Sixta Leon knows the meaning of hard work. A lifelong New Yorker, Sixta raised her 5 children while working as a housekeeper. As the head of household, Sixta works hard each day to take care of her loved ones, and earn enough to get by. When the pandemic hit, Sixta faced a significant setback. As families locked their doors to outsiders entering their homes, she lost her housekeeping jobs, her only source of income. Despite her long-standing contributions to our community, Sixta could not afford rent, medical care, or personal protective equipment (PPE).

Fortunately, thanks to the invaluable assistance provided by compassionate and diligent New York State DOL employees, Sixta's crisis was corrected. They guided her through the process of accessing the excluded worker fund, which proved to be a lifeline for her. They helped Sixta secure the $14,820 she was rightfully entitled to under New York law’s excluded workers fund.

Yet not all are so lucky. New York is facing a crime wave—but it’s not the one Governor Hochul fearmongers about. Across our State, working people are exploited daily by employers who steal their wages and benefits, miscalculate time worked, expose them to unsafe conditions, cheat the unemployment insurance fund, or otherwise take advantage of them in ways that break the law. As a result, working New Yorkers lose out on $3 billion in wage theft every year.

Years of underfunding in public agencies during the previous two administrations have left the NYS Department of Labor (DOL) overwhelmed and unable to enforce labor laws fully. As a result, this problem lands squarely on the desks of DOL employees, who face the daunting task of addressing a growing backlog of cases and new violations each year.

Despite these challenges, DOL employees persevere in their mission to protect workers and seek justice for victims of wage theft. In fact, they are currently working through a staggering $79 million in back pay owed to confirmed victims of wage theft who reported to the DOL. In 2023, each DOL investigator was responsible for a whopping 72,884 workers across the New York workforce. These investigators are chipping away against a colossal mess left on their desks by state legislators, and it’s only getting worse each year.

DOL employees, with their deep understanding of labor laws and unwavering dedication to the well-being of workers across the state, serve as the vital bridge between hardworking New Yorkers and their workplace rights. It's time to give them some much-overdue support by passing the EmPIRE Act.

The EmPIRE Act is a common-sense solution that allows more people to access courts to exert their existing workplace rights. EmPIRE expands the state’s enforcement capacity. It allows affected workers' labor unions to extend the reach of the Labor Commissioner and Attorney General and file DOL-supervised legal claims for labor law violations on behalf of the state.

By generating an estimated additional of $103 million in annual revenue for the DOL, the EmPIRE Act will also enable the department to increase staffing and alleviate the burden placed upon them. With these measures, DOL employees will have more freedom to focus on what they do best – assisting individuals like Sixta Leon and countless others who rely on their support.

The EmPIRE Act, with widespread support from various unions and workers' aid organizations, will strengthen the DOL's ability to carry out its mission effectively. We know our rights are only as real as our ability to enforce them. By providing additional funding and reducing the burden on the department, this Act will enable DOL employees to continue their invaluable work of protecting the rights and well-being of all future New York's workers.

By passing the EmPIRE Act, we can protect New Yorkers like Sixta, who serve our community and work hard but may face workplace challenges or sudden job loss. Millions of New Yorkers need the EmPIRE Act to fight for our stolen wages, pay out our unemployment, fight employers who fail to keep us safe, and otherwise take care of us as we work hard to care for those we love.

In a country where profits are consistently prioritized over people, DOL employees are the unsung heroes who tirelessly fight for the rights of workers in New York. Their efforts are crucial in combating wage theft and unfair labor practices, ensuring that millions of workers across New York State are always supported.

Sixta Leon knows the meaning of hard work. A lifelong New Yorker, Sixta raised her 5 children while working as a housekeeper. As the head of household, Sixta works hard each day to take care of her loved ones, and earn enough to get by. When the pandemic hit, Sixta faced a significant setback. As families locked their doors to outsiders entering their homes, she lost her housekeeping jobs, her only source of income. Despite her long-standing contributions to our community, Sixta could not afford rent, medical care, or personal protective equipment (PPE).

Fortunately, thanks to the invaluable assistance provided by compassionate and diligent New York State DOL employees, Sixta's crisis was corrected. They guided her through the process of accessing the excluded worker fund, which proved to be a lifeline for her. They helped Sixta secure the $14,820 she was rightfully entitled to under New York law’s excluded workers fund.

Yet not all are so lucky. New York is facing a crime wave—but it’s not the one Governor Hochul fearmongers about. Across our State, working people are exploited daily by employers who steal their wages and benefits, miscalculate time worked, expose them to unsafe conditions, cheat the unemployment insurance fund, or otherwise take advantage of them in ways that break the law. As a result, working New Yorkers lose out on $3 billion in wage theft every year.

Years of underfunding in public agencies during the previous two administrations have left the NYS Department of Labor (DOL) overwhelmed and unable to enforce labor laws fully. As a result, this problem lands squarely on the desks of DOL employees, who face the daunting task of addressing a growing backlog of cases and new violations each year.

Despite these challenges, DOL employees persevere in their mission to protect workers and seek justice for victims of wage theft. In fact, they are currently working through a staggering $79 million in back pay owed to confirmed victims of wage theft who reported to the DOL. In 2023, each DOL investigator was responsible for a whopping 72,884 workers across the New York workforce. These investigators are chipping away against a colossal mess left on their desks by state legislators, and it’s only getting worse each year.

DOL employees, with their deep understanding of labor laws and unwavering dedication to the well-being of workers across the state, serve as the vital bridge between hardworking New Yorkers and their workplace rights. It's time to give them some much-overdue support by passing the EmPIRE Act.

The EmPIRE Act is a common-sense solution that allows more people to access courts to exert their existing workplace rights. EmPIRE expands the state’s enforcement capacity. It allows affected workers' labor unions to extend the reach of the Labor Commissioner and Attorney General and file DOL-supervised legal claims for labor law violations on behalf of the state.

By generating an estimated additional of $103 million in annual revenue for the DOL, the EmPIRE Act will also enable the department to increase staffing and alleviate the burden placed upon them. With these measures, DOL employees will have more freedom to focus on what they do best – assisting individuals like Sixta Leon and countless others who rely on their support.

The EmPIRE Act, with widespread support from various unions and workers' aid organizations, will strengthen the DOL's ability to carry out its mission effectively. We know our rights are only as real as our ability to enforce them. By providing additional funding and reducing the burden on the department, this Act will enable DOL employees to continue their invaluable work of protecting the rights and well-being of all future New York's workers.

By passing the EmPIRE Act, we can protect New Yorkers like Sixta, who serve our community and work hard but may face workplace challenges or sudden job loss. Millions of New Yorkers need the EmPIRE Act to fight for our stolen wages, pay out our unemployment, fight employers who fail to keep us safe, and otherwise take care of us as we work hard to care for those we love.

In a country where profits are consistently prioritized over people, DOL employees are the unsung heroes who tirelessly fight for the rights of workers in New York. Their efforts are crucial in combating wage theft and unfair labor practices, ensuring that millions of workers across New York State are always supported.

QOSHE - Why New York Workers Desperately Need the Empire Workplace Protection Act - Olivia Leirer
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Why New York Workers Desperately Need the Empire Workplace Protection Act

14 20
20.03.2024

Sixta Leon knows the meaning of hard work. A lifelong New Yorker, Sixta raised her 5 children while working as a housekeeper. As the head of household, Sixta works hard each day to take care of her loved ones, and earn enough to get by. When the pandemic hit, Sixta faced a significant setback. As families locked their doors to outsiders entering their homes, she lost her housekeeping jobs, her only source of income. Despite her long-standing contributions to our community, Sixta could not afford rent, medical care, or personal protective equipment (PPE).

Fortunately, thanks to the invaluable assistance provided by compassionate and diligent New York State DOL employees, Sixta's crisis was corrected. They guided her through the process of accessing the excluded worker fund, which proved to be a lifeline for her. They helped Sixta secure the $14,820 she was rightfully entitled to under New York law’s excluded workers fund.

Yet not all are so lucky. New York is facing a crime wave—but it’s not the one Governor Hochul fearmongers about. Across our State, working people are exploited daily by employers who steal their wages and benefits, miscalculate time worked, expose them to unsafe conditions, cheat the unemployment insurance fund, or otherwise take advantage of them in ways that break the law. As a result, working New Yorkers lose out on $3 billion in wage theft every year.

Years of underfunding in public agencies during the previous two administrations have left the NYS Department of Labor (DOL) overwhelmed and unable to enforce labor laws fully. As a result, this problem lands squarely on the desks of DOL employees, who face the daunting task of addressing a growing backlog of cases and new violations each year.

Despite these challenges, DOL employees persevere in their mission to protect workers and seek justice for victims of wage theft. In fact, they are currently working through a staggering $79 million in back pay owed to confirmed victims of wage theft who reported to the DOL. In 2023, each DOL investigator was responsible for a whopping 72,884 workers across the New York workforce. These investigators are chipping away against a colossal mess left on their desks by state legislators,........

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