UFCW locals representing workers across New York traveled to the State Capitol in Albany today to lobby on issues important to working families. Members and staff from UFCW Locals 1, 1500, and 2013, along with RWDSU Locals 338 and 1102 were in attendance.
A major focus of the lobby day was to push back against efforts to cut the Wage Theft Prevention Act, which took effect in April of 2011. The law requires that employers give workers written notice of wage rates once a year, a provision some Senate Republicans are targeting for repeal. UFCW members made it clear that wage theft is a serious problem and all workers have the right to know if they are being cheated out of earned wages. They called for the Wage Theft Prevention Act to be strengthened, not weakened, by repealing the written notice requirement.
Members also discussed the need to raise the minimum wage and pass paid sick leave legislation. If the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation, it would be over $10 an hour today, but instead it sits at only $8.00 in New York. Members demanded that the minimum wage be raised to a living wage.
Members lobbied for statewide paid sick leave, building on the momentum of legislation passed in New York City. They stressed that no worker should be forced to risk their job and their livelihood just because they get sick. Members said providing paid sick leave would make every workplace healthier and more productive.
Finally, members told their legislators it was long past time to pass the Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act, which would include farmworkers under state labor law. This would guarantee that New York’s farmworkers have the right to organize and bargain collectively for the wages and benefits that they deserve. UFCW members understand that all workers must be afforded their fundamental rights.
The lobby day was a great success and members who took part spoke about the importance of meeting directly with their legislators.
“Lobbying is an important way to remind these elected officials who they work for,” said UFCW Local 1500 member John Kubinski, who works at ShopRite in Staten Island. “If we don’t tell them what we want then they cannot properly represent us.”
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