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News from BALCONY

NYS OMCE Responds to the Budget

April 1st, 2015

OMCE to Pursue Legislation to Accelerate Payments in 2016; and Retiree Pension Benefits Adjustments

The Organization of New York State Management Confidential Employees (OMCE) today announced that nearly 10,000 M/Cs will receive a four percent combined salary increase and adjustment along with additional increases over the next three years.

“Today, we know that M/C employees will receive a tangible benefit that for far too long, was unfairly withheld,” said Barbara Zaron, President of OMCE. “While this is a step forward, we are not yet whole. Many M/Cs believe they have been shoved aside and asked to unfairly wait for what they long ago earned. In contrast, their coworkers performing similar tasks received timely raises. We remain committed to accelerating the remaining payments to M/C employees and seeking adjusted benefits for those who have retired.”

Budget Statement from Eric Williams, Campaign Director of the New York Paid Family Leave Insurance Campaign

April 1st, 2015
Time To Care

"Over the past several months, paid family leave has rapidly emerged as a major state and national issue. Across the state, more New Yorkers than ever are raising their voices to tell our elected leaders that no one should have to choose between caring for their family and making ends meet. We thank the State Assembly for their continued leadership on this issue, and look forward to working with the Senate to pass a strong paid family leave bill this session," said Eric Williams, Campaign Director of the New York State Paid Family Leave Insurance Campaign.

To get involved in the campaign, please contact Eric Williams at

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NYSUT rejects Cuomo's teacher evaluation sham

April 1st, 2015

NYSUT Media Relations

ALBANY, N.Y. March 31, 2015 — New York State United Teachers today said changes to the teacher evaluation and tenure laws contained in the state budget are a disgrace.

Follow the "more" link to read their statement

$142B New York state budget races clock; Education, ethics contribute to scramble for 5th consecutive on-time budget

April 1st, 2015

By Casey Seiler and Rick Karlin


Slightly bruised and under the eye of the clock, state lawmakers rushed Tuesday to meet the midnight deadline for passage of the state budget. The Senate wrapped up its work with a half-hour to spare and decamped for a party at the Executive Mansion, while Republicans in the Assembly pushed final passage of the last bills into the start of the new fiscal year — technically breaking a four-year record.

Cuomo Gets Deals on Tenure and Evaluations of Teachers

April 1st, 2015
New York Times Logo


A hostile winter of speeches, rallies and barbs between Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and teachers’ unions ended in compromise on a variety of fronts, with the governor winning some changes in the way teachers are evaluated and granted tenure, and in how the state deals with chronically struggling schools.

State teacher’s union chief calls for Common Core testing boycott

March 31st, 2015

BY Kenneth Lovett

ALBANY — The head of the state teacher’s union on Monday called for a boycott of the controversial Common Core curriculum testing.

“I would urge parents at this point in time to opt out of testing,” Karen Magee of the New York State United Teachers said in an appearance on upstate public radio’s “The Capitol Pressroom.”

“They’re not valid indicators of student progress,” she added.

BALCONY Statement Regarding Recently Agreed NYS Budget Deal

March 30th, 2015
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Statement by Alan Lubin, Chairman of BALCONY on the 2015-2016 NYS Budget Agreement

Regarding the just agreed upon NYS Budget, BALCONY laments the failure to increase the New York State Minimum wage to $10.50 an hour. At the same time, we are pleased that state education funds will be increased by around $1.6 billion. We support the newly approved ethics package. Additionally, we continue to support the inclusion of a 2% increase in funding for the Organization of Management Confidential Employees. Finally, Balcony is disappointed that the Circuit Breaker property tax package was rejected.

NYSUT statement on the budget agreement

March 30th, 2015

ALBANY, N.Y. March 30, 2015 - "The Legislature, led by the Assembly, mitigated some of the worst elements of Gov. Cuomo's toxic agenda after parents and teachers stood up to his bullying," said NYSUT President Karen E. Magee. "School aid for our kids is moving forward and public schools and colleges will get much-needed state increases. However, while Gov. Cuomo's attempt to double down on testing has been stopped for now, too much of his destructive agenda remains on the table. We will keep pushing to the last minute of the last day to ensure that the state addresses what kids need, that educators' rights are supported and that evaluations are fair, meaningful and focused on improving teaching and learning. The governor's agenda, widely repudiated by the public, is destructive to teacher recruitment and retention and fails to address the needs of schools and students who are struggling. That should be our focus going forward."
News from BALCONY Archives
News From and About Our Members

Leaked Investor Chapter of TPP Worse than Imagined

March 26th, 2015
Washington, D.C. -- Following is a statement by Communications Workers of America President Larry Cohen:

“The 56 pages of the Investor chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership are worse than imagined and must be a wake up call for our nation. Amazingly, this chapter is sealed for four years after either adoption or rejection of the TPP. Everything we read and learn makes “Fast Track” authority unimaginable. It’s secrecy on top of secrecy.

March 25th, 2015

Every year, the Medicare Rights Center helps thousands of individuals navigate the complicated Medicare Part D appeals process.

Because the process is the equivalent of a nonsensical maze, it leaves beneficiaries confused, frustrated, and unable to adhere to prescribed treatment plans. It's no wonder that less than 17% of Medicare beneficiaries appealed a plan's denial in 2013.

Call on the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to immediately implement reforms to help people with Medicare better navigate Part D denials and appeals.

Reformers are Selling Snake Oil

March 19th, 2015

By Michael Mulgrew, President of the United Federation of Teachers

NY Daily News, Thursday, March 19, 2015

In 19th century America, so called “medicine shows” toured rural areas, combining entertainment acts with hucksters pitching pills, powders and potions that promised cures for everything from baldness to cancer despite any evidence any of it worked.
Today’s advocates of “school reform” are doing much the same, pedling nostrums they promise will somehow solve the problems in our schools – many of them highlighted in the Daily News series – even though serious research demonstrates that these strategies don’t work.

Briefing on Mayor deBlasio’s Preliminary FY 2016 NYC Budget: Addressing Needs and Budgeting Cautiously as the Recovery Progresses

March 11th, 2015

March 10, 2015.

FPI’s FY 2016 New York City budget briefing includes:

An overview of the Mayor’s Preliminary FY 2016 Budget proposal, with a particular focus on new human services spending initiatives in the context of changes in human services spending in recent years.

The social and economic context in New York City at the beginning of 2015: the unevenness of the recovery and wage, income and employment trends. The presentation will review the extent and persistence of low wages in the social services contract sector and discuss changes needed to raise wages in that sector.

The impact on New York City and its budget of the Governor’s proposed 2015-2016 Executive Budget.

Highlights of FPI’s recent report on NYC tax trends and discuss priorities for NYC tax reform.

PDF of Budget Briefing

March 11th, 2015

Contact: Darcy Wells – 518‐436‐8516 x. 240

Manhattan, NY – At a meeting of the federation's Executive Council today, Thursday, March 5, 2015, the New York State AFL‐CIO unanimously adopted a resolution opposing the Executive Budget proposal in S2010/A3010 on education reform and called on the Governor to remove it from the state budget.
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BALCONY Issues in the News (Related Articles)

New MBPO Small Business Report Presents Ideas to Help Manhattan’s Storefronters

April 1st, 2015
Manhattan Borough President, Gale Brewer

Small businesses are the economic heart of New York City, especially the street-level retail stores and restaurants that keep things running 24/7 and provide the everyday necessities and comforts New Yorkers rely on. But with high rents, corporate competition, and real estate development, these businesses—what we call “storefronters”—are facing serious challenges over and above the ones small businesses typically grapple with.

To help more small businesses succeed and thrive, the Manhattan Borough President’s Office today released a report—Small Business, Big Impact: Expanding Opportunity for Manhattan’s Storefronters—at the Upper West Side storefront of The Halal Guys, small business entrepreneurs who’ve worked hard to become a stunning success story.

Movement to Increase McDonald’s Minimum Wage Broadens Its Tactics

March 31st, 2015

ATLANTA — On a recent Friday, Kwanza Brooks, a $7.25-an-hour McDonald’s worker, climbed into a 14-person van to take a four-hour ride from Charlotte, N.C., to Atlanta.

As she and other workers headed south, Ms. Brooks, a short, fiery woman, swapped stories with her companions about unsafe conditions and unfair managers. Upon arriving, they joined more than 400 other people — including home care aides, Walmart workers, child care workers and adjunct professors — at the Ebenezer Baptist Church, where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had been a pastor.

The gathering on March 21 was in part a strategy session to plan for the fast-food movement’s next big wave of protests, which is now scheduled for April 15. But the meeting was also seeking to be something far more ambitious. Through some strategic alchemy, the organizers hoped the gathering would turn the fast-food workers’ fight for a $15 hourly wage into a broad national movement of all low-wage workers that combined the spirit of Depression-era labor organizing with the uplifting power of Dr. King’s civil rights campaign.

Bill de Blasio Is (Mostly) Happy With Education Deal in State Budget

March 31st, 2015

Mayor Bill de Blasio today said the tentative state budget deal will bring additional millions in school aid to New York City and allow him first crack at fixing failing schools—but lamented the absence of an extension of mayoral control and legislation to fund tuition assistance for undocumented immigrants.

Deal Is Reached on New York State Budget; Ethics Measures Are Included

March 30th, 2015
New York Times Logo


ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and legislative leaders on Sunday night reached an agreement on the next state budget, capping weeks of deliberations over issues like deterring public corruption and improving public schools.

House Passes Bill Changing Medicare Fee Formula and Extending Children’s Insurance

March 26th, 2015
New York Times Logo


The House overwhelmingly approved sweeping changes to the Medicare system on Thursday, in the most significant bipartisan policy legislation to pass through that chamber since the Republicans regained a majority in 2011.

The measure, which would establish a new formula for paying doctors and end a problem that has bedeviled the nation’s health care system for more than a decade, has already been blessed by President Obama, and awaits a vote in the Senate. The bill would also increase premiums for some higher income beneficiaries and extend a popular health insurance program for children.
BALCONY Issues in the News Archives