Ten Labor Proposals for NYC

Volume CV, No. 9September, 2005

The proposals paraphrased here are from Norman Siegel, the candidate for public advocate endorsed by Local 802.

  1. Living Wage Law. City subcontractors should pay a living wage and provide health and retirement benefits.
  2. Land Use Policy. Employers or organizations that violate worker rights should be denied land use variances.
  3. City Funding. The funding of public and nonprofit institutions that violate workers’ rights or refuse to bargain should be withheld.
  4. Public Infrastructure and Building Projects. The labor agreements of full-time and subcontracted workers engaged in infrastructure and building projects should be protected. The state’s prevailing wage laws should apply. Workers employed at private establishments that occupy public space (like private restaurants in public parks or airport restaurants) should be guaranteed “neutrality rights” as part of the contract between the city and the employer. (That is, their employers shouldn’t interfere if workers choose to form a union: the employers should stay neutral.)
  5. City Procurement. The city government should purchase products produced by workers who are working under humane conditions (for example, workers who are paid living wages and enjoy democratic rights at the workplace). This should explicitly cover garments worn by uniformed city personnel, machinery and office supplies.
  6. Privatization. City and state efforts to privatize public services (like hospitals or schools) should be opposed. Privatization disproportionately hurts women, minority and low-wage workers who rely on public service jobs.
  7. Workfare. Workers employed in the city’s workfare should be entitled to the right to minimum wage laws, the right to organize and the right to due process on the job. They should be covered by federal and state labor laws and regulations.
  8. Public Advocate Labor Rights Board. The city should create a labor rights board that monitors intimidation and threatening of workers who support unionization drives, including organizing drives that involve undocumented immigrant workers.
  9. Education. Improving New York City’s public schools and CUNY should not be made at the expense of faculty and staff. Privatization and vouchers should be opposed. The city’s public school system and CUNY should be rebuilt by increasing salaries and improving working conditions for teachers and professors. The city should fully fund its labor agreements with CUNY.
  10. Rights of Public Employees. The Taylor Law should be amended so that when any public employer refuses to bargain in good faith, the affected public employee union would be relieved of the onerous penalties.