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CWA NYS Legislative Update - Worker Power!

We made some big progress in Albany this year on legislation that could have a huge impact on New York’s working families - while we didn't win everything we were fighting for, we had three major victories and made progress on several other pro-worker bills!

Major Victory - Protecting Call Center Workers

  • 300 E-ZPass workers on Staten Island, members of CWA Local 1101, are facing the threat of layoffs after the State re-bid their contract and did not require any worker retention protections. This is unacceptable - no one should have to fear layoffs every time a contract changes hands.
  • This year, we passed a bill requiring that workforces of Government-contracted call centers be retained if the contract is re-bid and awarded to a new contractor.

Major Victory - Protecting Local Journalism

  • New York can stem the tide of newspaper closures and offer newspapers a bridge to a self-sustaining new business model. Saving newspaper jobs and preserving news coverage of NYS communities is vital to a healthy democracy and local economies.
  • We got provisions included In the Fiscal Year 2025 Budget that creates a payroll tax credit allowing news organizations to receive a 50% job creation tax credit on the first $50,000 of a local journalist’s salary.

Major Victory - Ending Mandatory Fees for SUNY Grad Workers

  • For years, graduate workers at SUNY campuses - represented by CWA Local 1104 - have been getting crushed by the weight of mandatory fees they must pay to the university. In 2024 we won funding in the State Budget to phase out these fees.
  • The Fiscal Year 2025 Budget included the next installment of $3 million for phasing out SUNY grad worker fees over four years, which brings us to a total of $6 million.

Partial Victory - Funding the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies

  • The School of Labor Studies is specifically dedicated to public service and social justice, providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs that prepare the next generation of labor and community leaders.
  • The Fiscal Year 2025 Budget includes $2.25 million for CUNY SLU - less than we were pushing for, but still needed.

Partial Victory - Funding the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies

  • Hospitals desperately need increased funding in order to protect our healthcare workers, keep hospitals open, and ensure the best quality of care for all New Yorkers.
  • The Fiscal Year 2025 Budget includes an approximately 5% increase to the Medicaid reimbursement rate - an important step, but not enough to meet the financial challenges that hospitals are facing. We’re keeping up the fight to get our hospitals the funding that they truly need!

Our work made the difference on these victories - we made dozens of trips to Albany to speak with legislators, held several press conferences and legislative trainings, and CWA members across the state sent over 600 emails to the Assembly to advocate for the Call Center Worker Retention bill.

We also fought hard for several other priorities that are not over the finish line yet, but have made significant progress, including shortening the waiting time for striking workers to collect Unemployment Insurance, safety standards and transparency for workers in the tower climber industry, and protecting healthcare workers from mandatory overtime. So we’ll be back to keep fighting for these issues next year!

Thank you to everyone who sent an email to the NYS Assembly to help secure this big win for call center workers, and for all who help advocate for our worker power agenda this year!