NYS Budget Update: We Won BIG
CWA District 1 update
After the last several weeks in which CWA members have made hundreds of calls and sent thousands of emails to advocate for our priorities in the New York State budget, the NYS legislature settled on a final budget - and we won on several major campaigns.
What were our priorities and what did we win in the budget for CWA members?
1. Fight for High-Quality Broadband and Good Jobs in the Industry: MAJOR VICTORY!
Thanks to all your hard work and effort, we were able to ensure that the $1.6 billion state and Federal dollars included in this year’s budget for broadband expansion has protections for workers and prioritizes high-quality networks!
LABOR STANDARDS: Requires applicants for public funding to have high workplace safety standards and a skilled workforce
FIBER PREFERENCE: Prioritization of networks that are capable of speeds of 1 gigabyte up and down
PREQUALIFICATION: requires any applicant for broadband buildout grant to demonstrate to the state that it is competent to do the job
PREVAILING WAGE: Ensures that good union employers, like ours, don’t get undercut by low-road subcontractors
CWA fought to win $1.35 billion dollars for financially distressed hospitals and more in discretionary funding. This money will be distributed based on a plan established by the Commissioner of the Department of Health. We will have to keep pushing to make sure the hospitals in which our members work, which were badly hurt by the pandemic, get a fair share of this new funding to support hospitals designated to offset the impact of Covid-19.
The budget also included funding for up to $3,000 in bonuses for frontline healthcare workers! While we fought for a higher amount, we were pleased to win expanded eligibility to make sure more of our members were eligible for the bonuses.
3. Funding CUNY School of Labor & Museum: WIN!
The budget included $3.5 million from the Executive and $1.5 million from the Legislature for the CUNY SLU plus another $3 million in funding for the NYC labor museum! The school is dedicated to expanding higher education opportunities for workers, developing the next generation of labor and community leaders, and serving the educational needs of the labor movement and the broader community.
Unfortunately, we had some disappointments along with the victories - we were not able to secure funding in the budget to eliminate SUNY graduate worker fees, and we still have more work to do to get the standards on hospital funding that our members need.
But those fights are not over yet, and we're ready to keep pushing. From our electoral work in November to our legislative advocacy these past few months, we’ve shown that CWA is a powerful union that can help make historic changes for working families.