MANH Lawmakers on the Move, Dec. 18, 2020

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Stringer Calls on Amazon to Disclose Worker Health and Safety Protections

NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer (Photo credit: Thomas Good, CC BY-SA 4.0)
NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer

Yesterday, City Comptroller Scott Stringer (D) announced a new shareholder proposal calling on the Amazon Board of Directors to disclose their efforts to protect their workers’ health and safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

His proposal comes on the heels of a troubling report from the Center for Investigative Reporting. The report found that several Amazon warehouses became COVID-19 hotspots, and also documented high turnover rates for their frontline employees.

“There is a massive disconnect between what Amazon management says it’s doing to keep workers safe and what those workers are reporting,” said Stringer. “If Amazon is going to invest in worker health and safety measures, they need to demonstrate with hard data that those measures are keeping workers healthy and safe. With the rapid growth of online retail, companies like Amazon must strengthen their workforce practices to protect their workers and avoid any potential legal, regulatory and reputational risks. Shareholders have a right to transparency concerning Amazon’s business practices, especially how the company protects its workforce from COVID-19. Amazon’s workers and shareholders deserve an independent, scientifically-driven approach that serves as a model for the entire e-commerce and retail industries.”

Johnson Announces Council’s Decision to Voluntarily Recognize Union of Council Staffers

Council Member Corey Johnson (Credit: Jeff Reed)
Council Member Corey Johnson

Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D-Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen) released a statement yesterday on the Council’s petition to voluntarily recognize the Association of Legislative Employees, a union representing two civil service titles in the Council’s Finance Division.

The petition now awaits certification from the New York City Office of Collective Bargaining. Once certified, the New York City Council will be the first legislative body in the State with unionized employees. 

“As the proud son of a Teamster, I am a staunch supporter of labor and deeply appreciate the stability and benefits that unions provide to working families,” said Johnson. “I am told that it is rare to have a City governmental entity file a voluntary petition of recognition for employees seeking to unionize but I believe that it is important to practice what you preach, especially when it comes to workers’ rights.  That’s why I am so proud to have filed this petition on behalf of our Central Staff Legislative and Senior Legislative Finance Analysts.” 

James Sues to End Google’s Illegal Monopolies

Attorney General Letitia James (Photo credit: Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)
Attorney General Letitia James

Yesterday, New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) co-lead a coalition of 38 attorneys general in suing Google for its attempts to monopolize the search engine market.

Through its anticompetitive conduct and exclusionary contracts, Google has squelched its potential competitors, depriving its user base of any alternatives. James and her colleagues also allege that Google is using its vast cache of user data to fortify its monopoly.

“Google sits at the crossroads of so many areas of our digital economy and has used its dominance to illegally squash competitors, monitor nearly every aspect of our digital lives, and profit to the tune of billions,” said James. “Through its illegal conduct, the company has ensured that hundreds of millions of people turn to Google first when looking for an answer, but it doesn’t take a web search to understand that unchecked corporate power shouldn’t have disproportionate control over our data and information. For decades now, Google has served as the gatekeeper of the internet and has weaponized our data to kill off competitors and control our decision making — resulting in all of us paying more for the services we use every day.”

Espaillat Named to Exclusive Appropriations Committee

U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (Photo credit: U.S. House Office of Photography)
U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat

U.S. Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-Manhattan, Bronx) released a statement yesterday following his appointment to serve on the House Appropriations Committee.

The House Appropriations Committee’s role is to pass appropriation bills, which determine how federal money is spent.

“I am honored to have been chosen to serve on this important committee and thank Democratic Leadership and my colleagues for their confidence and support,” said Espaillat. “I’m excited about this new opportunity, and as two long-time New York champions depart from this key panel, I look forward to carrying the torch to continue advocating for New Yorkers’ interests at the federal level.

“As a new member of this influential committee, I will remain committed to fostering a more equitable society, fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, getting our economy back on track by investing in our infrastructure, protecting immigrant communities, and supporting our next generation.”