Statement of NYS AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento on Vital Labor Protections for Striking Workers

TO: NYS AFL-CIO Executive Board Members

FROM: Mario Cilento, President

DATE: June 21, 2019

RE: Statement of NYS AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento on

Vital Labor Protections for Striking Workers

The state Legislature passed a bill that amends the labor law to reduce the waiting period for striking workers to be eligible for unemployment benefits from seven weeks to one week.

Once again, New York State is leading the way on strengthening worker protections. This critical legislation will create parity for striking workers on their eligibility for unemployment benefits.

Currently, striking workers in New York State have to wait seven weeks before being eligible for unemployment benefits. That delay only applies to striking workers and amounts to a penalty on workers who exercise their federal right to strike. With this legislation, workers who go on strike will be treated the same as other workers and wait one week to claim benefits.

To be clear, no one wants to strike. It is a hardship everyone wants to avoid. The difficult decision to strike is made by members voting to walkout only when their employer forces their hand.

We thank the sponsors, Assemblyman Ryan and Senator Kennedy, Speaker Heastie and Leader Stewart-Cousins for passing this important legislation.