A law that is set to go into effect in New York on Jan.1 will require agricultural employers in the state to give their workers at least one day off each week and pay them overtime when they work more than 60 hours during a workweek. The Farm Laborers Fair Labor Practices Act will also make it easier for farm workers to organize and join unions.
Several New York labor unions are in conflict over a proposed bill that passed the state legislature. Amalgamated Transit Union 1181, representing school bus drivers, supports the Employee Protection Provision (EPP) bill, which they say would protect drivers' wages, seniority and benefits even when bus routes change hands. The bill reinstates rights that had previously been stripped from bus workers in 2011, specifically protecting compensation and seniority after a new bus company is contracted to take over a specific route.
Staff members employed at Hearst Magazines, a New York-based company that runs 24 media properties, have voted to join the Writers Guild of America East. The new union includes staff members across the two dozen media operations that include Town & Country, Esquire and Cosmopolitan. A statement from union organizers named compensation, transparency, diversity, and editorial standards as the top priorities for the unionized staff.
Teachers in New York will see a revised evaluation system after the state's Board of Regents approved a policy that gives local school districts as well as teachers' unions greater influence over the ratings educators receive for their work. It replaces a controversial approach that relied mainly on student growth scores generated by computers and based on a number of metrics, including standardized test scores. The board unanimously approved the change. Under the changed rules, around half of a teacher's evaluation will continue to be linked to standardized test performance by students. The other half of the evaluation will be based on classroom evaluations conducted locally.
Museum workers in New York may potentially go on strike following an authorization vote that came after months of contract negotiations. The New Museum Union said that members had agreed to strike after museum officials failed to agree to its demands for health care for all museum workers, greater safety protections and a minimum annual salary of $51,000 for all workers at the institution. Union leaders said that New Museum officials had rejected the demands and that negotiations had been going on for nearly a full year. A member of the bargaining committee said that museum officials were "hostile" to the majority of union proposals in the bargaining process.
One of New York's largest public-sector unions recently encouraged about 100 of its dues-paying members to seek representation elsewhere. The move may seem strange considering how difficult unions around the country are finding it to attract members, but it makes sense when the federal laws that govern trade unions are taken into consideration. The members who left the Public Employees Federation were the organization's only private-sector workers, which means that the union is now made up entirely of public-sector workers and is no longer subject to the provisions of the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act.
Some employees in New York may be members of labor unions, which work to protect employees and to keep wages and work conditions fair. Although labor unions are a common part of the employment landscape today, workers' rights to unionize were not recognized until the 20th century.
A manager and two employees who worked for Spot Coffee in Upstate New York were reportedly terminated for trying to join a union. The employees were terminated for organizing a meeting while the manager was terminated for refusing to tell the company who attended it. A state lawmaker has called for a boycott of the company and said that unions were an important part of America.
On the afternoon of June 17, BuzzFeed journalists in New York and three other cities stopped work to protest the company's slow response to employees' votes to unionize. The vote in February came after the company laid off dozens of employees. Each side accuses the other of stalling the process.
Collective bargaining can be an important part of ensuring and improving healthcare benefits for workers in New York. This is one reason why a bill being considered by the state legislator exempted collectively bargained changes from a regulation that would prevent insurance companies from changing their prescription formularies during a plan year. These formularies lay out which medications are covered and the out-of-pocket costs that go along with them under a specific insurance plan. The bill aims to stop insurance companies from suddenly ending coverage for or changing the price of a specific medication in the middle of the year when members are already locked into their plans.