing workforce. I, alongside my colleagues in the IDC, strongly oppose any attempts to implement any form of right-to-work laws in our State, and we will work to ensure none of these failed policies become law in New York. We are not going to stay passive as elected officials and organizations work to undermine labor rights and protections,” said Senator Peralta.

"Having been a member of DC37 for twenty-eight years, I know first-hand the value of unions. Unions have been at the core of upholding workers’ rights for generations. We need to build on that legacy of protecting worker safety, fighting for fair wages, and upholding the value of shared prosperity. We need to be sure we expand upon our past successes. I am proud to stand with unions and my colleagues to advance the labor movement and uphold values central to every community participating in the American dream,” said Senator Hamilton.

The Independent Democratic Conference’s four point Labor Protection Plan includes opposing right-to-work legislation in New York, calling on federal representatives to block national right-to-work legislation, blocking state funds to organizations like the National Right to Work Foundation that promote the implementation of these laws and opposing a Constitutional Convention in 2019.

As a conference, the IDC is opposed to any legislation that will make New York the 29th right-to-work state and will block any attempt to accomplish that goal, while also blocking state funding to organizations that promote such legislation. In opposing a Constitutional Convention, the IDC will work with labor to educate voters of the potential consequences of such an event, including the influence of outside special interests to push anti-worker amendments as well as the cost to taxpayers.

New York has always been an important state within the labor movement in the United States. It was home to the earliest labor strike in history in 1768 and has been a leader in both early and more recent labor movements.

“Now, more than ever, it is critical that elected officials speak out in support of the right of working people to join together in unions to protect and advance their interests,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, UFCW. “The IDC Labor Protection Plan provides a blueprint for New York leaders to ensure workers continue to have the right to organize.”
“We applaud Senator Klein and the IDC for standing with the labor movement to protect the rights of workers. It is imperative that working men and women throughout New York State continue to have the right to collectively bargain. The fact is, union members enjoy far better wages, benefits and conditions of employment than non union workers. Working with all of our partners, we will continue to have the largest and strongest state labor movement in the country, which helps raise the standard of living and quality of life for all working people,” said Mario Cilento, President, New York State AFL-CIO.
“The Subway Surface Supervisors Association is proud to stand with our brother and sisters in labor across the State of New York in support of the IDC's Labor Protection Plan. As the pendulum swings in Washington towards an increasingly anti-labor administration, it is crystal clear that labor needs to support those elected officials who support us, now more than ever. We pledge our full support to IDC Leader Jeff Klein and his entire conference and will do everything possible to make sure that right to work legislation in New York is dead on arrival,” said Michael Carrube, President, Subway Surface Supervisors Association.

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