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News from BALCONY

EEOC Tells City Local 1180 Managers Should Get Big Raise to End Injustice

April 21st, 2015
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The de Blasio administration should pay $246 million to correct systemic discrimination against women and minority managers, according to a recent determination by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The EEOC cited evidence that for decades, the city salary structure discriminated against Administrative Managers, a title dominated by African-American and Hispanic women. The EEOC, the de Blasio administration and the union that filed the charge, Communications Workers of America Local 1180, must reach an agreement to avoid a potential Federal lawsuit.

April 20th, 2015
Below you will find a letter from NYSUT's President, Karen Magee, regarding BALCONY and our upcoming Annual Broadway Fundraiser on Thursday, June 11, 2015

Dear Friends:

On behalf of the NYSUT Officers, our Board of Directors and our over 600,000 members, thank you for your support during this challenging time for our union and our members.

In order to magnify the shared voice of our members and businesses in our communities, NYSUT is a strong supporter of the Business and Labor Coalition of New York State - BALCONY.

I encourage you to familiarize yourself with this great coalition, not only to identify new business opportunities, but also as a vehicle to support the unique and mutual interests of business and labor in a complex economy. Now, more than ever, the interests of businesses, labor and the community are intersecting and aligning in the public policy arena. When these interests align, BALCONY affords us all the opportunity to support one another to advance our shared agenda.

It is with this background that I ask you to join me at the upcoming "BALCONY on Broadway" Gala featuring the new musical "Finding Neverland" on Thursday, June 11, 2015 at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, 205 West 46th Street in Manhattan. The curtain is at 7:30 pm, pre-theatre cocktails at 5:30 pm. For details about the event, please contact BALCONY Executive Director Lou Gordon at (212) 219-7777.

This social event will provide you with an opportunity to network with business and labor leaders, meet the staff and see first-hand the positive impact the organization has had on identifying and moving issues of mutual interest between business and labor in the public policy arena and beyond.

I look forward to seeing you there! Thank you for your continued support!


Karen E. Magee


Broadway Box Office: ‘Finding Neverland’ Soars in First Preview

April 15th, 2015

Gordon Cox
Legit Editor @GCoxVariety

The Harvey Weinstein-produced musical adaptation of “Finding Neverland” took flight in its first Broadway preview last week, selling out the house and posting the kind of box office that, if it continued for a whole week of performances, would have seen the show top $1 million. Read the full review: Finding Neverland

BALCONY Supports #Fight for 15

April 14th, 2015
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Tomorrow, in New York and across the nation and the globe, protesters will take to the streets to call on billionaire corporations like McDonald’s to raise the minimum wage to $15/hour with union rights.  The Business and Labor Coalition of New York (BALCONY) has long championed raising the minimum wage to ensure that workers have enough to pay for themselves and their families.  BALCONY salutes all those who are able to participate in tomorrow’s Fight for 15 rallies.  For more information on how you can be involved please click on the following link.

In Solidarity,

Alan Lubin, Co-Chair, Business and Labor Coalition of New York (BALCONY)

Budget Leftovers on the Tax Menu for the Remainder of the Legislative Session

April 14th, 2015
Fiscal Policy Institute

Wondering what tax provisions were in the final budget and which were not? The final FY 2015-16 budget is actually more notable for the tax proposals that were left out than for what is included. In the FY 2015-16 Executive Budget, the governor proposed three major tax changes: a new property tax circuit breaker for low- and middle-income homeowners and renters, an education tax credit, and a modest reduction in taxes on small corporations. None of these changes were included in the final budget, however, property tax relief and the education tax credit are expected to be revisited later in the legislative session. This FPI brief summarizes selected tax provisions proposed by the governor or legislature.

1180’s Important Milestone in Journey for Justice for Administrative Managers

April 14th, 2015

We have reached an important milestone in our Journey to Justice for our Administrative Managers and all who will become Administrative Managers in the future. On Monday, April 6, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released determinations, in response to complaints filed by Communications Workers of America Local 1180, finding that there is reasonable cause to believe that New York City has violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act of 1963 in its employment of Administrative Managers.

The EEOC, a federal government agency with jurisdiction over municipalities like NYC, has made a series of recommendations to the City to right this wrong, including increasing the minimum salary to $92,117, and submitting back wages totaling approximately $188 million and compensatory damages of nearly $57 million. However, it is very important to note that this is only a recommendation of the EEOC. At this stage in the process, known as conciliation, the City is not required to pay these amounts. However, an adverse determination has been made against the City that there is reasonable cause to believe the City has violated the law, and the EEOC will now take steps in an effort to eliminate the alleged unlawful employment practices. This is good news for our case. But again, this is a finding, NOT a court decision. There is still a lot of work to do.

Alliance for Quality Education evaluation of the 2015-16 New York State budget

April 8th, 2015

Tens of thousands of New Yorkers engaged in a fierce battle against Governor Cuomo’s outright attack on public education. Cuomo was backed in his efforts by a handful of billionaire hedge fund managers who are promoting a privatization and test and punish agenda for our schools. On some important issues, with the support of the State Assembly Majority, our students and communities won, on others we suffered significant setbacks for students, teachers, and schools.

The State Senate Majority, backed by the same hedge fund cabal, was closely aligned with Governor Cuomo on many of his efforts. In January Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos said he saw “giving the governor more control of education as appropriate.” When talking specifically about teacher evaluations, Skelos made it very clear that the Senate was standing with the Governor: “We want to make sure it’s strong and it means something. The Assembly is, unfortunately, trying to water it down.” The Senate also stood with the Governor on diverting money from public schools to private schools through an education tax credit, on more funding for privately run charter schools and on increasing the number of these publicly funded, privately run schools in New York State.

This year’s budget fight is not the end of the road, the well-financed attacks on public education will continue and our demand for high-quality education for all students without regard to race, income and zip code is far from over. AQE has been at the forefront of the fight for educational quality and opportunity for all students for a long time. Please take the time to read our evaluation of the 2015-16 New York State budget.

Building Congress 2015 Policy Agenda Urges Action on Infrastructure Investment

April 8th, 2015

Full funding for the MTA capital program and a robust New York City capital budget are the top policy priorities for the New York Building Congress in 2015. The Building Congress 2015 Policy Agenda is part of the Building Congress Infrastructure Campaign, an effort to focus public attention on the need for intelligent investment in core assets like mass transit, roads, and schools, while urging government to improve procurement practices.
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News From and About Our Members

NYSUT TV ad campaign swipes at Gov. Cuomo and his billionaire supporters

April 22nd, 2015
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ALBANY, N.Y. April 22, 2015 — New York State United Teachers today launched a statewide television ad campaign criticizing Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his hedge fund billionaire backers for trying to "rewrite history" and push high-stakes testing and a corporate privatization agenda ahead of what's best for New York students.

The Sidney Hillman Foundation announced today the winners of the 2015 Hillman Prizes in Journalism

April 21st, 2015
The Sidney Hillman Foundation Announces 2015 Hillman Prizes for Excellence in Journalism in Service of the Common Good Ceremony Is Tuesday May 5 in New York City

NEW YORK – The Sidney Hillman Foundation announced today the winners of the 2015 Hillman Prizes in Journalism, the only major all-media journalism awards dedicated to reporting in service of social justice.

The Hillman Foundation will present its distinguished annual journalism prizes, awarded every year since 1950, at a ceremony and reception at The Times Center in New York City on Tuesday May 5, 2015

PEF Contract Talks Are Underway

April 17th, 2015

Albany – Formal negotiations for the PS&T contract between PEF and the Governor’s Office of Employee Relations (GOER) took off Wednesday, April 15 in Colonie. PEF’s 19 member team, plus staff advisors, sat across a full team from GOER, headed by Joseph Bress, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s labor negotiator.

Maureen Kellman, chair of the contract team, shook hands with Bress as a sign of good faith bargaining before the team started their discussion. Both teams came well-prepared and enthusiastic to tackle the contract proposals.

PEF has been preparing for this meeting since October, and is focused on getting a fair contract that includes economic gain, re-professionalism of PEF, and a work life/home life balance.

As negotiations continue, PEF will keep members informed without compromising the integrity of the negotiations.


April 6th, 2015

Pact comes weeks after union and elected officials and community leaders arrested for civil disobedience

NEW YORK (April 2, 2015) – After a more than four-month strike during the coldest winter in recent memory, ‘carwasheros’ at Vegas Auto Spa in Park Slope have won a landmark contract agreement that includes wage hikes, strong worker protections and a $1,500-per-person signing bonus.

The owner also agreed to settle a suit the workers filed for wage and hour violations. The men will return to work Monday.

“This is a perfect example of what can happen when courageous workers stick together in the face of adversity,” said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). “These brave carwasheros spent four months on the picket line, without an income, in a very cold winter. They understand the difference being in a union can make, and I am proud they are part of the RWDSU.”

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.
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BALCONY Issues in the News (Related Articles)

Danny Schechter, ‘News Dissector’ and Human Rights Activist, Dies at 72

April 23rd, 2015
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Danny Schechter, whose media criticism became a staple of Boston radio and who went on to champion human rights as an author, filmmaker and television producer, died on Thursday in Manhattan. He was 72.

The cause was pancreatic cancer, his brother, Bill, said.

Mr. Schechter infused almost all his work — whether it was for alternative or mainstream media — with his deep-rooted advocacy of human rights. He was a producer of an award-winning public television series, “South Africa Now,” and of the ABC News magazine “20/20.”

For Some Stricken 9/11 Workers, ‘Zadroga’ Aid Has Been Life-Saving

April 23rd, 2015
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More than 33,000 people have so far been certified with at least one Sept. 11-related illness or injury; they now live in 429 of 435 Congressional districts and in all 50 states. Two-thirds of them have more than one condition.

Members of the Health Program have more than 3,900 cancers; 950 sufferers were in the FDNY. And the results have been fatal for some. More than 80 New York cops and 100 city firefighters have reportedly died from illnesses related to their service.

The Health Program is due to expire in October, and the Victim Compensation Fund, which covers economic losses for victims, is set to last until October 2016.

A bipartisan group of Federal lawmakers launched their effort to reauthorize the bill on April 14. The legislation—introduced as S. 928 and H.R. 1786—was sponsored by a bipartisan coalition led by New York lawmakers. Democratic Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer introduced the Senate version along with Illinois Republican Mark Kirk, Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski and 12 co-sponsors. On the House side, New York Democrats Carolyn Maloney and Jerrold Nadler, and Republicans Peter King and Lee Zeldin, were joined by 39 co-sponsors.

“We made a promise on Sept. 11, not only to rebuild, and pursue justice against those who attacked us, but to care for the injured and their families, and the first-responders and volunteers who risked everything to help others in the wake of the attacks,” Congresswoman Maloney said in a statement. “Our commitment to ‘never forget’ knew no bounds or party lines when joined in unison on the steps of the Capitol back in 2001, and it doesn’t today.”

The original Zadroga Act set aside $4.3 billion for first-responders and survivors, $2.77 billion of which went to the VCF payments. Under the reauthorization bill, the benefits would be permanent, and there would be no monetary cap.

Common Core Controversy: PARCC Test Underscores Dangers Of Standardization

April 23rd, 2015

By Tim Clark

Even though the Common Core State Standards Initiative was meant to strengthen the U.S. education system by ensuring “all students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in college, career, and life, regardless of where they live,” sadly, it appears to be having the opposite effect.

The problem? All kids learn and test differently and it’s impossible to capture the myriad needs and nuances of learning under the framework of a “common” set of teaching standards – especially for kids with an Individualized Education Program (IEP). What’s a frustrated parent to do?

Trumka: Time to Abolish ‘Undemocratic’ Fast Track Process

April 22nd, 2015

By Mike Hall

In a hearing on U.S. trade policy Tuesday, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told the Senate Finance Committee, “We don’t believe we can build strong and sustainable economic growth on a foundation of stagnant wages and disempowered workers.”

"And a key component of a raising wages economy is a new approach to trade and globalization—one that puts good jobs, safe products and a clean environment at the center of global economic integration—not enhanced corporate power and profits."

He said that the AFL-CIO has been advocating for a new trade policy more than two decades and that “far from being ‘opposed to trade on principle’:

"We have supported trade deals when warranted. We have engaged with policymakers in both parties and at every level to work toward a new generation of trade policies that will create a virtuous cycle of demand-led growth while strengthening our democracy, protecting workers’ rights globally and promoting sustainable global economic development. Key to reforming our trade policies is abolishing the outdated, unaccountable, undemocratic Fast Track process."

Single Payer Advocate Urges Unions To 'Get Ahead Of The Curve'

April 22nd, 2015

By Joe Maniscalco

New York, NY - The author of a new report touting the enormous economic and social benefits of single payer healthcare and the New York Health Act, is urging organized labor in the Empire State to “get ahead of the curve” and to boldly take healthcare off the bargaining table once and for all.
BALCONY Issues in the News Archives