We the undersigned are deeply concerned about the retroactive cuts to the Indirect Cost Rate Initiative (ICR) for human services contracts which represent a reversal of the commitment to fully fund the agreed-upon indirect rate. This is not only a devastating blow to FY20 budgets for providers, but the lack of commitment for FY21 funding before the November plan puts providers in an even more precarious position.
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 <a href="http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/ad=073" 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.
Job Protections for Essential Workers Including Whistleblowers Proposed by Council Members Ben Kallos, Brad Lander and Speaker Johnson
“Just Cause” Legislation Would Provide Protections for Essential Workers During the Pandemic
New York, NY—Today, New York City Council Members Ben Kallos, Brad Lander, and Speaker Corey Johnson introduced legislation to protect essential workers from termination without “Just Cause.” Essential workers include healthcare workers, first responders, utility workers, and those on the frontline including those at supermarkets, making deliveries, and anyone working at an essential business as defined by Executive Order. Heroic health care and warehouse workers have faced retaliation for speaking out against unsafe conditions where they work. Essential businesses would be required to provide progressive discipline and a “just cause” within a week of termination subject to arbitration, a private right of action, with essential employees able to recover back pay and employers subject to fines of up to $2,500 per violation.
“No one should lose their job simply for asking for protective equipment during a pandemic. Our city’s essential workers are heroes and deserve to be treated that way complete with job protections for putting their lives on the line,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Thank you to Speaker Corey Johnson, Council Member Brad Lander, and our brothers and sisters in labor for joining us in our fight to protect essential workers.”
“At a time when the very lives of our hospital and health care workers are on the line, it is unconscionable that they would be fired for ringing the alarm bell about health and safety issues,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “It is imperative that we stand up for these doctors, nurses, and health care workers, listen to and lift up their concerns, and ensure that they cannot be unjustly fired for telling the truth about the conditions they face.”
Over the last month, private hospitals have issued guidance to their workers about what public communications is deemed acceptable. Some of the guidance threatened workers with termination if the communication is not first approved by executive-level staff. New York City’s 11 public hospitals have not issued such warnings and the Council Members urge the private hospital network and all healthcare institutions to follow the lead of New York City’s Health + Hospitals and allow their frontline workers to speak out without fear of an unfair firing.
April News + COVID-19 Update #5: $2 Trillion Relief Package, 550 New Beds, PPEs, SHSAT, New H.S. Library, and First Friday Online
The beginning of March feels like a lifetime ago, before the “new normal” we are all now living. Thank you to every New Yorker who is staying home, to those working in essential roles, and to everyone making huge sacrifices as we work together to flatten the curve to save those most at risk from COVID-19. Although we won’t be returning to our regular routines in time for the upcoming holidays, I want to wish everyone a Happy Passover, Easter, and Ramadan.
As of today, we have 113,000 cases and 1,895 deaths nationwide, 52,318 cases and 728 deaths in New York State, 29,777 cases and 517 deaths in New York City.
Senator Chuck Schumer led the Senate in passing a $2 trillion relief package that was signed into law yesterday that includes direct $1,200 payments, improved unemployment benefits, funding for the MTA, medical supplies for New York, and loans for small businesses. Learn how it applies to you.
To combat the pandemic, we've supported efforts to open 550 beds in the district for the surge, and we have connected with countless people near and far offering to donate, manufacture, or source personal protective equipment to the city and state's healthcare systems. We've provided laptops to students to learn from home and worked with internet service providers to provide free broadband to students who don't already have it. New York state remains under the Governor’s “PAUSE” directive.
I wrote an op-ed in Crain's with economist Teresa Ghilarducci outlining the 5 things we can do to save small businesses. I also wrote an open thank you letter in LaborPress to the teachers, healthcare workers, cleaners, MTA workers, police officers, EMTs, utility workers, restaurant workers and delivery workers who have been keeping this City running during this time.
This month I proposed new legislation aimed at increasing access to NYC’s specialized high schools and we announced the opening of two French dual language pre-kingedergarten classes following our collective advocacy.
One tradition I would still like to honor is my office’s monthly First Friday meetings. I am inviting residents to join me for a First Friday on video or tele-conference on April 3rd at 8:00am using Zoom.
How have you been holding up? Is there anything I can do to help? Let me know.
Council Member, District 5
- $2 Trillion Relief Package: How It Applies to You
- 550 New Beds for Treating Coronavirus
- Arrival of Navy Medical Ship to Ease NYC Hospital Surge
- Securing Personal Protective Equipment for Healthcare Workers
- New York State on PAUSE
- Senior Centers Closed with Volunteer Opportunities
- Keeping Nonprofits Open During Pandemic
YOUTH & EDUCATION
- Laptops Purchased With My Funding Used for Remote Learning
- Free Broadband for All Public Students (Who Don’t Have It)
- Free Zoom Video/Tele-Conference for Public Schools
- Remote Learning for K-12 Students
- Food Pickups for NYC Students
- Legislation to Increase Diversity and Access to Specialized High Schools
- Cutting the Ribbon on $212,000 Library Upgrade for Eleanor Roosevelt High School
- Won French Dual Language Pre-Kindergarten for Upper East Side
- Healthy Happy Meals Taking Effect
- “A Taste of Wagner” Silent Auction and Dinner
- Sign the Petition for Universal 3K
- Citi Bikes Coming to Roosevelt Island
- Street Closures
- Revel Scooters Offer Free Rides to Medical Workers
- Alternate Side Parking Suspended
- Ride-Share, Pools, and Shared Access-a-Ride Trips Limited
- How Drivers Can Stay Safe During COVID-19
- International Travel: Return Home If Abroad
- New Affordable Housing Units Now Available on 86th Street
- Tenants’ Rights During COVID-19 Pandemic
- Legal Assistance for Tenants in HUD-subsidized Housing
- Mortgage Relief
JOBS, SMALL BUSINESS & VOLUNTEERING
- Crain’s Op-Ed: “Five Steps to Save Small Business During the Pandemic”
- Op-Ed for LaborPress: “Thank Our Workers”
- No Wait for Unemployment
- Resources for Small Businesses
- Recruiting Licensed Drivers for COVID-19 Relief
- The Hebrew Free Loan Society to Help Small Business Hurt by COVID-19
- Serving Up Justice: 32BJ Rallies for Fast Food Workers
- Operation “5-Borough Food Drive” Citywide Initiative
- Combating Food Insecurity with GetFoodNYC
- Urban Outreach Center NYC Opens Food Pantry
- ASPCA Commits $5 Mill in COVID-19 Relief Initiative to Help Pet Owners
- Accessible Entrance for John Finley Walk Completed
- Remembering Dave Rosenstein
- SOMOS Albany 2020 Conference
- COVID-19 Relief Funds
- Hotlines for your COVID-19 Questions
- Taking Care of Your Mental Health
- New Yorkers with Disabilities
- Medicare Rights is here to help!
- NYPL Connect: Access Tools from home
- How to Donate Much Needed Blood Safely
- Museum of Jewish Heritage Shares Resources Online
- New York Academy of Medicine Resources Online
- Child Mind Institute: Support and Resources
LaborPress Thanking All Of New York City’s Workers For Their Sacrifices During COVID-19 Outbreak by Ben Kallos
New York is currently facing a pandemic that is challenging many of the systems we take for granted. Millions of us must now work, learn, and live — exclusively at home. We are able to do this because of the countless heroes who are keeping this City’s essential infrastructure running.
While many of us are safe in our homes, there are workers, some making as little as $15 an hour some without benefits, who are putting their health and their families’ health at risk to keep New York City safe. These workers, who do so much, also receive little recognition for their efforts, as much of their work is done out of sight. Maintenance workers, cleaners, transit workers, healthcare workers, grocers, all have been affected by this pandemic in unseen ways. Join us in showing our appreciation. Ask yourself these questions:
Crain's New York Five steps to save small business during the pandemic by Ben Kallos Teresa Ghilarducci
The government is shutting down the city’s small businesses to slow the spread of coronavirus and flatten the curve. As we take this drastic step to save the patients needing serious medical attention, we must do our part to save our vulnerable small businesses and our economy.
Five steps can help save small businesses during this pandemic-induced recession, inspired by student loan policies designed to relieve and manage debt. Many of us with student debt knew that if we had difficulty finding that first job, had a gap between jobs, or worse, we could defer payments until things got better. The federal government allows loan forgiveness if you make career choices benefitting the public.
While big corporations, government, and the information economy may survive, according to the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis there are 461,000 small businesses employing 4.1 million people endangered by the economic crisis. Bold and urgent steps can help save our city’s mom and pop shops and their workers.
Many small business owners need or will need relief from paying rent, assurance they won’t get evicted, and payroll support until they can reopen. As the federal government debates its next move, New York City can take these five steps to save small businesses:
- Stop Commercial Evictions
- Defer Property Taxes
- Defer Commercial Rent Payments
- Defer Mortgage Payments
- Guarantee Jobs and Healthcare for Workers
As Congress again uses American tax dollars to help banks with zero percent interest rates, we need something back. Big banks getting federal help should be required to defer mortgage payments for commercial and residential landlords whose tenants are impacted by the coronavirus. Similarly, New York City could also defer its property tax collections.
Commercial and residential landlords who claim deferrals from mortgage and tax payments should be required to defer rent payments from affected tenants affected. For its part, New York City should also stop commercial evictions, which is already has done
The COVID-19 pandemic is causing Non-profit organizations, specifically human service providers, to operate under heavy financial burdens. Many are providing vital services under serious challenges, while others face mandated closures. One of the biggest challenges being faced, include not being able to meet contracted service requirements. While non-profits face these increasing challenges, they continue to have fiscal obligations such as rent, payroll, and other overhead costs that are primarily paid for by City provided funds. These funds are typically tied to unit of service requirements established in their City contracts.
Many providers are reporting that clients are not able to participate in person for safety reasons and many have started utilizing phone and video conferencing as opposed to in-person meetings. Although, these organizations are being innovative in delivering services, most are not currently equipped to do so and all have incurred increased costs creating cash flow concerns.
Providers are also communicating other issues affecting staff. Some have staff who are unable to work onsite safely due to social distancing guidelines but could work remotely. However for various reasons, including contractual language, providers cannot allow for telecommuting as an option for staff. Still other providers have workers who cannot practically work from home, such as food servers, who they must send home without a guarantee of being able to pay these workers to stay home. The City must provide relief for these affected providers.
COVID-19 Update #2: Closing Schools, Senior Centers, Restaurants, Cancelled Events, Supporting Business & Unemployed, Volunteer, and Moving Forward
The Coronavirus is continuing to spread throughout the United States, with New York State recording the most cases in the country. As of this morning there were 463 confirmed cases of COVID-19 within the 5 boroughs and 950 cases throughout New York State.
As we move forward our lifestyle will change drastically for an extended period of time in order to level off the spread of the virus and to keep our health care system from being overwhelmed.
During the past 24 hours we’ve seen a lot of changes and we are doing our best to keep you updated. For up to the minute updates follow us on social media at BenKallos on Facebook and Twitter. Below you will find detailed articles with the following updates:
- Public Schools Closed, Food Pick Up, Remote Learning
- Free Broadband for All Public Students (Who Don’t Have It)
- Free Zoom Video/Tele-Conference for Public Schools
- Restaurants, Bars, Gyms, Nightclubs, and Movie Theaters Partially Closed - Takeout and Delivery Only
- Food Supply at Groceries Stores – We Are Not Running Out of Food
- City Council Closes with Constituent Service Moved Online
- District 5 March Events Cancelled
- Participatory Budgeting Suspended
- Special Election Cancelled
- Complete Your Census Now
We are continuing to monitor the situation and update you on the latest developments. If you have any questions, suggestions, or feedback about the information you are receiving, please let me know.
P.S. call 212-860-1950 or email BKallos@BenKallos.com Monday through Friday between 9am and 5pm and you should reach our staff who are here to help or get a response the same day.
My team and I are closely monitoring developments relating to COVID-19 as they unfold and we wanted to provide a more substantive update than you may have otherwise been receiving.
At this point we are hoping to contain the virus in order to keep our healthcare system from being overwhelmed as we have seen in Italy and other countries. If we are successful some might question why we took such extreme measures, but that is far better than the alternative.
There are currently 95 cases in New York City with 25 in Manhattan, 24 in Brooklyn, 17 in Queens, 10 in the Bronx, and 5 on Staten Island.
Earlier this week Governor Cuomo declared a state of emergency for the purpose of expediting the bureaucracy of government including procurement of necessary medical supplies.
As of today, the Governor has banned large gatherings of 500 people or more. Today, Mayor de Blasio joined the Governor in declaring a state of emergency along with banning gatherings of 500 or more. For gatherings of less than 500 hundred people the city is mandating occupancy reduced by 50% to provide social distancing. The Mayor has also set a goal of having 10% of the city employees working from home with an additional 20% working staggered hours.
The World Health Organization and the Center for Disease Control are urging us all to help stop the spread of COVID-19. To reduce the number of people at risk of infection, they recommend individuals practice “social distancing” and that employers create plans to accommodate employees working remotely.
As the Daily News reported yesterday, the City Council is encouraging staffers to work from home whenever possible in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19. As I said in the paper, I think this is a good thing and that it is important to lead by example in hopes that the private sector will do the same.
Our office will remain available to assist constituents by phone and online while our doors are closed to keep all of us healthy.
As always you can reach us phone at 212-860-1950 or by email at BKallos@BenKallos.com. If you call during business hours we will pick up, if you leave a voicemail we will get it instantaneously and reach out the same day if not immediately. Outside of those hours, we will contact you the next business day. In case of an emergency, please call 911.
City public schools will remain open though non-essential or non-instructional activities are being cancelled or moved online such as athletic leagues, school assemblies, and PTA meetings. You can learn more at Schools.NYC.gov. At one school building in the Bronx and in any school where a student or family tests positive under State policy the school will close for 24 hours for cleaning and disinfection followed by inspection by the Department of Health.
My team and I remain fully committed to serving you, and I believe we all have a responsibility to prioritize our mutual well-being during this time. If you are making similar decisions for your workplace or institution, I urge you to encourage telecommuting to reduce in-person interactions for your employees and members of the public you interact with.
For the latest information and guidance, visit the nyc.gov/coronavirus
You can also text COVID to 692-692 for updates from the City.
By being responsible, taking preventative measures and staying calm, together as a community we will get through this.
March News: 3K Rally, 20 Floors Ordered Off Supertall, Plastic Bans, Vote in Participatory Budgeting, Job Fair, and Coronavirus Update
We finally have enough Pre-Kindergarten seats on the Upper East Side, but while the Mayor has promised "3K for All" by 2021 next, there are still no plans for most of Manhattan: we've got to start pushing now. Make sure to apply for 3K or Pre-K, sign the petition and join our rally.
Ben Kallos Chess Challenge
Saturday, 3/21, 9am
MWBE Job Fair
Wednesday, 3/25, 6pm
Saturday, 3/28, 11am
3/28 - 4/5
MONTHLY SPONSORED EVENTS
Drag Queen Story Hour
Saturday, 3/7, 12pm–1pm
$10 Tennis Senior Tennis
M-F: 6am, 7am, 1pm, 2pm
$10 Drop-in Tennis (All Ages)
M-F: 6am–8am, 1pm–3pm, 10pm–12am
Sa/Su: 6am–8am, 8pm–12am
MONTHLY DISTRICT OFFICE EVENTS
Friday, 3/6, 8am–9:30am
(note early end time)
Free Legal Clinics
(By Appointment Only)
(If you experience trouble with the links below, click here to read on the web)
- Apply for Pre-K and 3K Now
- Fighting to Expand 3K for All Citywide - Including to UES
- Court Orders 20 Floors Off Supertall Tower
- A Month of Love and Marriage
- Coronavirus Update
- De Blasio Implements My Ban on the Sale of Single-Use Plastic Bottles in City Parks
- Ban on Single-Use Plastic Bags Takes Effect
- 3K Rally
- Participatory Budgeting Ballot/Drop-off Info
- Ben Kallos Chess Challenge
- Drag Queen Story Hour
- MWBE Job Fair
- Indoor Tennis $10 All Winter and Free All Summer
- Free Summer Camps For All NYC Kids
- Ribbon-cutting for New STEM Preschool
- Fighting for French Dual Language Program
- Celebrating 150 Years of Hunter College
- Recognizing Nightingale’s Centennial
- Office of Food Policy Passes
- Opening the First Pediatric Urgent Care Center in Manhattan
- Ribbon-cutting for ExpressCare at Metropolitan Hospital
- Banning Toxic Pesticides in Parks Gains Support
- Give Kids A Smile NYC 2020
- Standing in Solidarity with NYPD
- Questions Continue Around Rivington Scandal
- Tech “Moonshot” Division Proposed for City Government
- Bringing Transparency to City Contracts
- Getting Online Voter Registration in Time for Elections
- Property Commission Tax Report
- Maloney Passes Equal Rights Amendment and Women’s Museum
- Honoring Black History with Mayor de Blasio
- Celebrating Black History Month at Stanley Isaacs
- NYSABPRL Caucus Weekend
- 12th Annual Asian Pacific American City Advocacy Day
- Celebrating the Chinese New Year with Chinese-American Planning Council
- A Lunar New Year Celebration
- Rallying with Labor Unions Against Worker Abuse
- Worker Abuse Brings Protest to the German Consulate
- City and State NY’s Diversity Summit 2020
- Helping The Homeless
- Lenox Hill Neighborhood House and AARP Tax Services
- Isaacs Center AARP Tax Aide
- 92Y Teen Art Week
- College Scholarship for 11th Grade Young Women
- PS 198M Sneaker Drive
- Get Counted NYC
Councilman Ben Kallos spent his 39th birthday Feb. 5th rallying with construction workers.
“All we ask New Line, one of the five or six members of this association, is to pay back the wages,” said Kallos.
NYCA consists of eight members, according to the group’s website. They include New Line Structures, Leeding Builders Group, L&M Builders Group, Lettire Construction Corp., Ryder Construction, Triton Construction Company, Noble Construction Group and Hudson Meridian Construction.
“We called their number, and they asked if they were expecting us,” said Kallos. “Hell yeah they are expecting us!”
According to Kallos, he attempted to contact NYCA, but apparently reached “a front” instead.
“Some company called The Berman group in Suite 1920 said we don’t know what NYCA is; we don’t know why they have us in their address or why our number is there; but no, we won’t take the letter from one of your workers who experienced wage theft,” Kallos explained before adding, “I will be here day in and day out until we get everybody paid back!”