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News from BALCONY


September 16th, 2014

While much of New York City’s housing stock remains in good condition and asset values have increased, significant pockets of our City’s housing are deteriorating. We still have much work to do to ensure that every New Yorker has a safe place to call home. My new report “How New York Lives” shows that there are great disparities between public housing and market rate apartment maintenance efforts. Policymakers and the public must maintain pressure on all levels of government, especially the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the federal agency responsible for NYCHA, to bring our city’s affordable housing stock back into good repair.

Promoting Labor Day Solidarity

September 4th, 2014

Labor Day is that special day of the year when we celebrate the victories of the labor movement by enjoying a day of relaxation, before jumping back into the fray of fighting to protect the rights and benefits of working people. In recognition of this auspicious day we hear from Chris Erikson, the Business Manager for IBEW Local 3 and Grand Marshall for this years’ NYC Labor Day parade, being held on September 6th. Chris urges workers to join and become active in the labor movement or lose what they have. Chris is joined by Peter Meringolo, Chair of the Public Employee Conference and Richard Mulvaney, a noted labor attorney. They urge unions to support one another to keep the labor movement strong. Next we hear from Assemblyman Peter Abbate, a ling-time champion for Government Employees, for an update on public employee issues and a discussion of the Triborough Amendment, a labor provision under attack by some government officials.

NYSUT Defends Tenure as Safeguard for Students and Teachers

September 2nd, 2014

by Stephanie West

NYSUT's motion, filed in state Supreme Court in Albany August 29th, strikes back against the Partnership for Educational Justice, a group headed by former television host Campbell Brown with ties to Students' First, the Success Academy Charter School network and several Wall Street billionaires.

Rebuilding the Trades (Updated)

August 28th, 2014

by Nick Powell

When Mayor Bill de Blasio formally unveiled his comprehensive affordable housing plan back in early May, the rattling and drilling of construction equipment in downtown Brooklyn nearly drowned out his voice.

Tenure: A Necessary Protection

August 15th, 2014

Author: L.D. Davidson Source: Sunday Gazette (Schenectady)

A big national fight over teacher tenure is coming to New York state. And soon. Jay Lefkowitz, the head lawyer for the Chicago-based law firm Kirkland & Ellis, LLP (gross revenues of $1.94 billion in 2012), has told The Wall Street Journal that he plans to file an anti-tenure suit in New York state in early July. The suit will be filed in state Supreme Court in Albany.

'Sizable' settlements leave NYS with $6.2B windfall

August 6th, 2014

How should the state spend its $4.2 billion budget surplus? There are more than a few suggestions.

Photo: Buck Ennis


New York state will finish the current fiscal year with a $6.2 billion budget surplus, the result of several "sizeable" cash settlements with major financial firms in the first four months of the year, the state's budget division reported Monday.

The Key to Managing Health Care Costs

August 2nd, 2014
by Jeffrey Lewis and Lou Gordon

   Jeffrey Lewis                       Lou Gordon

When President Obama signed into law The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) the intense debate on the delivery of health care took a brief siesta. But it didn’t take long for America’s entrepreneurial spirit to reawaken.

Read the entire article published in the NY Times Digest, August 2, 2014: Health Care Costs

New York City Leaders Reach Accord on $75 Billion Budget

August 2nd, 2014

Article Appeared in the New York Times on June 20, 2014

by Kate Taylor

Mayor Bill de Blasio and the City Council speaker, Melissa Mark-Viverito, have announced an agreement on a $75 billion budget that Mr. de Blasio said signaled a more compassionate era for New York City, with investments in public housing, expanded prekindergarten programs and summer jobs for youths, but with no tax increases or major cuts.
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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