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U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez announces agreement in principle on a new contract for Verizon workers

May 27th, 2016

WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez issued the following statement today regarding the ongoing labor dispute at Verizon:

“Today, I am pleased to announce that the parties have reached an agreement in principle on a four-year contract, resolving the open issues in the ongoing labor dispute between Verizon’s workers, unions, and management. The parties are now working to reduce the agreement to writing, after which the proposal will be submitted to CWA and IBEW union members for ratification."

We Won a Stop Work Order on UES’ Tallest Skyscraper After Zoning Violation

May 26th, 2016
By Ben Kallos, NYC Council Member

Today, the New York Times reported that the Department of Buildings has issued a stop work order for 180 East 88th Street, planned to be the tallest building north of 70th Street at 521 feet, following Monday coverage in the New York Times of a letter I sent last week with Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, arguing the building violated the law.

VIDEO REPORT: BALCONY Health Care Forum, May 12, 2016

May 25th, 2016
Health Care in New York:
Successes, Failures, and Challenges in 2016

As America enters the 6th year of the Affordable Care Act, on May 12th BALCONY staged a comprehensive forum on Health Care in New York featuring key players in providing services to our citizens. Among the presenters were health care providers, unions, nurses, advocates, small businesses, and benefit consultants.

Special note: where possible, these videos include slide presentations that detail the issues presented by the speakers at the conference.

This event was BALCONY'S 10th Health Care Forum which included in 2010 a major presentation of the ACA by then United States Secretary of Health Kathleen Sebelius just after President Barack Obama signed the law in 2010.

Click here for the full video report of presentations and photography from the forum: Health Care Forum

2016 Milliman Medical Index

May 25th, 2016

Health Care Costs for the typical American family will exceed $25,000 in 2016. Who cooked up this expensive recipe?

Click here for the full report: Milliman

Gov. Cuomo approves MTA’s $27B repair and upgrade plan

May 25th, 2016

by Dan Rivoli

The long wait for transit riders is over — the MTA’s $27 billion repair and upgrade program was finally approved in Albany, Gov. Cuomo announced Tuesday.

The money covers everything from track and station repairs to new train cars and buses.

It includes big-ticket projects like the start of Second Ave. subway’s next phase into East Harlem, East Side Access for Long Island Rail Road and the replacement of the MetroCard.

Selling Bottled Water That’s Better for the Planet.

May 24th, 2016

By Gloria Dawson

On a recent morning over avocado toast and world-renowned New York City tap water, Grace Jeon expounded on the virtues of public drinking water. Considering that the company she runs makes its money selling bottled water, her enthusiasm might have seemed a little strange. And in fact, she follows a decidedly odd business model.

Chronicle of a Strike

May 21st, 2016

Verizon strikers are fighting against the oppression and indignity of the American workplace.

by Alex Gourevitch

Bruce* has worked construction for Verizon for nearly thirty years and he is on strike. Walking a picket outside a Verizon Wireless store, he explains why: “I love this job. It’s outdoors, you get dirty, you get to do things. You see that island over there, I can tell you where each of the manholes are. I’ve been in every one of these buildings here,” he says, pointing to a café, then some office buildings, a travel agency, and a few restaurants. “I don’t like not working, just standing around here. But we gotta do this. I mean, I love this job but I don’t want it for my children.”

The Verizon Strike Is About More Than Dollars And Cents

May 21st, 2016

by Dave Jamieson

On Thursday morning, Eddie Blackburn, a Verizon technician in Rhode Island, logged on to Facebook to send his colleagues a message. They were scheduled to lose their Verizon health coverage soon while out on strike. Blackburn urged his friends not to buckle and cross the picket line.
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News From and About Our Members

Greater New York Chamber of Commerce Celebrates Women's History Month

March 22nd, 2016

On Friday March 18th the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce (GNYCC) hosted a celebration of Women's History Month at the Hard Rock Cafe.

The event was emceed by Greater New York Chamber of Commerce CEO Mark Jaffe and GNYCC Chairman Cynthia DiBartolo. The event was attended by 75+ leaders from the New York business and labor community and honored Kathy Hochul, NYS Lieutenant Governor; Beth Goldberg, District Director of the Us Small Business Administration; Major Kimbia Rey, US ARMY; Vicki Saunders, Founder of SheEO; and Waffa Abboud, Founder and CEO of Human First.



March 10th, 2016
The Broadway Education Alliance, the fiscal sponsor for the Gershwin Awards, announced today that the program has been renamed The Roger Rees Awards for Excellence in Student Performance—to celebrate the exceptional life and career-long artistic excellence of Broadway’s beloved actor, Roger Rees. Formerly known as The Gershwin Awards, the 2015-2016 Roger Rees Award for Excellence in Student Performance will be held on Sunday, May 22 at the Beacon School in Manhattan. Read the details here: Roger Rees Awards

Department of Transportation Commissioner Matthew J. Driscoll Discusses Major Projects and Infrastructure Improvements Underway

March 10th, 2016

New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Matthew J. Driscoll was the featured speaker on March 3 at a New York Building Congress Construction Industry Breakfast Forum, which also featured remarks from Jessica Lappin, President of the Alliance for Downtown New York.

Highlighting major infrastructure projects to the crowd of nearly 350 professionals from the design, construction, and real estate industry, Commissioner Driscoll called it an exciting time for New York City as well as the State as a whole. He provided updates on several key initiatives, including Governor Andrew Cuomo's $100 million infrastructure investment program, stating, "This plan will modernize the State's public transportation systems - freight, rail and ports, airports and roads and bridges - to meet the needs of the new global economy and enhance New York's position as the Empire State." These projects include a comprehensive redesign of LaGuardia Airport, expansion of the Jacob Javits Convention Center, and transformation of Penn Station and the historic Farley Post Office.

Mayor Presses Feds to Let City Offer Savings Plan to Private Employees

March 1st, 2016


Mayor de Blasio Feb. 25 asked the Federal Government to allow New York to become the first American city to sponsor a private-sector retirement-savings plan. His proposal, first announced during his State of the City address last month, would create a savings account for workers who aren’t enrolled in pension plans. “Working people of New York City should be able to retire in comfort and in the city they love,” the Mayor said. “Our message to working people should not be: work your whole lives and end up with nothing.’”

NYSUT Testimony to the Senate Finance Committee and Assembly Ways and Means Committee on the Proposed 2016-17 Executive Budget for Elementary and Secondary Education

February 24th, 2016

Senator Young, Assemblyman Farrell, honorable members of the Legislature and distinguished staff, I am Andrew Pallotta, Executive Vice President of New York State United Teachers (NYSUT). NYSUT represents more than 600,000 teachers, school-related professionals, academic and professional faculty in higher education, professionals in education, in health care and retirees statewide.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify today on the proposed 2016-17 Executive Budget for Elementary and Secondary Education. I am joined by Michael Mulgrew, President of the United Federation of Teachers. The state of public education in New York finally seems to be moving in the right direction, however, we have much more to do.

We must continue to work together to ensure each and every student receives a high quality education that prepares them for college and career.

We must continue to work towards reducing unnecessary testing in our schools.

We must restore the joy of learning and teaching in our classrooms.

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BALCONY Issues in the News (Related Articles)


May 26th, 2016

PSC Secretary Nivedita Majumdar thanks the Mayor for his support of CUNY

Advocates for CUNY Budget at City Hall with Council Member Barron (green jacket)

May 20, 2016, Several organizations, which are part of the CUNY Rising Alliance, gathered last Friday on the steps of City Hall for a press conference in support of CUNY. Among the group was New York Public Interest Research Group, NYPIRG and Professional Staff Congress, PSC. In addition, the group was joined by NYC Council Member and Chair of the Committee on Higher Education, Inez D. Barron and NYC Council Member Ydanis A. Rodriguez, who is also a committee member. Speakers called for the city to invest in CUNY.

Gonzalez: NYC's housing reports so flawed they're nearly useless

May 3rd, 2016

Mayor de Blasio is using fuzzy math to tabulate one of his signature projects, the building of new affordable housing units, Controller Scott Stringer said Thursday.

In a letter to de Blasio’s Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, Stringer said his office found so many errors and omissions in a periodic report required by the City Council since 2012 to track both new affordable units and the subsidies handed to real estate developers that the data are almost useless.

According to Stringer, housing officials have only been listing rent levels for 20% of some 1,000 buildings that are currently in the database and for which a portion of housing units must be affordable.

Schumer: On Gateway, Christie's 'butt is most on the line'

May 3rd, 2016

By Dana Rubinstein

Infrastructure types are all stoked about a new plan to build rail tunnels beneath the Hudson River to replaces the ones now falling apart, but there's nothing to prevent a lone politician from dashing their hopes again.

That was the thrust of New York Building Congress president Richard Anderson’s question for Senator Chuck Schumer Monday morning.

“Senator Schumer, how can the federal government prevent a reoccurence of a single elected official killing a very important public works project, such as Governor Christie did a few years ago,” he asked, referring to a project called ARC, which Christie unilaterally killed, citing cost overruns.

Amtrak has since come up with a successor project called Gateway, which appears to be moving along.

"My guess is, if you looked inside him, he regrets that decision now, because he got walloped on it,” said Schumer, referring to Christie.

State launches LaGuardia financing process with $2.5B offering

April 29th, 2016

By Dana Rubinstein

Apr. 29, 2016

Acting as a conduit, the state's Empire State Development on Friday released a $2.5 billion bond offering statement, with the proceeds going to LaGuardia Gateway Partners, the consortium that will rebuild the oft-derided Queens airport. (The consortium will also be on the hook for bond repayments.)

The project is a priority of Governor Andrew Cuomo and will, arguably, cost about $4 billion. Much of that money will go toward rebuilding the airport's central terminal building and creating a grand, architecturally unifying entry hall.

See the document here:

City Council Votes 45 to 1 to Approve De Blasio’s Major East New York Rezoning Plan

April 22nd, 2016

The City Council has approved Mayor de Blasio’s controversial plan to rezone East New York, casting the definitive vote and bringing the agenda’s months-long Uniform Land Use Review Procedure to a close.

In a nearly unanimous vote, every council member — other than a single dissenter — voted to approve the plan, meaning the city can now move forward with enacting the sweeping zoning changes and development much discussed over the past year.

“This is literally the best affordable housing plan that any community has had in the history of this city,” said City Council member David Greenfield, according to NY Yimby.
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