Donovan Amendment Helping Veterans Passes House
Southern Brooklyn/Staten Island Congressman Dan Donovan saw an amendment he introduced to ease the transition for service members entering the maritime industry pass the House of Representatives this week.
Currently, all personnel accessing ports and other maritime facilities must have a Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC). Before starting work at such facilities, employees must first obtain a TWIC card from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The process is onerous and time-consuming, delaying or discouraging separating service members from seeking employment in the maritime industry.
Donovan’s amendment puts TWIC applications from service members at the top of the review list, and also permits the Department of Defense to transfer personnel files to the Department of Homeland Security, expediting the background check process.
“The New York City region is home to one of the busiest ports in the world. Employment in the industry is a no-brainer for men and women in uniform transitioning back to private life, but needless bureaucracy discourages many from even applying. My amendment makes the transition easier by putting those who served our country on the front lines at the front of the line back home,” said Donovan.
Bklyn Dem Congress Members Support Striking Verizon Workers
Brooklyn’s Democratic Congressional delegation including Jerrold Nadler, Yvette Clarke, Hakeem Jeffries and Nydia Velazquez joined 84 Members of Congress this week in issuing the following joint statement regarding the Verizon strike and ongoing labor negotiations:
“We applaud Verizon’s success and its ability to be profitable throughout the changes that have taken place in the telecommunications industry, but are deeply concerned about the ongoing Verizon strike.
“Verizon workers build, install and maintain the state-of-the-art FiOS broadband system, and ensure that the millions of customers still reliant on the copper network continue to receive high quality service. In addition, Verizon Wireless retail store workers and technicians work in one of the most profitable sectors of the economy. We are troubled that the lack of a negotiated labor agreement could increase the likelihood that good jobs will be offshored to the Philippines, Mexico and other locations overseas or outsourced to low-wage, non-union domestic contractors. And we are concerned that Verizon wireless retail workers, who joined the union back in 2014, still have not been able to negotiate improvements in their wages, benefits and working conditions.”
“It has been reported that Verizon’s highly skilled union workforce has declined by nearly 40 percent over the last decade. We are concerned that proposed changes in the new contract could continue that downward spiral. While we are heartened by Verizon’s announced intention to offer FiOS broadband service in additional cities, such as Boston, many communities across the country are still waiting. We hope that Verizon will be committed to hiring and retaining the skilled staff necessary to complete the buildout of its FiOS broadband service in a timely manner in all markets.”
“We urge the parties to negotiate in good faith and agree to a fair contract. We firmly believe it is in the public interest to protect middle class jobs, reduce outsourcing and offshoring, and ensure high quality telecommunications services to the public.”
Lander, Menchaca Respond To Park Slope Transgender Attack
City Council Members Brad Lander (Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, Kensington) and Carlos Menchaca (Sunset Park, Red Hook) yesterday decried the attack of a transgender individual last weekend in Park Slope.
The incident happened around 11:10 a.m. last Friday as the 32-year-old victim, who identifies as male, was walking northbound on 9th Street near 7th Avenue. He told cops that two suspects yelled at him as he was passing by: “What are you looking at, white faggot?”
The suspects then blocked his path, and started assaulting him, repeatedly punching him in the face before fleeing the scene. The victim was taken to Methodist Hospital where he was treated for serious physical injuries to his left eye.
In a joint statement with Floyd Rumohr, Executive Director of Brooklyn Community Pride Center, the Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn, and Brooklyn Pride, the lawmakers said they were outraged and deeply saddened to see a hate-fueled anti-LGBT attack in Park Slope and reiterated that all gender-identities, have the right to express themselves without fear of horrific intolerance on the street.
“Our neighborhood has long been known for embracing the diversity that makes Brooklyn such a vibrant place to live and we will not take lightly any act of violence that threatens the inclusive community we’ve all built together. At a time when transgender individuals face systematic statewide persecution in other parts of the country, horrifying events like this attack stand as reminders of the many intolerances and injustices facing the transgender community right here in New York.
“Transgender and gender non-conforming people, particularly transgender women of color, experience extremely high rates of violence and homicide in this country. Already in 2016 we have lost eleven transgender and gender non-conforming people to fatal violence – which we know of. We must stand up against this kind of hatred and accept everyone for who they are. We will not rest until all New Yorkers feel safe on our streets.”
Golden Hails Passage Of Senate Bills Fighting Opioid Addiction
State Senator Martin J. Golden (Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Marine Park, Gerritsen Beach, Gravesend) this week lauded the State Senate’s passage of 22 bills that takes a comprehensive approach to fighting the ongoing heroin and opioid addiction crisis.
The bills are among the recommendations from a report released this week by the Senate’s Joint Task Force on Heroin and Opioid Addiction, in which Golden is a member, that reflected the need for improving prevention efforts, increasing access to treatment, expanding recovery options and, providing greater resources to law enforcement to aid in combating this crisis.
“So many New Yorkers are bound by addiction, but we are lacking services that are accessible and the support for those who need it most. The passage of this legislation by my colleagues in the Senate sends a clear and bold message that New York is not backing down from its fight to win the war on heroin and opioid addiction. The bills are based on a four pronged approach, focused on prevention, treatment, recovery and
enforcement, necessary to combat this epidemic. It is my hope that the Assembly and the Governor to join us so that together we can give everyone the opportunity to defeat their addiction,” said Golden.
Williams Address Positive & Negative In His District
City Council Member Jumaane D. Williams (Flatbush, East Flatbush, Midwood) and Assembly Member Helene Weinstein (Sheepshead Bay, Midwood, Flatlands, Canarsie, East Flatbush) today will officials from the City’s Department for the Aging, Phillip Howard Senior Association, and the Phillip Howard NORC Choir in the grand opening of a Naturally Occurring Retirement Community (NORC).
NORC is a senior center located in the Phillip Howard housing development. NORC allows seniors to live in their own homes and have access to health services, meals and transportation, instead of having to move to an assisted living center to gain access to these resources.
The grand opening is slated for 2 p.m., today at the Phillip Howard development, 1655 Flatbush Avenue.
Separately, Williams yesterday offered up prayers for peace and comfort to the family of 21-year-old Dwayne Stephens, who lost his life this week after he was the target of a shooting, and to the family of an innocent bystander who was wounded in the incident.
“These incidents must continue to anger and frustrate us all. Gun violence is a serious threat to our communities, and we must never become desensitized to the trauma it brings. There is no reason that another young man, who has yet to fully experience life is now gone. There is no reason that someone walking through his community ended up injured as a result of a shooting he had nothing to do with,” said Williams.
“Our words must become action. The time is now to address this problem. As Gun Violence Awareness Month approaches in June, let us use this as an opportunity to bring this gun violence epidemic to the forefront and raise the visibility of the issue so something can be done.”