New York has long been known as a state with some of the best worker protection policies in place. Once again, global organization Oxfam confirmed this with its annual Best States to Work index for 2022.
The Empire State had an overall ranking of No. 5, behind Oregon, California, Washington and Washington, D.C. This year’s ranking, however, represents a decline for New York, which ranked No. 2 in 2021. Oxfam’s index determines which states protect, support and pay their workers.
First in unions, third in worker protection
In producing its rankings, Oxfam focused on three areas: fair wages, workplace protections that keep workers safe, and the right to allow workers to organize, form and join unions.
Among these categories, New York ranked first in right to organize and join a union, third in worker protection policies and 10th in wage policies. The state’s top ranking in the right to organize policies may be attributed to a number of factors, including:
- Since New York does not have a “right-to-work” law in place, unions are not suppressed.
- Teachers gain through the provision of collective bargaining and wage negotiations.
- Workers gain protections from wage theft retaliation.
- Public workers have collective bargaining powers.
- Project labor agreements gain full legalization, ensuring fair wages to contract workers.
Oxfam also released a related index known as the Best and Worst States for Working Women. Here, New York had an overall ranking of No. 3, behind Oregon and California. In the three Working Women categories, New York ranked first in right to organize, second in worker protection policies and ninth in wage policies.
Efforts must continue
While New York continues to have a strong record when it comes to protecting workers, stronger efforts still need to take place. Unions remain an important part of the American fabric and must continue to gain stronger footholds within society.