New York Labor Law Blog

Protecting union members from disputes inside the union

New York City workers who are part of a union will be under the impression that the needs of the members are paramount and will come before individual advancement and enrichment. The idea of a union is to ensure that its members maximize their income and benefits and the labor relations are kept fair for them. However, there are times when the union members might suspect misdeeds on the part of other union members or those who are at the upper echelon of the union. This is when it is imperative to have legal assistance to protect the members from internal problems.

There are many issues that can cause turmoil inside a union and have a negative effect on its members. For example, there might be financial dishonesty, kickbacks, fraud, corruption, or workplace harassment of a personal, professional and sexual nature. Some union members might be under the impression that they are at the mercy of the union and its management, but that is not the case. Without its members, there is no union.

Tension with corrections officers and oversight board escalates


Long-standing tension between the City Board of Corrections for New York City and the Correction Officers Benevolent Association escalated at a recent public hearing. In the meeting, Steven Safyer, City Board of Correction member called Correction Officers Benevolent Association president “a piece of s—t.” The labor union feels the City Board of Corrections is too inmate-friendly.

Union members for New York police protest video release

For New York workers who are in a union, the idea that they will be protected from unfair treatment when it comes to all aspects of their job is an alluring factor. This is true regardless of the type of job the person does, but it is particularly important for first responders, specifically law enforcement. Given the prevalence of complaints in today's world - specifically with the police - having union representation when there are disciplinary procedures is essential. So, too, is it imperative that union members make certain that the heads of their union know that having a law firm that is experienced in these situations to provide guidance is equally important.

The release of body camera recordings on New York City Police Department officers has sparked a protest from its union. According to the union, the release of the footage - when there is no court order to do so - is a violation of state law rendering discipline of law enforcement officers confidential. The protest comes from the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association. The PBA serves as the representative for approximately 24,000 uniformed cops.

Workers Trapped In Substandard Conditions And Pay

In one of the most dangerous industries in the country, workers in New York City toil without the protections of true worker representation. The majority of private company commercial trash haulers do not receive safety equipment or training and are forced to work unpaid overtime to keep their jobs. Safety is compromised to cut time off of already long routes. This is the world of private commercial trash haulers in New York City.

New York City’s trash collection is split between residential and commercial services, and working conditions, wages, and benefits couldn’t be more different between the two. Public residential sanitation workers have a living wage, benefits and time off.

Employee benefits in New York now include paid family leave

New York labor law often has changes that grant different benefits to workers. While most employers will adhere to the new rules, unfortunately, some won't. In some cases, the employers might not even be aware of the changes and the new rights that employees have. When it comes to employee benefits, workers should be aware of what they can and cannot do under the law. If there is confusion or a violation, legal help is a must.

New Yorkers who did not meet the threshold in their jobs to get time off based on the federal Family and Medical Leave Act can now have time off based on a law signed by Governor Andrew Cuomo. The law went into effect on January 1. With it, those who did not qualify under FMLA can use the New York State Paid Family Leave Law. Employees who are eligible can get as much as 12 weeks of paid family leave if they are caring for an infant or a family member who is suffering from a serious health issue. They can also get time off for the birth or adoption of a child or assisting with family needs if a family member is serving in the military.

Can I use FMLA to care for an adult child?

Even New Yorkers who understand labor law might not grasp the full scope of the Family and Medical Leave Act and the rights they have under it. FMLA allows people to have maternity and even paternity leave for a designated period without fear of losing their jobs; they can receive time off when they are caring for a sick loved one; but there are many other circumstances under which a worker can use FMLA. One is if the worker has an adult son or daughter who has a serious health condition.

Knowing how son or daughter is defined and the cases in which FMLA is applicable is key to using the law for this purpose. FMLA is generally not available for people to take time off to care for a son or daughter who is a legal adult age 18 or older. However, it is possible to take leave to care for a biological, adopted, foster child, stepchild, legal ward, or a child to whom the parent is in loco parentis (the responsible adult), if the child is 18 or older and cannot care for themselves due to a physical or mental disability when FMLA will be used.

Age discrimination lawsuit filed by communication labor union

The announcement of another Amazon warehouse in New York City seemed like good news since it meant more job opportunities for New York workers. However, the ecommerce company has come under fire for age discrimination practices along with the cellular company T-Mobile.


New York City casting directors seek to join labor union

Certain New York workers are in jobs where they are prevented from forming a union. The inability to unionize can be detrimental to collective bargaining and keep workers from earning as much as they could if they formed a union. When there is an attempt on the part of a group of workers to form a union, they will sometimes meet resistance. Even before garnering enough support to move forward, it is imperative to have legal assistance from a law firm that is experienced in union representation.

Casting directors are seeking to unionize and are receiving help from other unions in the city. The New York City Central Labor Council's executive board notified the Broadway League that they are joining with the casting directors and their union in an ongoing dispute it is embroiled in with the League. The League had filed a lawsuit against seven casting directors. The lawsuit states that the casting directors had come together in a cartel to raise the rates Broadway producers are paying. The casting agents state that they are seeking to get benefits for its members. The Labor Council represents approximately 1.3 million people in New York.

Flight attendants for growing airline seek to join labor union

For some employees in New York and across the nation, the idea of unionizing is foreign to them. There could be a variety of reasons for this from management discouraging it to unfounded fear that seeking to join a labor union could be detrimental to their employment. The truth is that workers who believe their interests would be better-served were they to come together as a union should explore the possibility. When doing this, it is imperative to have a law firm that is experienced in union representation to provide legal guidance and advice.

Steps to unionize were taken by the flight attendants for JetBlue Airways. This information comes from the Transport Workers Union (TWU). JetBlue, based in New York, is a growing company. Many of the flight attendants are based in New York. An election is set to be held to provide union representation to close to 5,000 workers. The workers are planning a vote at the start of the new year.

What do fiduciary responsibilities mean with ERISA?

For New York residents who are taking part in the Employment Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), it is not only important to understand the basics of the pension plan, but there are other aspects that must be accounted for to make certain that the plan is protected. It is vital to understand the fiduciary responsibilities of ERISA.

Under ERISA, the assets in the plan belonging to the participant will be protected by making sure that the individuals or entities with authority or discretionary control over the management or the assets, anyone who has authority of administration of the plan, or anyone who is giving investment advice and is compensated for it adheres to fiduciary responsibilities. This can include a trustee of the plan, an administrator of the plan, and those who are on the plan's investment committee.

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