Tag Archives: Workers Center of Central NY

May Day Outreach!

Please join us for outreach downtown for our May day event! We will meet at the Workers’ Center of CNY at the address provided to hand out flyers and engage with the public. We hope to see you there!

Where: Workers’ Center 2013 E. Genesee St

When: April 27, 2018 at 12:00pm

END Deportations NOW!

Please join the Syracuse Immigrant and Refugee Defense Network and the Workers’ Center of Central New York, to rally in support of immigrants facing detention and deportation. In less than 2 weeks we have responded in support of 3 immigrants who have been forcibly detained by ICE agents, often with the collaboration of local police departments, like Manlius Police department who stopped 1 man this week for an alleged seatbelt violation and 4 men this past February for snow covering their license plate. Meanwhile, Border Patrol arrested another man at the Regional Transportation Center while he was transferring to an NYC bound bus enroute to see his family, putting his health in jeopardy. This Wednesday, yet another father, a dairy worker, was brutally apprehended by ICE agents in front of 2 of his young children as they waited for school, without a warrant, and leaving his 2 young children unattended while their mother, who is 7 months pregnant, was away at a doctors appointment. Within that same time period, ICE agents conducted raids that resulted in the detention of 225 immigrants in NYC, Long Island and Hudson Valley.

Immigrants in upstate New York for years have faced incredible isolation and discrimination. In addition of facing discrimination at the workplace, they deal with the ever present Border Patrol in our communities. Border Patrol’s close relationship with local law enforcement and the lack of the ability to obtain a driver’s license forces them to break the law to be able to meet their basic needs. Despite this criminalization and constant risk they continue to be a vital part of our communities by playing a crucial role in the state’s diary industry, and being at the forefront of the fight for drivers’ licenses for all. Under the Trump administration, and with the current budget increasing detention dollars and money for border Patrol, the immigrants in our communities are being torn apart from our communities and their families.
#enddeportationsnow
#stopseparatingfamilies
#getBPoffthebus
#notonemore
#not1more
#dignitynotdeportation
#nohumanbeingisillegal

Link to Facebook event HERE

Green Light NY Bill Launch in Albany

On April 18th the Green Light Coalition will be uniting from across the state to celebrate the introduction of the A10273 bill which will provide access to driver’s licenses for ALL New Yorkers regardless of immigration status.

We will meet at the Capitol building on the ‘Million Dollar Staircase’ on April 18th for a press conference and will hear from elected officials and directly affected community members from across the state. There will also be visits made to key legislators and we look forward to building with coalition members from across the state.

Interested in mobilizing from across the state? – Let us know!

Those living in the capital or who are within driving distance please join us on the Million Dollar Staircase to support the launch of the Green Light NY Bill!

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El 18 de abril, Green Light Coalition se unirá de todo el estado para celebrar la presentación del proyecto de ley A10273 que proporcionará acceso a licencias de conducir para TODOS los neoyorquinos, independientemente de su estado migratorio.

Nos reuniremos en el edificio del Capitolio en la “Escalera del Millón Dólares” el 18 de abril para la conferencia de prensa y escucharemos a funcionarios electos y miembros de la comunidad directamente afectados de todo el estado. También se realizarán visitas a los legisladores clave y esperamos construir con miembros de la coalición de todo el estado.

¿Interesado en movilizarse de todo el estado? – ¡Haznos saber!

Aquellos que viven en la capital o que están a poca distancia en automóvil, únanse a nosotros en Million Dollar Staircase para apoyar el lanzamiento de Green Light NY Bill.

Time: 10:00 am
Location: State Capitol Building – State St. and Washington Ave, Albany, NY 12224
#GreenLightNy #LuzVerdeNY #DriversLicensesNow

Link to the Facebook event HERE

Work for Tips? Testify to End Tipped Wage

The Workers’ Center of Central NY is excited to hear of the NYS Dept of Labor Wage Board Hearings across New York on potentially ELIMINATING the sub-minimum wage for those who work for tips throughout the State.

The proposal would not eliminate tipping itself, rather the tipped wage.

One of the first hearings will be held in Syracuse on Monday, April 30th, at 10 a.m. [A rally and news conference will begin at 8:45 a.m.] The WCCNY along with the Tompkins County Workers Center intends to turn out in force to this hearing, ESPECIALLY with workers who presently receive the tipped minimum wage, as well as with workers who PREVIOUSLY have worked in a tipped profession. Believe us: if we and you don’t testify, industry sure will.

Read more about why the restaurant industry’s two-tiered wage system is broken. From the One Fair Wage Campaign:

Due to the lobbying power of the National Restaurant Association and Fortune 500 restaurant corporations, the restaurant industry is one of the only industries that gets away, in 43 states, with not paying the great majority of people who work in restaurants — servers, bussers, hosts, bartenders — at least the minimum wage.

  • Since the restaurant industry does not pay its servers the minimum wage, servers are forced to rely on tips as their wage. Their employer gives them as little as $2.13 an hour (the federal tipped minimum wage since 1991), and then takes out taxes. This leaves them with $0 paychecks, obviously insufficient to pay rent or put food on the table for their families.
  • Although employers are legally required to “top off” the pay of a person who works for tips if don’t add up to at least the minimum wage, enforcement is so lax and disorganized that wage theft has reached epidemic levels.
  • The restaurant industry includes 7 of the 10 lowest paying jobs in the country. In fact, people who work in the industry are twice as likely to need food stamps than the rest of the US workforce, and three times as likely to live in poverty.
  • Seventy percent of people who work in the restaurant industry are women. Since a living base wage is not guaranteed, and women are instead forced to depend on tips, they frequently have to put up with sexual harassment from customers, co-workers, and management. The EEOC has targeted the restaurant industry as the single largest source of sexual harassment charges filed by women with a rate FIVE TIMES higher than any other industry.

Please send us an email at wccny@workerscentercny.org if you would like to take part in the hearing. Facebook event page here
You can also call 315-218-5708

For other hearings dates and locations click here .

 

 

Mobilization to Batavia Detention Center

MOBILIZATION TO BATAVIA DETENTION CENTER
“We Will Not Be Caged, Immigrant Women Speak Out!”

Please join the WCCNY and New York Immigration Coalition on Wednesday, March 28th at 6:30 am at 2013 E Genesee st. Syracuse ,  as we depart  to Batavia Detention Center in Upstate New York. This request to mobilize is URGENT!

Our Upstate brothers and sisters NEED YOU to come with us to support one of our community members who is being targeted for deportation! Please join us to support Arely, a member of our upstate community and a mother of three U.S citizen kids. She was turned over to Border Patrol by the Troopers in 2013 because she and her husband did not have a licence when driving to Ithaca, NY. Despite checking in with ICE for years, recently ICE has changed her phone check in to in person and now her most recent check in scheduled for 9:00 AM on Wednesday, March 28th at Batavia Detention Center.

Please stand with us to protect this fierce advocate and community leader and demand that the detention & deportation machine stop ripping families, mothers and children apart!
What: Rally Outside Batavia Federal Detention Center
Who:  NYIC, Worker Justice Center, and Worker Center CNY
Why:
Bring together our members from across the state to support & Highlight Women & Mothers facing deportation in Upstate NY.
Support a member of the Worker Center of CNY whose check-in was moved from Syracuse to Batavia on that day.
Call attention to the expansion of Batavia to now detain Women.

More information on the Facebook event page

Immigrant Women Creating Sanctuary in Central NY!!!

Where: Syracuse Center for Peace and Social Justice 2013 E Genesee St

When: Thursday March 8 7-9pm

On International Women’s Day Immigrant women will talk about creating sanctuary in Central NY to keep our families together and how we are organizing for dignity and respect in the workplace and in the community.

The event is free but donations will be accepted for families facing separation due to the unjust and inhumane immigration system.
Everyone is encouraged to donate at these families fundraising campaigns:
Help the family of Rene Mendez Perez
https://www.youcaring.com/renemendezperez-1087700
Help the family of Arely Tomas Navarro
https://www.youcaring.com/arelytomas-804962

Link to Facebook event Here

Free Hector! Vigil and Press Conference!!

Hector Navarro Miranda, the father of three US children and an outstanding member of our Syracuse community, was abruptly and unjustly detained by ICE (immigration and customs enforcement) only a few days before Christmas.

On Tuesday, February 20th 2018, his family, friends and allies will have a vigil and press conference to #Free Hector.
At 9:00 am family and supporters will accompany him for his scheduled court hearing.

Please join us in support of family reunification in solidarity with all immigrant families who are suffering this inhumane immigration system.

You can join the group of supporters who will be leaving at 6:00 am from the Center for Peace and Social Justice.
Address: 2013 East Genesee St. Syracuse NY 13210
Parking in the back of the building.

For more information please call: Rebecca Fuentes 315-657-6799

#FreeHector

Link to Facebook Event Here

Update on Lawsuit Fighting for Protected Right to Organize for Farmworkers

On January 16th, the Albany County Supreme Court dismissed our challenge to a Jim Crow-era state law that denies farmworkers the right to organize without fear of retaliation.  As plaintiff and WCCNY organizer, Crispin Hernandez said “With the help of God and all of our supporters, we will change the conditions that we deal with as farmworkers and we will keep pushing to be treated like human beings.”  According to WCCNY organizer, Rebecca, the judge’s “decision is a slap in the face for workers like Crispin Hernandez who have to live under threat and intimidation from employers and law enforcement.” Not only will we be appealing the judge’s decision, but we will continue fighting so that farmworkers will build power in the workplace and change their working and living conditions and the industry as a whole!

We Will Keep Pushing To Be Treated Like Human Beings!

Worker’s Center of CNY – Contact: Rebecca Fuentes 315.657.6799 rfuentes@workerscentercny.org

Worker Justice Center of NY – Contact: Carly Fox 518.500.9409    cfox@wjcny.org

 

Court Rules Against Organizing Rights for Farmworkers, Advocates Plan Appeal

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

January 16, 2018 – The Albany County Supreme Court today dismissed a challenge to a Jim Crow-era state law that denies farmworkers the right to organize without fear of retaliation. Plaintiffs Crispin Hernandez, the Workers’ Center of Central New York and the Worker Justice Center of New York, who are represented by the New York Civil Liberties Union, plan to appeal the decision.

Under the New York Constitution, all workers have a right to organize and collectively bargain. Yet a more than 80-year-old law known as the Employment Relations Act includes a carve-out from these protections for farmworkers. The law reflects the segregationist politics of the Depression Era during which it was passed, when farmworkers were predominantly black.

Plaintiff Crispin Hernandez was fired from one of New York’s largest dairies, Marks Farms LLC in Lowville, after his employer saw him meeting with coworkers and an organizer to discuss workplace conditions. The meeting took place after work hours and in a worker’s personal residence. Hernandez had been working 12-hour shifts six days a week at Mark’s Farms since he was a teenager, but he lost both his job and his home.

When the plaintiffs filed suit in May of 2016, both Governor Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman publicly agreed that the excluding farmworkers from the right to organize conflicts with the state constitution. Both declined to defend the lawsuit in court. In response, the New York Farm Bureau requested that the court allow it to intervene to defend the law as a party in the case. The plaintiffs and the NYCLU did not object to the Farm Bureau’s motion to intervene, allowing the matter to be resolved in the state courts.

“I am disappointed with today’s decision, but we will continue fighting for a victory,” said plaintiff Crispin Hernandez. “With the help of God and all of our supporters, we will change the conditions that we deal with as farmworkers and we will keep pushing to be treated like human beings.”

“It’s a shame that the judge has decided to continue the Jim Crow era exclusion of Farmworkers from the protected right to organize,” said Rebecca Fuentes, lead organizer at the Workers’ Center of Central New York, a plaintiff in the case. “Today’s decision is a slap in the face for workers like Crispin Hernandez who have to live under threat and intimidation from employers and law enforcement.”

Farming is a multi-billion-dollar industry in New York, yet farmworkers often earn wages well below the poverty level. Many live in overcrowded labor camps with sweatshop-like conditions, contending with infestations of rats, cockroaches and bed bugs, and no regular access to transportation. Farmworkers are excluded from workplace protections afforded to nearly all other workers, including a day of rest, overtime pay, disability insurance and the right to organize without retaliation.

Farmworkers operate dangerous machinery at grueling rates and use toxic chemicals, often without enough training. Their fatality rate is 20 times that of the average worker in New York. Some report working 95 hours a week. Most are racial minorities who do not speak English, and as many as 75 percent are undocumented, a fact supervisors use to intimidate them into silence.

“While we are disappointed with Judge McNally’s ruling today, we are steadfast in our resolve to continue our fight through the courts,” said Carly Fox, senior worker Rights Advocate at the Worker Justice Center of New York, a plaintiff in the case. “We know that, ultimately, we stand on the side of justice and we won’t stop until we win, simply because the workers we serve are depending on it. When we are out in the field, hearing from farmworkers about the dangerous conditions on farms, depressed wages, grueling hours and unsanitary and sub-standard employer-provided housing, we know that the best resource workers have is their unity. The Worker Justice Center of New York will fight for equality for farmworkers until it is won.”

“Because of an outdated law, the people we rely on for the food in our kitchens are condemned to poverty, abuse and even death,” said NYCLU senior staff attorney and lead counsel on the case Erin Beth Harrist. “We will appeal this ruling and continue to fight this law, which violates our constitution and our state’s commitment to human rights.”

“We will not rest until farmworkers are free to organize and have a voice in their working conditions,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “Today’s decision will not deter us from making sure that farmworkers enjoy the same basic rights as every other hardworking New Yorker.”

In addition to Harrist, NYCLU staff on the case include Legal Director Arthur Eisenberg, associate legal director Christopher Dunn, staff attorney Jordan Wells, staff attorney Aadhithi Padmanabhan, and paralegal Andrea Barrientos.

Support Hector!!!

Meeting, this Wednesday 01/10 at 6:30pm so we can create an action plan for next steps in Hector’s campaign. We have been in contact with lawyers to find out when Hector will have his court date (no word yet), we are currently working with United We Dream to create and circulate a petition to get Hector out of detention, and continuing to support Arely and the kids. We will have more details about all of this and more at the meeting so please let write me back and let me know if you can make this urgent and important meeting.

Some of you have asked about the letters of support.  We know many of you have have had few interactions with Hector, but you can talk on your letter about Arely and your support for her family which includes Hector. Hector has been a source of strength and support for Arely on her own immigration case. Both of them have complied with everything ICE has asked of them. Hector case was administratively closed on January 2017, so his detention was totally unexpected and devastating for their three US children who live in Syracuse and their two children who are in Guatemala. Hector has volunteer his time at the Workers Center in events like our yearly soccer tournament and workers rights trainings. He likes to play with his children and spend time with his family as much as possible.

Attached are two letters that Hector and Arely’s children wrote recently about how they feel after he was detained. You can see on the drawing how this is affecting the children. If you can write on your letter something about this, on how this separation is affecting their children that will help a lot. You can also say your are willing to continue to help once he is released, with rides, food, etc. We want to show the judge that Hector and his family have support and are part of the community.

FYI, Hector does not have any criminal record and the only thing he is accused of is of working without documents to support his family.

He has lived in Syracuse since 2008.

Here are the guidelines for the letter:

1. Introduce yourself to the judge and explain the relationship to Hector
2. Explain Hector’s good qualities and stress his dedication to his family and community, the fact that he is trustworthy, etc.
3. If you are willing, write if you could help with room and board in case it was necessary after Hector is out on bond.
The WCCNY is collecting the letters, please sign it and also make a copy of any ID you feel comfortable sharing with the judge.
Sign your letter and bring it tomorrow, along with a copy (or we can make the copy at the center) of your ID.  We need as many letters as possible.
Please also continue writing letters of solidarity and support to Hector personally. He got a letter recently from Ann and Ed and he really appreciated!
This is his mailing address in Batavia:
Hector Navarro Miranda
A205-021-464