Unemployment Insurance “Cleanup Bill” Stalls in Senate

NYS AFL-CIO Urges Public Pressure

Volume XCIX, No. 10November, 1999

When the Unemployment Insurance Division implemented a new wage reporting system last year, a major loophole was created that could adversely affect workers (including musicians and other entertainment industry workers) whose employment pattern does not conform to the new system, which is based on calendar quarters.

A remedial bill was quickly introduced by the chairs of the Senate and Assembly Labor Committees. S-5945A/A-8801A would provide a mechanism for these workers to demonstrate that they would have been qualified under the old system for a benefit greater than that which the new model provides. The measure was passed by the Assembly but still has not been acted on by the Senate, and has been held up in the Rules Committee since Gov. Pataki requested that the bill not be passed. The new system is estimated to have provided a 33 percent tax break to employers.

The New York State AFL-CIO has contacted all of its affiliates, noting that many state senators are sympathetic to the plight of workers affected by the legislation. They urge people to contact their state senators immediately to request active support for S-5945A. (If you don’t know who your senator is, call ext. 176 at the union.)

You should also contact Joseph Bruno, Senate Majority Leader, requesting that the Senate act forthwith on this Bill. Sen. Bruno can be reached at Legislative Office Building, Room 909, Albany, NY 12247; (518) 455-3191; fax (518) 455-2448.

The state federation is gathering information to demonstrate the damage that has been done by the new wage reporting system. They ask all members who have been awarded a lesser amount of benefits under the new system than they would previously have received to forward copies of unfavorable money determinations to: Legislative Department, NYS AFL-CIO, 100 South Swan Street, Albany, NY 12210-1939.