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News from BALCONY

Elected officials want to ban ‘poor doors’ approved by Bloomberg administration

July 29th, 2014
Officials are demanding a zoning change to ban future 'poor doors' like the one recently approved at a Manhattan development that has a mix of affordable and market rate units. The seperate entrance is meant for low-income tenants housed in the luxury Riverside Blvd. high-rise on the Upper West Side.


July 28th, 2014
In 2006 BALCONY forewarned of the potential toxic cancer danger when we produced two informative PSA's warning residents and workers at the World Trade Center site to register for possible workers compensation. The spots which aired on New York TV stations featured Actress Sigourney Weaver and Jim Simpson, co-owners of the Flea Theater, and a Spanish version featured the late Jose Torres, former light heavyweight Champion.

2,500 Ground Zero Workers have Cancer

July 28th, 2014

By Susan Edelman

More than 2,500 Ground Zero rescuers and responders have come down with cancer, and a growing number are seeking compensation for their illnesses, The Post has learned.

The grim toll has skyrocketed from the 1,140 cancer cases reported last year.

July 22nd, 2014

The federal minimum wage has been $7.25 an hour since the last increase five years ago on July 24, 2009. A striking 61% of small business owners nationwide favor gradually raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 and adjusting it to keep up with the cost of living in future years. That’s what we call for in our Business for a Fair Minimum Wage Federal Statement, which has 1,000 signers from businesses and business organizations large and small. Won’t you sign the statement today?

New Study Quantifies the Impact of HIT’s Investments

July 22nd, 2014

The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust commissioned a third-party assessment of the impact of its investments. The study was performed by Pinnacle Economics utilizing the economic modeling of Implan, a group with more than 35 years of impact modeling experience. The assessment found that the Construction Jobs Initiative has generated $6.6 billion of economic activity and over 41,600 jobs, including over 19,000 union construction jobs, since 2009. A report on the HIT’s investments since inception will be ready this fall.

Follow this link to read the report.

Unions, Pensions Are Ready to Build Affordable Housing

July 22nd, 2014

by Carol Nixon

Over the past several months, the need for more affordable housing units in New York City has been widely discussed.

The AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT) has a long record of financing affordable housing in New York City through its investment of union and public employee pension capital from investors such as the New York City Retirement Systems. Since 2002, the HIT’s New York City Community Investment Initiative and Workforce Housing Initiative have invested more than $830 million of union and public employee pension capital to support 29,400 housing units with a total estimated real estate value of $4.7 billion; 96% of the projects are affordable to low and moderate income families. HIT refinancing of older properties has helped extend affordability for some 27,000 households.

Highways Need a Higher Gas Tax

July 16th, 2014

About 10,000 motorists die each year because of inadequate road conditions, and millions of other Americans waste large portions of their lives stuck in traffic or stalled trains. The enormous cost to society of poor infrastructure grows every year, and most of the blame can be placed directly on a Congress that refuses to collect and spend enough money to fix it.

Bookstore Owner Takes On a Union, Shocking a Liberal Bastion -

July 14th, 2014

Popular bookstore owner in Morningside Height's fires five employees for voting pro-union, but quickly has a change of heart as he learns a lesson about community.
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News From and About Our Members

Second-class employees

February 26th, 2014

Our opinion: Creating a pay commission for the state’s management confidential employees is a matter of simple fairness.

For nearly five years, the state’s non-unionized management-confidential employees have been caught in financial limbo — their pay frozen even as co-workers received raises, with no clear end in sight.

What the Cuomo administration calls a thaw came this week with the announcement of step and longevity increases that were due almost a year ago. These aren’t broad-based raises, and affect only about 3,200 of the 8,900 M

Cs, as they’re known in government shorthand.

Nor does this resolve the underlying unfairness: asking one group of employees to help balance the budget while their co-workers get raises.

School pension costs are set to rise 7.8 percent

February 7th, 2014
School pension costs are set to rise 7.8 percent in the coming 2014-2015 school year, according to the state’s Teachers Retirement System, the fifth year in a row that pension costs went up, Gannett Albany writes:

Now is the Moment to Expand and Strengthen the Living Wage Law

January 28th, 2014
Written by Stuart Appelbaum

When the New York City Council passed historic living wage legislation last year, it was an important step on a long road toward creating a fairer and more equitable city.

The premise of the legislation is simple and widely supported: when public money is used to fund private development projects, the public has the right to expect quality jobs will be created as a result, not low-wage jobs that keep workers in poverty.

NYSUT votes 'no confidence' in State Ed. leader John King

January 27th, 2014

By Kristen V. Brown

The state's largest and most powerful teachers union issued a declaration of "no confidence" in state Education Commissioner John King on Saturday.

The action called for King's removal from his post by the state Board of Regents.

New York State United Teachers' 80-member board of directors unanimously approved the symbolic but unprecedented resolution, which states the board has "no confidence in the policies of the Commissioner of Education."


January 23rd, 2014

~Comptroller Stringer’s office meets with Representative Meeks, offices of Reps. Maloney, Nadler and Jeffries, and labor leaders to hear concerns and issues that a NYCHA audit should address~


New York, NY – New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer’s office attended a meeting today at Teamsters Headquarters with Rep. Greg Meeks (NY-5), and the offices of several members of Congress and labor leaders to gather input and concerns pertaining to the operational practices of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). Comptroller Stringer’s office has already begun an audit of NYCHA practices – making good on a campaign commitment – but also wanted to hear suggestions from the labor leaders and members of Congress who initially called for the comprehensive audit.
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BALCONY Issues in the News (Related Articles)

Experts Address Concerns Of City Small Business Owners

July 16th, 2014

By Azure Gilman

Aiming to raise awareness about various business growth strategies and how to navigate potentially onerous new regulations, a panel of experts at City & State’s “On Small Business” event Tuesday weighed in on the concerns of small business owners fighting to stay relevant in a competitive climate.

The event, co-sponsored by CAN Capital, focused specifically on the challenges facing New York City’s small business community, and the panel reflected a mix of representatives from the city and state government, as well as the private sector: Steve Cohen, the executive vice president and deputy commissioner of Empire State Development; City Councilman Robert Cornegy, the chair of the Council’s Small Business Committee; Julie Menin, commissioner of the city’s Department of Consumer Affairs; and Andrew Rigie, executive director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance.

The Women's Equality Act Is Not Forgotten

May 7th, 2014

When I think about the 10-point Women's Equality Act, I find it hard to understand why it is difficult to pass these common sense bills in a progressive state like New York. The women of this state deserve to have their basic, fundamental rights recognized and confirmed by the state government and not treated as just political issues.

Ask the Expert: Coffee and Health

April 29th, 2014

by Dr. Rob van Dam

Assistant Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health

The Summary

  • Drinking up to six cups a day of coffee is not associated with increased risk of death from any cause, or death from cancer or cardiovascular disease.
  • Some people may still want to consider avoiding coffee or switching to decaf, especially women who are pregnant, or people who have a hard time controlling their blood pressure or blood sugar.
  • It’s best to brew coffee with a paper filter, to remove a substance that causes increases in LDL cholesterol.
  • Coffee may have potential health benefits, but more research needs to be done.
  • Read more about coffee and tea compared to other beverages.

New Rental Housing Landscape Illustrates NYC Rental Housing Trends

April 25th, 2014

More than one million households in New York City are rent-burdened, which means they are paying 30 percent or more of household income on rent, and nearly 600,000 of those households are severely rent-burdened, or paying more than 50 percent of their income on rent, according to the newly released NYU Furman Center/Capital One Affordable Housing Landscape.

Officials 'air' their plan differences

April 22nd, 2014

When de Blasio administration officials met at City Hall recently to hear a pitch about spurring development in a city where affordable, vacant land is scarce, two top mayoral aides were in their element: Both had promulgated proposals to harness the unused development capacity of landmarked buildings—their "air rights"—to do so.
BALCONY Issues in the News Archives