Tag Archives: Workers Center of Central NY

Green Light Press Conference Syracuse 8/21

AS STATE FAIR KICKS OFF, UPSTATE COMMUNITIES SEEK DRIVER’S LICENSES FOR IMMIGRANT FARMWORKERS

Join us on Tuesday, Aug 21st at 3PM for a press conference on the eve of State Fair to call for driver’s license access for NYS agricultural workers.

The New York State Fair, an event that is a celebration of the upstate agricultural economy, kicks off this week in Syracuse. The statewide Green Light campaign is bringing together elected officials, workers and community organizations in Rochester, Syracuse and Buffalo the day before the fair to call for driver’s license access for those who keep the farms running. Since 2002, those without Social Security numbers are denied access to licenses.

The Green Light NY: Driving Together campaign seeks to ensure equal access to driver’s licenses for all residents of New York State, regardless of immigration status. Our statewide coalition brings together immigrant communities, advocates, allies and other stakeholders to coordinate a unified driver’s license campaign. Twelve other states across the country have chosen safer roads and increased revenue by giving undocumented immigrants access to driver’s licenses. If New York does the same, it will increase revenue from licensing and other fees by $57 million annually for city and county governments statewide.

Location: Park Central Presbyterian Church 504 E Fayette St, Syracuse, New York 13202

For Press Inquiries Contact:
Rebecca Fuentes: rfuentes@workerscentercny.org 315-657-6799
Kayla Kelechian: kkelechian@workerscentercny.org 315-385-9874

Can My Boss Do That?

Save the Date

Date: June 8 2018

Time: 12pm-2pm

Place: 2013 E. Genesee St Syracuse Ny 13210

Bosses Stealing your Tips?

Unsafe Working Conditions?

Not Getting Overtime Pay?

Stolen Wages?

Hurt on the Job?

Come learn and share about your experiences with other workers! Hosted by the Workers’ by the Workers’ Center of Central New York, more details coming soon!

Please RSVP by 05/28/18

How to RSVP: call Kayla Kelechian (315) 385-9874, the Workers’ Center of Central New York (315) 218-5708 or email kkelechian@workerscentercny.org

Please notify us if you will be needing interpretation or childcare services

Statement from the family of Selena Hidalgo and the Workers’ Center of CNY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday May 24th 2018

Press Contacts:

Rebecca Fuentes rfuentes@workerscentercny.org 315- 657- 6799

Kayla Kelechian kkelechian@workerscentercny.org 315-385 9874

Syracuse, NY: Statement from the Family of Selena Hidalgo Calderon and advocates the Workers’ Center of Central New York.

“My daughter and my grandson were my life, she was my first born and I feel like a piece of my heart is gone.”

-Estela Calderon, mother of Selena Hidalgo Calderon

When a mother loses a child, no matter what age, they grieve for their baby, for their toddler, for their teen, for the adult they would have become. The grief of losing a child to illness or an accident is immense but more so losing one’s child to an act of senseless violence. As members, friends, and staff of the Workers’ Center of Central NY, we grieve alongside Estela for the loss of her 18-year-old daughter, Selena Hidalgo Calderon. Estela describes Selena as a tender-hearted daughter and loving mother of her one-year-old son, Owen Hildalgo Calderon.

A hard-working mother, Selena was one of the many thousands of upstate NY farm workers who have contributed to the state’s agricultural industry.

The Workers’ Center of Central New York organizes with farmworkers around the region for equal rights and access to basic protections at the workplace. It also builds community among farmworkers who have lost their jobs or who experience the many hardships of being marginalized laborers. Selena’s death is an immeasurable loss, but it was also preventable.

We see her death as linked to the precarious, isolated, and vulnerable living conditions of immigrant women working in rural areas. Living with limited resources, little to no access to transportation, and persecuted by state agents, immigrant women are afraid to report domestic abuse or assault and often have no way to leave dangerous situations. As a workers’ center we stand up for the rights and dignity of low-wage workers and build community and organize precisely to end these cycles of isolation and violence. We will continue to fight for a world in which every person has equal access to basic services and protections.

Upon learning that Selena and her one-year-old son were missing we organized a press conference in Sodus, NY to alert the broader community and have them join us in our search. We were able to activate a network of people who gave us information of when Selena was last seen. Shortly after, we learned of her death. Her one-year-old child is still missing.

“What has happened to my family is unfair. I want the perpetrator to go to jail forever. I do not want another family to be hurt in this way.”

As Estela’s statement reminds us, we are guided by collective principles of family and community and we mourn and rally alongside Estela because she is part of our extended immigrant family. In these very difficult times we stand in solidarity, in accompaniment, and as witnesses. We denounce all forms of violence against women and children and call attention to the particular vulnerabilities faced by immigrant families. If anyone who reads this knows or suspects an immigrant woman is suffering assure them they are not alone and please contact us at 315-218-5708 or direct them to the following resources:

Worker Justice Center of NY Domestic & Sexual Violence Project for Farm Worker Women 24-hour Crisis Hotlines – WNY (866)343-8808 & Hudson Valley Region (845)471-3033

Vera House, Inc. 24-hour Hotline (315)468-3260

The Victim Resource Center, Inc. 24-hour Hotline (866)343-8808

If you are able to contribute to a fund for Estela and her family during this difficult and painful time, please visit the following Go Fund Me page:

https://www.gofundme.com/support-estela-and-her-family

Update on Dolores 5/10/18

May 8, 2018 Court for Dolores Bustamante Synopsis by Lory Ghertner
A judge has denied Dolores’s asylum case today [05/08/18] based on the simple fact that an asylum case must be presented within 365 days of entry into the US. In brief, her asylum case was based on two factors:
  1. Domestic violence with the claim that her protected “ social group” was defined as Mexican women who cannot escape violence of a husband. (https://www.uscis.gov/humanitarian/refugees-asylum/asylum ) Because she was only in a civil union, the judge did not recognize her case under that theory.
  2. Gang violence and/or the refusal to join a gang. Her claim was based on the murder of her son with two friends after being kidnapped and tortured. Neither Dolores nor Miriam could name a gang, which murdered three people. Because there was no “proof” or clear evidence of gang involvement that theory was also dropped.

Dolores was on the stand being questioned by her lawyer for over two hours, followed by ~5 minutes of cross examination by the government’s attorney, who used the above arguments to ruin Dolores’ claim of asylum. Then her daughter, Miriam, quite bravely, was on the stand for 15 minutes with no cross examination. This was followed by a similar experience with her Pastor, Milton Irizzary. In his ruling, the judge actually blamed Dolores for not leaving an abusive relationship and essentially for her son’s death. He also referred to a 2017 study from the Department of State, showing that Mexico now has laws preventing domestic violence and has convicted 11 (eleven) people over the past year. Her attorney will be filling an appeal by June 7 to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), a three judge panel that will determine whether the judge today gave a proper judgment. This will take approximately one year and will most likely also fail But this will be followed by another appeal to the federal courts, which will take over another year to resolve. The bottom line: based on the law, it appears that her case was properly adjudicated despite the ridiculous arguments presented by the judge. She has at least another 2 years before being ordered removed from this country. Thank you to all those who stood with Dolores and Miriam today and to all of you who have expressed concern, prayed for her, and generally wished her well through this trying, frightening, and frustrating experience. Tonight they both seem relieved that this part of the ordeal is over.

Lory Ghertner

**Press Advisory** Restaurant, Nail Salon, Carwash Workers Rally at DOL Hearing for One Fair Wage Advocates + Workers testify for better wages and better tips

Press advisory

Restaurant, Nail Salon, Carwash Workers Rally at DOL Hearing for One Fair Wage Advocates + Workers testify for better wages and better tips

A next step in the Fight for 15 struggle for economic justice for all

Syracuse, NY – On Monday, tipped wage workers– restaurant servers, nail salon technicians, and car wash workers– alongside advocates, labor leaders, and policy experts– will testify at the second of seven NYS Department of Labor hearings to review paying tipped workers the state’s general minimum wage, on top of their tips.

The One Fair Wage coalition will be holding a rally outside of The Gateway Center at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry before going inside to testify.

When: MONDAY, April 30, rally at 9am, hearing starts at 10AM.

Where: Outside The Gateway Center at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. 1 Forestry Dr, Syracuse, NY

What: Rally before NYS DOL hearing on bringing tipped workers’ wages in line with the general minimum wage. Press availability with servers, nail salon technicians, car wash workers, and advocates.

Who: Restaurant servers, nail salon technicians, car wash workers, and advocates.

Coalition members: Adhikaar for Human Rights and Social Justice, A Better Balance, AlignNY, Citizen Action of New York, Community Service Society, Enlace, Food Chain Workers Alliance, Judson Memorial Church, Make the Road New York, Metro Justice, National Employment Law Project, National Organization for Women, New York Latina Advocacy Network, New Economy Project, NY Communities for Change, NY Healthy Nail Salons Coalition, NYS Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts, Planned Parenthood of NYC, PowHerNY, Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, ROC-NY, RWDSU, SEPA Mujer, Tompkins County Workers Center, UltraViolet, Women’s Equality Party, Women’s Organizing Network, Workers United NY NJ, 32BJ SEIU.

Background

The One Fair Wage (OFW) campaign represents a next step in the Fight For 15 to cover tipped workers left behind, as part of the ongoing movement forward.
In New York, tipped workers make a subminimum wage ranging from $7.50 – $8.65, relying on tips to bring them up to the state’s general minimum wage, which ranges from $10.40 – $13.00, depending on the region.

One Fair Wage is proven to help stem the rampant exploitation in majority female and immigrant workforces, from sexual harassment to other forms of worker abuse, without sacrificing profits. States with One Fair Wage have increased sales, more robust wages, and stronger employment growth than states with a subminimum wage.

In his January State of the State address, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the NYS Department of Labor will hold hearings to examine raising the subminimum wage and establishing One Fair Wage in New York, saying:

“New York continues to be a national leader in fighting for justice for working men and women, and by providing a platform for New Yorkers’ concerns to be heard, we are furthering our efforts to deliver fair wages for all. I am urging those impacted by this proposal to register, attend a hearing, and help us move this state one step closer toward a better, more just New York.”

Work for Tips? Testify to End Tipped Wage

When: April 30, 2018 8:45-2:00pm

Where: The Gateway Center 1 Forestry Dr SUNY-ESF Syracuse

The TCWC 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 TCWC 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.

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 .