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LOU GORDON

April 19th, 2017


Dear BALCONY Members and Friends,

It is with great sorrow that we write to you about the sudden loss of a dear friend and associate. Today, Wednesday, April 19th, we learned of the passing of Lou Gordon, the Executive Director of BALCONY. Lou died at home sitting in his chair. His loss will be felt for a very long time. We will miss his tenacity and strength in bringing our issues to both the business and the labor groups in our organization. Lou stepped on many toes in his pursuit of fairness for both workers and businesses. However, he often found the common ground to resolve issues from Healthcare to Social Justice. Lou brought government officials to the table and gave voice to the people on the street in many different arenas. His many breakfast sessions brought issues to the forefront to give us a better understanding of problems facing New York -- from water tables and urban flooding to Presidential campaign issues. Most importantly, with a heart as big as gold, Lou was a caring friend, seriously concerned for the rights and health of everyone he knew. Rest in Peace dear friend.

If there are public funeral services we will notify all of you.

Alan Lubin, Andrew Pallotta, Kevin Weaver, and the rest of the BALCONY board and team members

Rodriguez, Jenkins, Lentol, Kramer on April 16 @ 5 pm BALCONY Common Ground Radio Show on WOR 710 am

April 14th, 2017








With federal funding dicey, officials explore private investment in cross-Hudson tunnel

April 12th, 2017



While the Obama administration was a staunch supporter of building a new cross-Hudson tunnel, President Donald Trump’s proposed executive budget cuts funding programs on which tunnel builders expected to rely. | AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

By Dana Rubinstein

With President Donald Trump proposing dramatic cuts to transportation funding, the officials charged with building a multi-billion-dollar, nationally important rail tunnel beneath the Hudson River have begun to explore private funding mechanisms.

This city needs Fair Fares now more than ever

April 12th, 2017


By City & State

Imagine you are a single adult raising two kids in New York City while living below the federal poverty line – under $20,000 in annual income for a family of three. Your job barely enables you to afford rent in a gentrifying neighborhood like, say, Brooklyn’s Crown Heights or Mott Haven in the Bronx.

Now imagine losing your job, which is unfortunately a fairly common occurrence in the unstable low-wage job market. Every personal expense suddenly falls on the chopping block – routine costs like groceries or paying your phone bill become a burden. You’re forced to postpone buying any new school clothes for your two children, let alone notebooks and pencils.

Facing a threat from Republicans, will public and private sector unions unite?

April 12th, 2017


by By Bob Hennelly

In recent months, the labor movement had been on the winning side of the news cycle. First, President Donald Trump’s nominee for labor secretary, fast food executive Andrew Puzder, was withdrawn. Then the push to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act collapsed.

But on closer examination, both the Puzder flameout and the health care meltdown were mostly due to self-inflicted wounds. The disclosure of Puzder’s domestic violence history and upstate Reps. Chris Collins and John Faso’s attempt to shift county Medicaid costs to their home state exacted a heavy price for Republicans.

In reality, these labor “wins” were rearguard actions by a union movement with fractures between its leadership and its rank and file that Trump, much like former President Ronald Reagan, has already exploited. Trump’s path to the White House was paved when he flipped 200 counties in states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania that voted for former President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. Trump did that by winning hundreds of thousands of votes from union members whose leaders had bet big on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

EffectiveNY Ad Calls For ‘Equality For All’ Amendment

April 11th, 2017


EffectiveNY, the government reform formed by businessman and Democratic activist Bill Samuels, has released an ad this week calling for the passage of an Equality for All Amendment, enshrining the rights of women, the LGBT community and disabled people in the state’s constitution.

FPI Releases 2017 NYS Budget Statement

April 11th, 2017


There’s no question the newly-minted state budget contains some important public policy issues that should be lauded. However, given the governor’s very vocal concerns about funding threats from Washington, we sadly missed an opportunity to be proactive in protecting New York from potential federal budget cuts, and to provide funding streams to allow flexibility in making adjustments as needed.

Think New York Transit Is Bad? Just Wait

April 11th, 2017


By CHARLES E. SCHUMER, KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND, ROBERT MENENDEZ and CORY A. BOOKER

In the past few weeks, commuters in New York and New Jersey have been dealing with the chaos caused by the derailments of an Amtrak train and a New Jersey Transit train in New York’s Penn Station. While the accidents themselves were minor, by closing down tracks, they provided a stark preview for what life could soon be like if we don’t follow through with critical investments to improve our infrastructure.
News from BALCONY Archives
News From and About Our Members

As Con Con Debate Heats Up, Heastie Declares Opposition

February 22nd, 2017


By Rachel Silberstein


Speaker Heastie, right, & Gov. Cuomo (photo: The Governor's Office)

While it will be several months before the airwaves are flooded with special interest-backed ad campaigns warning of the potential “dangers” of a constitutional convention, in Albany, legislative leaders are beginning to speak out on the issue.

On Saturday, February 18, at Black and Latino Caucus weekend, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, a Bronx Democrat, had one message for labor union leaders: make sure your members vote “no” on the upcoming ballot question. This November, New Yorkers will vote on a referendum whether to call a constitutional convention -- an opportunity for the public to “take back state government” and update the antiquated state constitution that occurs once every 20 years.

Carlo Scissura Named President and CEO of New York Building Congress

November 18th, 2016


Succeeds Richard T. Anderson Who Expertly Guided the Building Congress for More Than Two Decades

Carlo A. Scissura, a lifelong New Yorker and veteran of Brooklyn politics, business, and economic development, has been named President and CEO of the New York Building Congress.

He will succeed Richard T. Anderson, who has served as President of the New York Building Congress for the past 23 years. Mr. Scissura, who has served as President and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce since 2012, will take over on January 1, 2017. At that time, Mr. Anderson will assume the title of President Emeritus and continue to serve the Building Congress as a consultant.

President-elect Trump needs a partner in Congress

November 13th, 2016


by Jeffrey Lewis

Given the historic election of Donald Trump, it’s easy to miss the true message sent by the electorate. With Republicans winning control of the presidency and Congress, voters signaled a desire for leaders to work together to solve the nation’s most difficult domestic policy problems. That requires Republican leadership in Congress that is serious, focused on action not rhetoric, and understands this historical moment. The first step: the re-election of Paul Ryan as Speaker.

At Trader Joe’s, Good Cheer May Hide Complaints

November 4th, 2016


By NOAM SCHEIBER

To explain their infatuation with Trader Joe’s, fans of the offbeat grocery chain typically cite three factors: low prices, an appealing selection of high-end products and, perhaps above all, irrepressibly friendly employees.

Teachers union says new federal regulations are not a 'real partnership'

July 20th, 2016




By Keshia Clukey

ALBANY - Federal regulations tied to the new Every Student Succeeds Act are a "top-down, federally driven" approach, not a "real partnership," as was intended, the state's largest teachers union says.

On Tuesday, New York State United Teachers submitted comments to the U.S. Education Department on the draft regulations in the hope that the department will make changes. The submission deadline is Aug. 1.

ESSA, passed in December, replaced the broad federal No Child Left Behind Act and was initially seen as providing states more flexibility regarding assessments and accountability.
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BALCONY Issues in the News (Related Articles)

New Union Contract for New York City Area Airports Does Not Cover Wages

December 16th, 2016


By PATRICK McGEEHAN

After seven months of negotiations, thousands of airport workers in New York and New Jersey have come to terms on their first union contract. But it does not address an impending anomaly that will leave workers on opposite sides of the Hudson River earning different pay for doing the same work.

A pro-music coalition calls for state to pass industry tax credit

November 24th, 2016


Governor has until Nov. 28 to sign the Empire State Music Production Tax Credit into law

by Addie Morfoot

A coalition of music businesses called for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign a music tax credit into law before a Nov. 28 deadline. Its effort was partly a response to a letter to Cuomo from a policy watchdog a week earlier questioning the benefit to the state of the tax break.

DC37 membership ratifies CUNY contract

July 18th, 2016


By Conor Skelding



The City University of New York employees represented by District Council 37 have voted to approve a contract deal with the university, the union announced Monday.

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association et al.

July 1st, 2016


Supreme Court Denies Friedrichs Petition for Rehearing

On June 28th, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the petition from nine California public school teachers to rehear their First Amendment challenge to mandatory union fees. The plaintiffs petitioned the Court to rehear their case after a 4-4 decision was issued in the wake of Justice Scalia’s death. When the split decision was issued, it was not accompanied by an opinion on the merits of the argument. All that was issued was a one-line statement that the decision was split 4-4. Terry Pell, president of the Center for Individual Rights, the non-profit public interest law firm representing the teachers issued the following statement about today’s decision:

“We are greatly disappointed in today’s decision denying our petition for rehearing in Friedrichs v. California Teacher’s Association. Today’s decision was not a decision on the merits of our case nor was it accompanied by an opinion. We continue to believe that forcing individuals to subsidize political speech with which they disagree violates the First Amendment. We will look for opportunities to challenge compulsory union dues laws in other cases and continue our efforts to stand up for the rights of of teachers and public sector workers across the country.”

Housing activists ramp up campaign against affordable housing developers

June 24th, 2016


By Sally Goldenberg

An activist group that has long criticized Mayor Bill de Blasio's housing plan is targeting an affordable housing association with a barrage of attacks and a call for all elected officials not to accept campaign contributions from the association.
BALCONY Issues in the News Archives