Assemblyman Lancman met recently with Transport Workers Union Local 100 leaders, whose members face a multitude of safety concerns in their workplaces. Safety hazards include the spread of infectious diseases, trips and falls, exposure to moving transit and devastating incidents of workplace violence.
The Subcommittee on Workplace Safety is currently following the MTA's installation and assessment of new partitions intended to protect bus drivers against passenger harassment and attacks. These guards are set to be installed in 464 buses by year's end, and the shields will be evaluated for their effectiveness as part of a plan to install them state-wide.
Assemblyman Lancman and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters met to discuss the misclassification of truck drivers and its impact on workplace safety.
Misclassification rates are believed to be disproportionately high in the trucking industry, with port truck drivers and delivery truck drivers often improperly classified as "independent contractors." They are thereby deprived of proper social security, healthcare and unemployment benefits, as well as workers' compensation, minimum wage protections, the right to join a union and the right to a safe and healthy workplace.
The "New York State Commercial Goods Transportation Fair Play Act," introduced by Assemblyman Lancman, would prevent employers from improperly classifying truck drivers as independent contractors, allowing drivers to receive their due employee benefits.
Assemblyman Lancman was honored to attend the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH) annual workplace safety dinner and to recognize the four honorees with Workplace Safety and Health awards: Danny Donohoe, President of CSEA; Lee Clarke, Health and Safety Director of DC37; Joseph and Linda Zadroga, the parents of James Zadroga, after whom the "Zadroga Act" is named; and Domestic Workers United.
NYCOSH is a vital organization that serves all workers in New York state. It offers training on how to stay safe on the job and also advocates for safer and healthier working conditions.
Assemblyman Lancman addressed Painters District Council 9 workers about the Subcommittee's ongoing efforts to ensure employee safety. Falling from heights, exposure to asbestos and close encounters with on-coming traffic are just a few of the dangerous conditions that painters face on the job. At the meeting, Assemblyman Lancman discussed his "Bridge Work Zone Safety Act," which would protect painters from speeding traffic on New York's bridges. Enacting this legislation is one of the Subcommittee's goals for 2012.
Assemblyman Lancman joined employees of Cornerstone of Medical Arts Center, a substance abuse treatment facility in his district, as they voted to go on strike after six years of fruitless negotiations. The 150 striking employees are members of 1199/SEIU.
"Healthcare workers - whether in a hospital, nursing home or substance abuse treatment facility - deserve fair wages and a safe workplace, and an employer that won't bargain in good faith is doing a disservice not only to their employees, but also to their patients and to the community," said Assemblyman Lancman.
The employees' vote to strike passed, but the strike is currently on hold until September, when the absence of striking workers will not negatively impact the center's patients. News coverage of this story can be found here.
NYC United Brotherhood of Carpenters Labor Technical College graduation ceremony
Assemblyman Lancman recently addressed the graduating class of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters Labor Technical College. At the graduation ceremony, Assemblyman Lancman encouraged graduates to make healthy and safe decisions once they enter the working world. The Labor Technical College incorporates OSHA training into its curriculum and stresses safety and health as a top priority. This prepares graduates for the dangers they may encounter in future workplaces.
Assemblyman Lancman attended the New York City Restaurant Industry Roundtable and joined the Restaurant Opportunities Center of New York in applauding the release of "If You Care, Eat Here." The second edition of the guide identifies restaurants with laudable labor practices, including consistent attention to employee health and safety.
Assemblyman Lancman attended the street renaming for Donnette Sanz, a city traffic enforcement officer who was tragically killed along with her unborn child on the job on August 14, 2008. Donnette was struck by a van at a Bronx intersection and died in the hospital hours later. The street renaming in her honor drew family members and friends, elected officials New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Communications Workers of America Local 1182 President, James Huntley. Assemblyman Lancman was honored to take part in the street renaming and to remember the life of Donnette Sanz.
Assemblyman Lancman showed his support for members of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) who went on strike because of Verizon's unfair contract demands and stalled negotiations. Approximately 35,000 members of CWA and 10,000 members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers were on strike for two weeks. The strike has since ended, with the 45,000 union members back at work, but a final contract agreement has not been reached. Assemblyman Lancman will continue to support the efforts of Verizon workers to maintain fair pensions and benefits, and to protect their jobs from being outsourced overseas.