New York County Politics City Council Introduces New Relief Package at First Ever Virtual Hearing by William Engel
On Apr. 22, the City Council conducted the first virtual hearing in its 52-year history. The meeting saw the introduction of several new COVID-19 relief bills, courtesy of Laurie Cumbo, Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen), and Council Members Carlina Rivera (D-East Village, Gramercy Park), Stephen Levin (D-Brooklyn), Brad Lander (D-Brooklyn), Adrienne Adams (D-Queens), Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx) and Ben Kallos (D-Yorkville, Lenox Hill), among others.
The four bills in this category were as follows:
- Int. 1918, sponsored by Speaker Johnson and Majority Leader Cumbo, would require large employers to pay premiums to non-salaried essential workers, until New York lifts its state of emergency.
- Int. 1923, sponsored by Councilmembers Kallos, Johnson and Lander, would ban all employers from firing essential workers without just cause.
- Int. 1926, sponsored by Councilmember Lander, would expand the Earned Safe and Sick Time Act to include freelancers and gig economy workers.
- Res. 1285, sponsored by Councilmembers Lander and Kallos, would prevent businesses from misclassifying their employees as independent contractors to avoid paying benefits.
“As we continue to thank and praise all these workers, including cheering for them nightly, we must protect them from facing retaliation for speaking out against unsafe conditions and demanding protective equipment,” said Kallos, explaining the rationale behind Int. 1923.