Media Release: SWEAT Coalition Applauds the Passing of the SWEAT ACT, A486/S2844 in NYS Legislature; Urge Governor Cuomo to Sign the Critical Act to Stop Wage Theft

***Media Release***

For immediate Release: June 18, 2019           
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, A486/S2844 in the State Legislature; Urge Governor Cuomo to Sign the Critical Act to Stop Wage Theft

After passing the state Senate last Friday, the state Assembly followed suit and passed A486 Monday evening. The SWEAT Coalition (Secure Wages Earned Against Theft), a statewide coalition of 85 organizations, applauds the passage of A486/S2844 in the Assembly and thanks Speaker Carl Heastie and sponsor Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal 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.

By making it more difficult for employers to evade responsibility, 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 Governor Cuomo to sign the bill into law so we can stop wage theft from worsening in NYS.

“We are grateful to the Legislature for passing legislation that will give us the tools we need to enforce the most basic labor standards laws.  We look forward to wage theft no longer being a profitable business model in New York” said Richard Blum, Staff Attorney for The Legal Aid Society.

“SWEAT will provide simple tools for New York’s workers to recover their hard-earned wages stolen by scofflaw employers.” said National Center for Law and Economic Justice Senior Attorney Leah Lotto. “NCLEJ is proud to have joined in this statewide effort to strengthen worker protections.”

“Empire Justice Center is so proud to stand with the workers, advocates and bill sponsors, Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal and Senator Jessica Ramos in celebrating passage of this important bill that will ensure that workers get paid what they earned. We look forward to Governor Cuomo signing it quickly”, said Kristin Brown, VP for Government Relations for Empire Justice Center.

“With the passage of the SWEAT bill in the Assembly yesterday New York State is one step closer to finally giving workers a real mechanism to recover stolen wages. Assemblymember Rosenthal and Senator Ramos have delivered for workers once again. For far too long collecting on judgements has been the weak point in our wage theft enforcement. It has allowed many of our car wash members to go unpaid even after winning in court. We look forward to Governor Cuomo signing this bill into law and building on his record,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).

“Thank you to Assemblymember Rosenthal for her determination to pass the SWEAT bill so workers have the right tools to fight wage theft. Now, we look forward to Governor Cuomo signing it into law so workers can actually collect when they are cheated by unscrupulous employers.” Sarah Ahn, Flushing Workers Center.

“This is a huge step to fighting wage theft. We have been fighting wage theft for three decades. If we had this law before, millions of dollars would have been collected by workers. Thank you to Assemblymember Rosenthal and Senator Ramos for their leadership in passing the SWEAT bill.” Wing Lam, Chinese Staff & Workers Association 

“By passing SWEAT, the New York State Legislature has sent a strong message to unscrupulous employers who don’t pay their workers: it will no longer be possible to hide assets while wage theft cases wend their way through court.” Miriam Clark, President, NELA/NY.

“If enacted into law, the tools provided by SWEAT would represent a huge win for workers across New York, in particular workers like our members–day laborers and newly arrived immigrants who are often preyed upon by unscrupulous employers,” said Manuel Castro, Executive Director of New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE). “We thank Assemblymember Rosenthal and Senator Ramos for their leadership in moving this bill through the state legislature. We look forward to Governor Cuomo signing this bill as soon as possible and working with the Department of Labor and our coalition partners to effectively implement these new protections.”

SWEAT COALITION 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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