New York CIty Council Member Ben Kallos

Jobs

In these difficult economic times we must reform our regressive tax system, not create new draconian sales taxes that burden our City's working families, while cutting vital services like health care and education that we need. We should create new economic incentive programs to encourage growth and job creation. I had the privilege of working on one such progressive economic program, the Second Avenue Subway Construction Grants Program, while serving as Chief of Staff to&nbsp;<a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/ad=073&quot; target="_BLANK"><strong>Assemblyman Jonathan L. Bing</strong></a>. This program would provide economic and technical support to small businesses that were negatively affected by the construction of the Second Avenue Subway. Through innovative economic development and tax reform we will combat the threat of rows of empty store fronts and maintain a vibrant community by helping to keep small independently owned and operated businesses open and preserving jobs through even the most difficult of economic times.

ConstructionDive Worker claims employer had him arrested based on his reporting of safety concerns by Kim Slowey

Worker claims employer had him arrested based on his reporting of safety concerns

Dive Brief:

  • The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) filed suit against a Boston-based contractor, alleging that the company took retaliatory measures against one of its employees — facilitating his U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrest — after he reported a workplace injury, an event that kicked off an OSHA investigation. 

  • According to the lawsuit, José Martin Paz Flores (Paz) was working as a drywall taper for Tara Construction when he fell from a ladder and broke his leg. Based on Paz's report to a foreman and a referral from the local fire department that day, OSHA began an investigation into safety conditions at the jobsite.

  • The DOL alleges that Tara CEO Pedro Pirez subsequently contacted law enforcement with concerns about Paz’s identity and facilitated Paz’s arrest outside of Tara’s offices, which resulted in his detention by ICE for days. 

 

Dive Insight:

The DOL is seeking back pay and damages from Tara on behalf of Paz, as well as other relief such as a neutral letter of recommendation for Paz, who has since been cleared to work, to present to prospective future employers. Reporting an injury and causing an OSHA investigation to be initiated are protected acts under federal whistleblower laws, which blanket all workers, regardless of immigration status. 

ConstructionDive Details emerge of prevailing wage deal between union, NYC on housing projects by Kim Slowey

Details emerge of prevailing wage deal between union, NYC on housing projects

But the conversation around the prevailing wage and the New York City construction industry is far from over. Last month, New York City Council Member Ben Kallos proposed legislation that would require construction companies to pay their workers the prevailing wage on many projects subsidized by the city, even if those companies do not have a direct contract with the city. If they don't pay the prevailing wage, they would risk the loss of financial assistance for the project and fines of $10,000 a day for noncompliance. The new regulation would apply to projects that receive subsidies of at least $1 million, are 100,000 square feet or more in size or, for residential developments, have more than 50 units per building.

City and State City Council bill aims to impose prevailing wage on all city-subsidized projects by Jeff Coltin

City Council bill aims to impose prevailing wage on all city-subsidized projects

New York City Councilman Ben Kallos is reintroducing a stalled bill that would require all construction workers to get paid the prevailing wage on any projects getting city subsidies.

Under state law, any project built under a government contract must pay workers the prevailing wage. Kallos’ bill would cast a much wider net, mandating the prevailing wage for not just direct government contracts, but for any projects getting grants, bond financing, tax abatements or any other sort of support valued over $1 million from the New York City government.

Manhattan Times “It felt like slavery” Advocates slam Amazon’s worker practices and new deal by Greg McQueen

“It felt like slavery” Advocates slam Amazon’s worker practices and new deal

“It felt like slavery,” said Amazon worker Ibrahim Sangare.

It’s a “modern plantation.”

Ibrahim Sangare worked at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Staten Island and said the experience was grueling. Workers spent at least 10 hours a day on their feet while scanning items, lifting boxes, and going up and down stairs.

New York Daily News New York furniture store Waldner’s no longer leaning on union workers after it lays off nearly 40 Teamsters by Ginger Adams Otis

New York furniture store Waldner’s no longer leaning on union workers after it lays off nearly 40 Teamsters

City Councilman Ben Kallos, whose district includes many New York Presbyterian facilities, said Waldner’s was “wrong” to fire its union employees.

"Waldner's shouldn't be locking out hard-working employees, some of which have been with the company for 30 years," Kallos said.

“Any institution currently working with Waldner's should insist they end the lockout and negotiate in good faith,” he added.

New York Daily News Mayor de Blasio joins 24 city pols in signing letter to support unionization efforts at DNAinfo, Gothamist by Ginger Adams Otis

Mayor de Blasio joins 24 city pols in signing letter to support unionization efforts at DNAinfo, Gothamist

The mayor might not like to take questions from the press — but he does believe they have the right to join a union.

De Blasio was among nearly two dozen city officials who signed a letter Thursday in support of reporters at two popular local websites who are fighting to get management to recognize their recent union vote.

“We support the editorial staff of DNAinfo and Gothamist as they exercise their right to unionize,” the letter said.

“The work of these reporters and editors is crucial for NYC. We call on management to respect their democratic right to organize and immediately recognize their union,” it concluded.

New York Daily News Exclusive: NYC pol pushes anti-patronage bill requiring government jobs to be posted for two weeks before hiring by Erin Durkin

Exclusive: NYC pol pushes anti-patronage bill requiring government jobs to be posted for two weeks before hiring

"When there aren't public postings, that's a good indication there may be patronage involved, or worse yet conflicts of interest," Kallos said. "New Yorkers would know about the 350,000 jobs the city has, and the city could expand its pool of qualified applicants," Kallos said.

Our Town Father’s Day Strike At The Hamilton BY MADELEINE THOMPSON by Madeleine Thompson

Father’s Day Strike At The Hamilton BY MADELEINE THOMPSON

A group of families celebrated Father’s Day last Sunday by participating in a union strike at 1735 York Avenue and E. 90th Street.

Members of 32BJ who work at the building — along with their children, some of the tenants, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and City Council Member Ben Kallos — were there to protest their treatment by Bonjour Capital, which bought the building from Glenwood Management. The strike started last Thursday and ended Monday morning