Media Release: SWEAT Coalition Applauds the Passing of the SWEAT ACT, S2844 in the State Senate; Urge Assembly to Pass A486 and Governor Cuomo to Sign the Critical Act to Stop Wage Theft

***Media Release***

For immediate Release: June 14, 2019           

Contact:
Sarah Ahn, Flushing Workers Center – 646-409-8056
Kristin Brown, Empire Justice Center – 518-852-5766

Statewide Coalition of Workers Rights Organizations, Legal Services, Labor Unions, and many impacted New Yorkers Applaud the Passing of the SWEAT ACT, S2844 in the State Senate; Urge Assembly to Pass A486 and Governor Cuomo to Sign the Critical Act to Stop Wage Theft 

The SWEAT Coalition (Secure Wages Earned Against Theft), a statewide coalition of 85 organizationsapplauds the passage of S2844 in the State Senate and thanks Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and sponsor Senator Jessica Ramos for their  leadership in answering  the call of thousands of workers in NYS that have been demanding to strengthen our laws so that law-breaking employers cannot continue to flout our state’s labor laws and never be held accountable. With the tools provided to workers, their advocates and government agencies, the goal is to root out wage theft that currently robs hard-working New Yorkers of an estimated $1 billion in unpaid wages each year. The SWEAT Act will make it more difficult for employers to evade responsibility, making wage theft a less profitable business model.

The SWEAT legislation will level the playing field for law-abiding businesses, and will increase revenue for New York State by hundreds of millions of dollars by enabling the collection of money owed to the Department of Labor.

The Coalition urges the state Assembly to now take action to pass the A486 immediately. Without this critical bill, wage theft will only worsen in NYS. The Coalition also urges Governor Cuomo to commit to signing the bill into law. 

“Our Coalition applauds the Senate for passing S2844, a critical bill that will finally make our labor laws enforceable. We thank Senator Ramos for her leadership and we look forward to working with the Assembly and with Governor Cuomo to sign the bill into law so workers can start using the tools to fight wage theft”, said Coalition representative, Sarah Ahn.  

“Empire Justice Center thanks Senate Majority Leader Stewart-Cousins, Senator Ramos and the Senate Majority for finally passing this critical piece of legislation that will allow harmed workers to collect on wages they earned and are long overdue.  We look forward to celebrating passage in the Assembly next week before the 2019 Legislative Session ends”, said Kristin Brown, Vice President for Policy & Government Relations for Empire Justice Center,a statewide civil legal aid organization.

“I am very happy to hear the news that the SWEAT bill has passed in the Senate. This is very good news for workers in NYS because with these tools, we have a chance to win back our unpaid wages and hold employers accountable. We thank Senator Ramos for her hard work to pass the bill through the Senate and we look forward to seeing it pass once again through the Assembly and for Governor Cuomo to sign it into law”, said Vincent Cao, restaurant worker and member of Chinese Staff & Workers Association.  

“The passage of the SWEAT Act is a critical step for hard working New Yorkers who are cheated out of an estimated $1 Billion of their wages every year. Catholic Migration Services applauds the Senate for eliminating loopholes that have for too long allowed low road employers to cheat their workers and evade accountability”, said David A. Colodny, Director of Legal Services and Sr. Vice President at Catholic Migration Services

“Finally, we have a chance to stop wage theft with the passage of the SWEAT bill!” said Carlos Rodriguez Herrera, member of the National Mobilization Against SweatShops and restaurant worker. “We are thrilled that Senaor Jessica Ramos and all the senators sided with workers and with businesses that are trying to do right by the law. We’re looking forward to the Assembly and Governor Cuomo helping us make New York State sweatshop free.”

“When low-wage workers are deprived of their ability to collect on the wages that they are owed, our communities, honest businesses, and New York taxpayers suffer,” said Richard Blum, Staff Attorney with the Employment Law Unit at The Legal Aid Society.“The New York State Senate recognizes this reality, and the need for safeguards codified on the books to ensure that our clients and other workers secure the pay that they are owed. The Legal Aid Society calls on Speaker Heastie and the Assembly to hold an immediate vote on companion legislation currently pending on that chamber’s floor.”

“Day laborers and newly-arrived immigrants are cheated out of their wages at alarming rates by unscrupulous employers who withhold days or weeks of pay or who fail to compensate them adequately for all the hours they’ve worked,” said Manuel Castro, Executive Director of New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE). “By passing SWEAT, the NYS Senate is sending a powerful message that all workers must be paid their rightful wages–and if they’re not, workers should have robust tools to reclaim stolen pay. If enacted into law, SWEAT will make it possible for workers to recover much-needed wages and ensure predatory employers are not looking to exploit vulnerable workers without consequence.”

“Today we are one step away from this bill becoming law, which gives us hope, because this change will truly benefit workers,” said Glenda Sefla, member of the New York Nail Salon Workers Association. “We feel heard and supported in our fight against wage theft. Thank you to Assemblymember Rosenthal and Senator Ramos for their leadership in supporting SWEAT.”

“With the leadership of both Assemblywoman Rosenthal and Senator Ramos we now are one step closer to having another tool in SWEAT to push back against the rampant wage theft that currently exists in the nail salon industry and for all workers in New York State.” said Luis Gomez, Director of Organizing for Workers United NYNJ. “We look forward to and urge Governor Cuomo to not hesitate in signing this bill into law”

SWEAT COALTION MEMBERS INCLUDE: A Better Balance, Anderson Dodson, P.C, Atlas: DIY, Adhikaar for Human Rights and Social Justice, AlianzaLaboral de Westchester, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, Biking Public Project, Brandworkers, Catholic Migration Services, Center for Popular Democracy, Chinese Staff & Workers Association, Communications Workers of America District 1, Community Justice Clinic, University at Buffalo School of Law, CUNY Law School Labor Coalition, Damayan Migrant Workers Association, Desis Rising Up & Moving, Domestic Workers United, Don Bosco Workers, Inc., Downtown Independent Democrats, Eisner & Associates, P.C., El Centro del Inmigrante,  Empire Justice Center, Flushing Workers Center, Freelancers Union, Greater New York Labor Religion Coalition, Harlem Community Nutritional Services Agency, Hunger Action Network,Jews for Racial & Economic Justice, Joy of Resistance, Judeotutor Services, Laborers Local 1010,Labor-Religion Coalition of NYS, Latinojustice, Laundry Workers Center, Legal Aid Society, Legal Services of Central New York, Long Island Immigrant Alliance, MFY-NY, Mission and Social Justice Commission, The Riverside Church, Movement of Rank & File, MORE-UFT, Mount Vernon United Tenants, National Center for Law and Economic Justice, National Domestic Workers Alliance, National Employment Law Project (NELP),  National Employment Lawyers Association – New York, National Lawyers Guild – NYC, National Mobilization Against Sweatshops, National Organization for Women (NOW), New Economy Project, New Immigrant Community Empowerment, New York New Jersey Regional Joint Board, Workers United a/w SEIU, NYS Dairy Workers Organizing Committee, Outten& Golden, LLC. Partnership for the Public Good, Pelton & Associates P.C., Queens Federation of Churches, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, Rochester Research Associates, LLC, Rochester Workers Center, ROC-NY, Rural & Migrant Ministry, Safe Horizons, SepaMujer, SisaPakari Centro Cultural &Laboral, Sister Margaret of North Folk Spanish Apostolate, Systemic Disorder, Three Parks Independent Democrats, Tompkins County Workers’ Center, Trinity Lutheran Church, UAW New York State CAP Council, UWS Sweatshop Free Campaign, Upstate New York Alliance of Worker Centers, Urban Justice Center, Western New York Law Center,  West Park Presbyterian Church, Worker Justice Center of NY, Workers’ Center of Central NY, Workers’ Justice Project, W & W Universal Design, Inc.

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