Queens Lawmakers On The Move Aug. 2, 2019

Queens County City Council News

City’s Congressional Delegation Decry Treatment of JFK Airport Workers

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng
U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks

All of the city’s U.S. Reps. including Grace Meng, Gregory Meeks, Adriano Espaillat, Jerry Nadler, Nydia Velázquez, Max Rose, José E. Serrano, Carolyn Maloney, Yvette Clarke, Hakeem Jeffries, and Eliot Engel issued a joint statement decrying Eulen America’s treatment of its workers at John F. Kennedy Airport. 

Eulen is a private contractor at the airport whose employees work for American Airlines as baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, and wheelchair attendants.

“Over the last several weeks, we have heard troubling reports of worker mistreatment at JFK Airport. The allegations made by Eulen America employees raise serious concerns. Employees have accused Eulen of workplace violations such as forcing employees to take their paid sick days when they weren’t sick, or lose them, and of not providing employees allowances for uniform cleaning, forcing them to pay for often expensive cleaning out of pocket. The allegations of unfair treatment and ignoring workers’ rights are serious, and we are deeply concerned,” the lawmakers stated.

“Working men and women are the backbone of our nation, and we will always stand with them for their rights and fair working conditions. For American Airlines, the staff of Eulen America who serve as baggage handlers, cabin cleaners, and wheelchair attendants, helps ensure a satisfying flying experience for passengers. It is in the public interest to ensure that Eulen workers are treated fairly, and that they’re provided with the benefits to which they are entitled. The dispute between Eulen and its employees must be resolved as soon as possible, and we urge both parties to come to the table, and work in good faith to settle their differences,” they added.

Vallone, Suozzi Call on FAA to Alter Shore Helicopter Route

City Council Member Paul Vallone
U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi

City Council Member Paul Vallone (D-Alley Pond Park, Bay Terrace, Bayside, College Point, Douglaston, East Elmhurst, Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Little Neck, Whitestone) and U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Eastern Queens, Long Island) yesterday called on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to make the successful North Shore Helicopter alternate route pilot program permanent.

In October 2018, the FAA began a six-month test of an alternative route which shifted air traffic away from Northeast Queens and cut helicopter and seaplane traffic by up to 50 percent. The current six-month extension, which will run through October 2, 2019, is bringing continued relief to the residents of Bayside, Bay Terrace, Malba and Whitestone through the normally more active summertime months. 

“From Memorial Day to Labor Day and into the fall, Northeast Queens residents will be free to enjoy their backyards, parks and waterfronts without the constant assault of helicopter noise that unfortunately in past years became the norm,” said Vallone. “As this pilot program continues to provide needed relief to the families who call Northeast Queens home, I join Congressman Suozzi in urging the FAA to establish this as a permanent change.”

“I am grateful to the FAA for heeding my numerous phone calls, letters, and personal entreaties to address the helicopter noise in Whitestone,” said Tom Suozzi. “All reports indicate that the pilot program has resulted in dramatic quality of life improvements for the residents of northeastern Queens. Now, Council Member Vallone, the folks at We Love Whitestone, and I will continue pleading with the FAA to take this very successful pilot program and make it permanent.”

Stavisky, Koo Advocate For Window Safety

State Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky
City Council Member Peter Koo

State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Central Queens) and City Councilmember Peter Koo (D-Bayside, College Point, Flushing, Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Fresh Meadows, Whitestone) today will join the city’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) are urging parents, building owners and landlords to take steps to ensure that children remain safe in their homes through the installation of window guards.

The distribution of information to raise awareness around window safety comes after numerous accidents involving children falling out of windows.

The lawmakers and city agencies will highlight the safety measures at 12 noon, today, Aug. 2 in front of a site where they had been a previous window accident at 142-28 38th Avenue in Flushing.

Velázquez Seeks Resources for Veteran Survivors of Domestic Violence and Abuse

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velazquez

U.S. Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-Brooklyn, Queens, Lower Manhattan) yesterday announced she has crafted bipartisan legislation to improve services for veterans of all gender identities who have experienced domestic abuse and violence.

“Our society is undergoing an important watershed change when it comes to issues of sexual abuse and domestic violence,” noted Velázquez. “We must support survivors in all professions and spheres and that should certainly extend to the brave women and men who wear the uniform of our country.”

Based on a 2014 study examining the prevalence of military sexual trauma (MST), roughly one-third of females in the military screen positive for MST, and the rates are higher for younger veterans.  As such, the Violence Against Women Veterans Act seeks to improve the services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) by requiring an integration of said services with community-based programs that serve domestic violence or sexual assault victims.

“Sadly, for many of our veterans, the biggest battle of their lives will not be fought during deployment, but with the difficult memory of their abusers replaying in their minds,” said Velázquez. “It is heartbreaking to think that our veterans, individuals who have fought for our freedoms, would have to endure this hardship. We must improve the provision of services and benefits for our veterans of all identities.”

The Violence Against Women Veterans Act also establishes a National Task Force on Domestic Violence to gather information on how to best provide comprehensive support to our veterans. It seeks to create a network of local coordinators that facilitate cooperation between the VA and social services, as well as assist domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers in providing services to veterans.

The bill saw 39 House co-sponsors and was referred to the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee.