Council Members to Commissioner: Cablevision bad on labor

The Progressive Caucus was among the 42 Council Members who recently penned a letter to the NYC Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications Commissioner Anne Roest.

Led by Progressives I. Daneek Miller, Chair of the Civil Service and Labor Committee and Brad Lander, City Council Deputy Leader for Policy, the letter highlights concerns regarding a recent Request for Proposal (RFP) for citywide Internet hotspots and Cablevision as a potention bidder.

“The provisions of this RFP, like other RFPs for franchises from the City of New York, contains language requiring the ‘franchisee [to] recognize the right of its employees to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing in accordance with applicable law. Franchisee shall recognize and deal with the representatives duly designated or selected by the majority of its employees for the purpose of collective bargaining…Franchisee shall not dominate, interfere with, participate in the management or control of, or give financial support to any union or association of its employees.’

There is strong reason for concern that Cablevision, Inc. may not meet the terms of these requirements. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a sweeping complaint against Cablevision in April, 2013, finding that the company had illegally fired 22 employees for engaging in protected union activity; had engaged in illegal “bad faith bargaining”; had put union employees under illegal surveillance; had illegally promised raises to workers who voted against unionization in the Bronx; and had otherwise coerced and discriminated against pro-union workers. A trial on this complaint was concluded in December 2013, and briefs from the parties were submitted on February 28, 2014. A ruling from the Administrative Law Judge is expected in the coming months.

We have expressed previously our concern that these actions may place Cablevision in violation of its current franchise agreement to provide cable TV service to sections of Brooklyn and the Bronx. In late February, 2013, the City Council’s Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises held a hearing to investigate the question of whether Cablevision was complying with the collective bargaining provisions of its cable TV franchise agreement with New York City, in the aftermath of the company’s illegal firing of 22 workers for protected union activity.” Full Letter


Crain’s NY: City Council fires warning shot at Cablevision

FierceCable: NYC council moves to block Cablevision from hot spot project …

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Progressive Members Introduce Waste Equity Bill

IMG_4841On October 7th, Council Members, environmental justice advocates, and community-based organizations rallied for waste equity legislation in advance of Intro 495 at the New York City Council. The legislation, sponsored by Progressive Members Stephen Levin and Antonio Reynoso, will more equitably distribute the responsibility of solid waste management throughout our city by 1) decreasing permitted capacity for waste processing in overburdened communities, and 2) capping permitted capacity for each community district to ensure that no other community will take on more than its fair share.

New York City creates 35,000 tons of garbage every day.  Under the current system, waste transfer stations are concentrated in just a few neighborhoods – North Brooklyn, Southeast Queens, and the South Bronx, which together process about three quarters of all of the city’s solid waste.  Garbage trucks needlessly travel thousands of miles throughout New York City polluting our air, clogging our streets, and damaging our roads, and impacts are greatest in the three communities. This system exposes these communities – predominately low-income communities of color – to significant health risks. Read more


Council Member Stephen Levin said, “For communities like the one I represent, there is no truth to the saying, ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’. North Brooklyn, the South Bronx, and Southeast Queens have been forced to bear the burden of the majority of the city’s waste for too long and have only suffered its consequences. This bill will promote a more equitable waste system in New York City and will ensure that no community becomes the next North Brooklyn, South Bronx, or Southeast Queens. I am proud to sponsor this legislation and to fight for a more equitable New York City with my colleagues in the City Council.”

Council Member Antonio Reynoso said, “My community in North Brooklyn, and other communities of color in Southeast Queens and the South Bronx, have been suffering the effects of high concentrations of waste transfer stations for too long.  Our children have asthma and other associated health problems, and our streets are dangerous and in disrepair.  But this isn’t just about ‘not in my backyard.’  As Chair of the Council’s Committee on Sanitation and Solid Waste Management, I support this bill as a major step toward promoting the City’s Solid Waste Management Plan and as a demonstration of the City’s commitment to borough equity for processing waste.”

“Here in Southeast Queens, as in parts of North Brooklyn and the South Bronx, we have been disproportionally impacted by poor waste management policies. This legislation provides an opportunity to bring justice to this unjust situation and to clean up our communities,” said Council Member I. Daneek Miller. “I look forward to working on this bill as it moves through the Council and thank Council Members Stephen Levin and Antonio Reynoso for their leadership on this important issue.”


Metro NY: Community groups, council members call for waste equity in outer boroughs

National Resource Defense Capital: Time for Trash Equity in New York City

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Participatory Budget Process in full swing for Progressives

Districts throughout NYC have embarked on civic engagement projects where residents work together to designate public funds to community projects.

This fall Progressive members enter the second phase of Participatory Budget NYC which entails collecting ideas through Neighborhood Assemblies. At these events, district organizers will host and facilitate community forums for residents to brainstorm potential projects valued at least $1,000,000 to improve their neighborhoods.

Please find upcoming opportunities to collaborate in public projects with your Progressive Council Member below. Visit the PB NYC Events page for the full calendar!


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Progressive Caucus and electeds file brief to end union stalling on NYPD reforms


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | September 24, 2014

Contact: 914.610.0942,

New York, NY – New York City elected officials joined Communities United for Police Reform (CPR) and a number of law enforcement and advocacy organizations to demand that NYPD unions stop using frivolous legal maneuvers to block the court-ordered reform process to stop-and-frisk and decouple the issue from their contract negotiations with the city. Police unions recently filed a new appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals after being denied intervening status in the federal stop-and-frisk lawsuit by Federal Court Judge Analisa Torres.

Amicus briefs opposing the police unions’ efforts to intervene and impede the process are being filed by Communities United for Police Reform with over 50 organizational signatories, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James with other elected officials including the New York City Council’s Progressive Caucus, law enforcement associations, and legal experts.


“We must honor Judge Scheindlin’s landmark decision that unreasonable and discriminatory searches are unconstitutional,” said New York City Council Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Antonio Reynoso and Donovan Richards. “Caucus members serve under the principle that partnership with communities and police accountability will lead to greater public safety therefore this obstructive appeal must be stopped. We look forward to starting the Joint Reform Process as this step, along with court ordered monitoring, will launch the collaboration necessary to right this institutional wrong.”

“The foundation for moving towards equality has got to be that the tools and the procedures police use to promote public safety be the same regardless of neighborhood,” said Progressive Caucus Vice-Chair Helen Rosenthal. “That is why it is critical this appeal by the NYPD Unions be abandoned and a community-driven conversation be allowed to move forward immediately because you can’t combat inequality when law enforcement is applied inequitably.” Full Release


NY Observer: Pols Bash Cop Unions for Stop-and-Frisk Appeal 

NY Daily News: Stop and Frisk rally at City Hall – but this time against unions, not NYPD 

The Objective Opinion: “Stop and Frisk” Update, Youtube Video

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Join Progressives to Stop NYPD Unions from Appealing Stop-and-Frisk Reforms


City Leaders, Law Enforcement Associations & Advocates to Call for NYPD Unions to End Obstruction on Stop-and-Frisk Reforms, Stop Holding New Yorkers’ Rights Hostage to Contract Negotiations


September 23, 2014

Contact: Mandela Jones, 646.200.5316,


Groups will file briefs to oppose police unions’ endless legal efforts to continue Bloomberg administration’s stalling on reforms to protect New Yorkers’ fundamental civil rights

New Yorkers to stress need for court-ordered reform process inclusive of affected communities and other stakeholders to enact lasting reforms beyond drop in number of stops

WHAT:           Press conference to demand NYPD unions stop obstructing stop-and-frisk reforms and separate their contract negotiations from moving forward to protect New Yorkers’ rights, as groups announce legal filings to oppose NYPD unions’ blocking of reform process

WHEN:           Wednesday, September 24 at Noon

WHERE:         City Hall steps, Lower Manhattan


Council Member Jumaane D. Williams, Deputy Leader of NYC Council

Council Member Brad Lander, Deputy Leader for Policy of NYC Council

Council Member Andy King, co-chair of NYC Council Black, Latino & Asian Caucus

Council Member Rosie Mendez, co-chair of NYC Council Black, Latino & Asian Caucus

Council Member Helen Rosenthal, Vice-Chair of NYC Council Progressive Caucus

Charles B. Billups, Chairperson of the Grand Council of Guardians

Anthony Miranda, Latino Officers Association

Kirsten John Foy, Northeast Regional Director of National Action Network

Djibril Toure, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement

Shelby Chestnut, NYC Anti-Violence Project

Center for Constitutional Rights

Communities United for Police Reform

WHY:             Under the previous Bloomberg administration, the use of stop-and-frisk increased by more than 600 percent. Nearly nine in ten of those stopped were neither arrested nor issued a summons, and nearly 90% of those stopped were Black or Latina/o. New Yorkers were stopped by the NYPD over half a million times in 2012 and over 5 million stops were made throughout the Bloomberg administration. The NYPD’s own data showed its exploding, discriminatory use of stop-and-frisk failed to make a notable impact on gun violence.

In August of 2013, a Federal court ruled that the Bloomberg administration’s stop-and-frisk policy was unconstitutional. The Bloomberg administration and police unions sought to appeal the ruling and delay the implementation of the court’s joint remedy process. The de Blasio administration reached an agreement with plaintiffs to drop the city’s appeal and move forward with the process, but police unions continue to seek legal maneuvers that delay the development and implementation of lasting reforms. After the lower court denied the unions’ motions to intervene in the case, they are once again going before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, this time to request intervening status in the case. Their efforts only delay the beginning of a collaborative process uniting communities with law enforcement and other stakeholders in developing reforms and solutions to stop-and-frisk abuses that violated New Yorkers’ civil rights. That process is critical to ensuring there are lasting reforms, beyond the decrease in the number of stops conducted, to protect the fundamental civil rights of New Yorkers.


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Progressive Caucus Marches for Climate Action

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The Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council participated in the People’s Climate March on Sunday, September 21, 2014. Council members joined a broad coalition of environmental, labor and community groups demanding world leaders take a proactive stance on environmental justice during the United Nation’s Climate Summit, Tuesday, September 23, 2014.

This mobilization by thousands of advocates and organizations around the world demonstrates the need for cross-sector collaboration to minimize the impact of global warming. Members marched in solidarity with them to pursue an international response to the detrimental health and economic effects all communities face under extreme weather conditions.

New York City Progressives hope to advance a multi-tiered approach to create a healthier and more sustainable environment. Members look forward to being allies in the fight to avoid climate catastrophe. The People’s Climate March provides a platform to galvanize around this universal experience that is creating critical consequences at home and abroad.


“The People’s Climate March provides a unique opportunity to address long standing issues surrounding climate change, public health, energy dependence, and most importantly, social justice,” said Caucus Co-Chair and Chair of the Committee on Environmental Protection, Council Member Donovan Richards. “Business as usual, in terms of irresponsible energy usage and development, will only continue to cause further detriment to our environment and negatively impact those most vulnerable. Today’s march marks the culmination of years of work by environmental advocates, labor unions, faith leaders, and concerned citizens dedicated to spurring global action and combating climate change. I anticipate great changes not only for New York City, but also for the wider international community. Together, we can and will change the world!”

“Taking action on climate change should not just be a priority for progressives; it should be a priority for everyone.  On Sunday, the Progressive Caucus is proud to march with the rest of the City Council and people from all over New York City, the country, and the world to demand that climate change be addressed,” said Caucus Co-Chair Antonio Reynoso. “The Caucus has a particular interest in ensuring that underrepresented communities are heard in the conversation around sustainability, and we hope that ALL New Yorkers will join us in the streets on Sunday.  To change everything, we need everyone!”

“I’m proud to walk in the People’s Climate March and continue the deeply important effort to combat the threat of climate change in our city and across the world,” said Council Member Margaret Chin, Treasurer of the Caucus. “We simply can’t wait when it comes to protecting the planet that future generations will inherit — we must act now, and we must stand united for policies that put our environment first.”

“Superstorm Sandy, a sign of things to come from climate change, hit New York City two years ago, and we are still rebuilding our City,” said Vice-Chair for Policy, Council Member Ben Kallos. “We join together in the peoples’ climate march, steps from the United Nations, so our world leaders will take the necessary action to fight climate change.”

Council Member Brad Lander said, “If we don’t want to tell our kids and grandkids that we utterly failed them — when the evidence was clear — then we must take bold action now. On the eve of the People’s Climate March and the UN Climate Summit, the New York City Council is helping to lead the way. By setting an ambitious goal, retrofitting our buildings to save energy, committing to dramatically reduce NYC’s own use of fossil fuels, cleaning up our air, and promoting mass transit, we’ll be able to approach future generations with a clear conscience and a more sustainable planet.”

“The world needs action on climate and we need it now,” said Council Member Stephen Levin. “The People’s Climate March will allow New York City to show the world how crucial it is that we act on climate change and I am proud to join with my Progressive Caucus colleagues in marching this Sunday.“

“As the father of two daughters, climate change is an incredibly personal issue. We must protect our natural resources so that my little girls, and children everywhere, can grow and raise their own children in a stable, sustainable world.” Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez said, “Everything begins with education; we need to start educating our children from an early age about climate change in order to have them grow aware of their impact on our environment. Today we march to show not only the UN and Congress, but also governments and citizens worldwide that Climate Change is a major issue that we need to address.“

“New Yorkers experience the growing effects of climate change daily,” said Council Member Corey Johnson. “This weekend, thousands will take to the streets to sound the alarm on the negative impacts of‎ continued inaction. Climate change undermines our safety, security and economy and disproportionately harms low-income communities. The Peoples Climate March will serve as a call to action for the world.”

“The People’s Climate March is an opportunity to highlight a real problem for communities like ours – both in urban America and across communities of color – that have been historically impacted by environmental injustices. These include inequitable waste disposal policies and the use of certain fuels which have negatively impacted countless families, but that we are just now beginning to recognize,” said Council Member I. Daneek Miller. “This is time to focus on working with our partners in the environmental community to improve the lives of all New Yorkers.”

“As a councilmember representing a waterfront district, and as Chair of the Committee on Waterfronts, issues of climate change and its impact on the city are of the highest priority for me. As we learned from the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, for which we were woefully unprepared – with tragic consequences – we must take all necessary steps to prepare for the impact that climate changes is having on our city,” said Councilwoman Debi Rose (49th District/SI). “We have a moral and practical imperative to do everything we can to reduce climate change and save our precious environment.  As an elected official, I have been and pledge to continue to do all that I can to address climate change for the continued safety and success of our great city.

The Progressive Caucus is committed to confronting climate change by prioritizing affordable transit, greener buildings and livable streets.

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Progressive Caucus to Make Employer Credit Check Ban Next Big Push

Councilman Antonio Reynoso, co-chair of the Progressive Caucus.  (Photo: William Alatriste/NYC Council)

A bill to ban employers from running personal credit checks on job applicants will get a boost from the City Council’s Progressive Caucus, which intends to make the legislation its next priority for passage.

The bill was introduced in April and has also been considered, but not passed, by previous councils — but the 19-member caucus told the Observer today they were putting their weight behind it ahead of a hearing on the bill this Friday.

“A person’s character and work performance is not reflected in their credit history. If my own credit report had been taken into account I would not have had the opportunities I have been afforded in civil service,” Councilman Antonio Reynoso, a co-chair of the caucus, said in a statement. “I am grateful to have been evaluated on more substantial measures like experience and leadership in my community. All potential employees deserve this benefit.”

Councilman Donovan Richards, his fellow co-chair, agreed, saying a credit history is no indication of an ability to work.

“Ending employer led credit checks of applicants will aid millions of people seeking to access employment and stem the harm done by credit based prejudice,” Mr. Richards said.

Members of the caucus plan to hand out literature and hold a press conference Friday morning before the bill’s hearing in the Civil Rights Committee.

In statements, a slew of other members of the large caucus argued that there’s no correlation between job performance and credit scores, and that even if there were, credit reports are often riddled with errors.

New York City would not be the first locality to ban the use of credit checks in hiring; several states have done so already, and the move is being considered in others. It’s also not the first time New York City has considered banning credit checks in employment — previous legislation introduced in prior councils stalled.

The Progressive Caucus, which doubled in size this year, has played a strong role in the council this session — including in the selection of Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who is a member of the caucus. Her office said she would be reviewing the legislation. The caucus has also backed the expansion of paid sick leave, and been a strong advocate of the growing participatory budgeting trend, in which voters select which projects a council member funds.

The singling out of the credit check bills comes as observers are eyeing what the Council will take on as the summer, when few hearings or meetings are held, comes to an end…


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