LOCAL RESIDENTS RALLY TO SUPPORT HANNA’S CLINTON ENDORSEMENT

August 9, 2016

 

20160808_161831 (2)

On Monday, August 8, over 50  local residents attended a rally to publicly thank Representative Richard Hanna for endorsing Hillary Clinton for President. On last Tuesday, Representative Richard Hanna (CD 22) became the first Republican member in Congress to say that he will cross party lines and vote directly against GOP nominee Donald Trump.

The rally, which was organized by Central New York Labor Council, Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., and other groups, was held in front of Representative Richard Hanna’s office, in Downtown Utica.  Rep. Hanna spoke to those who attended the rally and thanked them for supporting his decision.

Hanna, who wrote last week an op-ed in the Syracuse Post Standard endorsing Clinton, said he found the Republican presidential nominee “deeply flawed in endless ways.”

“For me, it is not enough to simply denounce his comments: He is unfit to serve our party and cannot lead this country,” he said in the op-ed.

Hanna added that while he disagreed with Clinton on many issues, “she stands and has stood for causes bigger than herself for a lifetime”.

Hanna said in the op-ed:  “That matters. Mrs. Clinton has promoted many of the issues I have been committed to over the years including expanding education and supporting women’s healthcare.”

“All Republicans may not like the direction, but they can live to win or lose another day with a real candidate,” Hanna concluded the op-ed. “Our response to the public’s anger and the need to rebuild requires complex solutions, experience, knowledge, and balance. Not bumper sticker slogans that panders to our disappointment, fear, and hate.”

20160808_162019 (3)

 

Pat Costello, President of the Central New York Labor Council, stated:  “The Central New York Labor Council along with the Central New York Building & Construction Trades Council applauds Congressman Richard Hanna’s very courageous decision to endorse Hillary Clinton. Congressman Hanna has always been very thoughtful and deliberate throughout his career when making crucial decisions on behalf of his constituents. This choice was no different. It is a shame that there are some that would criticize his decision. There is no place for party loyalty when the result would be detrimental to our country. We are sure that there will be more Republicans who will follow Congressman Hanna’s choice to endorse Hillary Clinton as the campaign unfolds but to be the first one takes a very brave and committed representative and for that we thank him.”

 

 

13987133_1303644992993810_134003872_o

John Furman, President of the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., said:  “We stand in support of Representative Hanna’s courageous decision to endorse Hillary Clinton.  It is important that Democrats, Republicans, and Independents work together to defeat Donald Trump.   Donald Trump would be a disaster for the 22nd Congressional District.   His economic policies will hurt the lives of youth, farmers, working people, seniors, and disabled.  Trump lacks the skills, experience, and character to be President and would put our nation’s security at risk.  His racist and anti-immigrant talk is an affront to American values.  We are delighted that Representative Hanna did the right thing by endorsing Hillary Clinton for President.”

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION NEWSLETTER JULY 2, 2016

July 2, 2016

NEWSLETTER OF THE CENTRAL NEW YORK CITIZENS IN ACTION, INC.
(ESTABLISHED IN 1997)

You can view newsletter on:
https://cnycitizenaction.wordpress.com

HEADLINES

Calling all Progressives!! March in the Utica July 4th Parade!

Income Inequality Summit – July 14

Local Residents To Attend
Justice Works Conference

Local Residents To Attend
Justice Works Conference On July 23 & 24

8 Solutions To Promote A Fair Economy

july 4

Calling all Progressives!! March in the Utica July 4th Parade!

The Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., the Working Families Party, progressive Democrats, and our allies and coalition partners will be marching in the Utica July 4 parade this coming Monday. Please join us to spread the progressive message. We will be celebrating our victories such as raising the minimum wage, the successful Verizon strike, and paid family leave.

We will be passing out literature and candy!!! Please arrive by 9:30 a.m. and report to the PURPLE GROUP on Lower Barton Ave. behind the Our Lady of Lourdes Church (2 Barton Ave, Utica, NY 13502, off Genesee Street in South Utica). The parade will start at 11 a.m. sharp. The parade travels north on Genesee Street to the Memorial Parkway, turns right on to the Parkway and ends at Oneida St. (Recreation Center). Please RSVP.

We are proud that America stands for basic democratic values — economic and social equality, mass participation in politics, free speech and civil liberties, elimination of the second-class citizenship of women and minorities, a welcome mat for the world’s oppressed people. The reality of corporate power, right-wing xenophobia and social injustice makes progressives work even harder to achieve these principles. As Martin Luther King said in a speech during the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955, “The great glory of American democracy is the right to protest for right.”

You can make this event a success by: marching, providing a car or truck we can use, bringing items to decorate the vehicle, donating candy, bringing signs to promote economic and social justice, performing music (playing drums or kazoos or making a donation). You may pass out candy (just throw it down to the ground)

Thank you for your support!! Please contact John Furman at cnycitizenaction@gmail.com or calling 315-725-0974.

inequallity

Income Inequality Summit – July 14

Thursday, July 14th -6 pm-8 pm
Unitarian Universalist Church of Utica
10 Higby Road, Utica, NY 13501 (off Genesee Street in South Utica)
(Light super will be provided.)

New York State has the greatest income inequality in the country
The wealthiest 1% of NYS residents receive 35% of all income and significant income gains over the last two decade. Over the same time the wages of most New Yorkers have remained virtually stagnant.

Almost half of our children in Utica live in Poverty (48%)

The economy is a mess for everyone except the super-rich. Those with power and money have designed a system to take the wealth from our communities and leave us all behind.

It DOES NOT have to be this way!

Join us to look at the root causes of runaway inequality and its effects on race, education, housing, criminal justice and all community services.

We are the solution to runaway inequality!

Please Join Us – for questions or RSVP
cnycitizenaction@gmail.com , 315-725-0974
cnycitizenaction.wordpress.com
This is a non-partisan event.

Co-Sponsored by (list in formation) Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. Citizen Action of NY, Fiscal Policy Institute, Restore the American Promise, Statewide Senior Action Council

justice works

Local Residents To Attend
Justice Works Conference On July 23 & 24

On July 23 & 24, hundreds of New Yorkers, including residents of Central New York, who fight for justice will join together in Albany. Regardless of the issues you work on or how you work on them: if you’re an organizer, a volunteer, a door knocker, a blogger, a policy wonk, or all of these things – Justice Works is the conference for you. Nationally-renowned speakers, expert panels, and intensive skills and issue workshops will cover: Racial Justice • Community Organizing Social Media • Living Wage Jobs Immigration • Renewable Energy Educational Equity • Volunteer Recruitment. Our keynote speaker will be Dr. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Assistant Professor, African American Studies, Princeton University. She is the author of “From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation.” If you would like to join our Utica contingent, please contact the Central New York Citizens in Action at 315-725-0974 or cnycitizenaction@gmail.com. Scholarships and transportation are available.

 

8 Solutions To Promote A Fair Economy

If you are applying in a game where the rules turn out to be rigged, you need to change the game. Here are eight practical solutions the Central New York Citizens in Action and the Institute for Policy Studies have identified in order to win greater equality and fairness for all:

#1 Tax Wall Street – Boost Low-Income Households
Thirty-one percent of the Utica’s population and 48% of its children below age 18 live below the federal poverty level. A tax on Wall Street could support a federal “Baby Bond “Program that would grant every American born into a wealth-poor family a trust fund accessible at age 18. This would go a long way to help eliminate poverty in cities like Utica.

#2 Close Capital Gains Tax Loophole – Fund Universal Pre-K
The Utica and other area school districts have suffered huge cuts in education funding. Ending all preferential treatment for capital gains income could raise $600 billion over 10 years – enough to ensure universal pre-K for the next generation of Americans. Universal Pre-K would help to ensure educational opportunity for all.

#3 Tax Concentrated Wealth – Make College Debt-Free
Many local graduates of colleges have enormous amounts of student loan debt. Taxing the wealth of our richest 1% would raise some $260 billion annually – Enough to cover tuition cost for public college and eliminate all existing student debt over a 10-year period.

#4 Organize Black Workers – Narrow the racial wage gap
The rules that govern labor relations substantially limit efforts to empower black workers and other persons of color. A movement linking civil rights with the right to organize would narrow the racial wage gap.

#5 Surcharge on luxury goods – Fund transition to clean energy economy
Upstate New York is threatened by oil trains which contribute to global climate change. A carbon – hog tax designed to help underwrite a “just transition” superfund would benefit displaced workers and frontline communities damaged by extractive fossil fuel industries.

#6 Cap tax-deferred retirement accounts – Fund adequate long-term care
Many local nursing homes face funding shortfalls and face challenges in providing high quality care. Capping IRAs and other tax-deferred retirement accounts at $3 million would raise nearly $9 billion over 10 years, which could fund a federal grant program for state-level long-term care and pilot programs.

#7 Crack down on Tax Dodgers – Help budget-strapped localities
Tax havens prevent the federal government from providing needed assistance to localities. This will help communities’ like Utica to give them the funds to fix potholes, repair housing, and modernize infrastructure.

#8 Cap performance pay tax deductions – raise federal revenues
Merely denying corporation a tax deduction on executive pay over $1 million would raise federal revenue by billions of dollars a year. This would prevent cuts to necessary federal programs like rental assistance, affordable housing, food and nutrition, and crime prevention programs which help local residents.

The Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. will be sponsoring in September a community-wide meeting to discuss what steps we can take on a local, state, and national level to address income inequality and poverty.

PLEASE SUPPORT THE WORK OF CENTRAL
NEW YORK CITIZENS IN ACTION!

Your support today is an important investment in the progressive advocacy, education, research, organizing, and consumer protection work that we do to lift up the engine of our economy -hardworking Central New Yorkers and the families.

Please send your check to:
Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., P.O. Box 411, Utica, NY 13503-0411. Because we are an advocacy group, donations are not tax deductible.

Thank you for your support.

 

NEWSLETTER ARTICLES ARE NEEDED

Please submit your articles, news items, and calendar listings to cnycitizenaction@gmail.com.

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION is published by Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., P.O. Box 411, Utica, NY 13503-0411 Our Office is located at 500 Plant Street in Utica, NY at Cornerstone Community Church./315-725-0974315-725-0974 cnycitizenaction@gmail.com https://cnycitizenaction.wordpress.com

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION NEWSLETTER – MAY 28, 2016

May 28, 2016

renew Flyer_June1_B&W_English (1)

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION NEWSLETTER
MAY 28, 2016

NEWSLETTER OF THE CENTRAL NEW YORK CITIZENS IN ACTION, INC.
(ESTABLISHED IN 1997)

You can view newsletter on:
https://cnycitizenaction.wordpress.com

HEADLINES

BUS LEAVING UTICA FOR
JUNE 1 ALBANY CLIMATE MARCH

PAUL BAKER, LONG-TIME COMMUNITY
ACTIVIST DIES, AT 91

STRIKING VERIZON WORKERS
WIN BIG GAINS

 

BUS LEAVING UTICA FOR JUNE 1 ALBANY CLIMATE MARCH

LOCAL CITIZENS TO CALL FOR
100% RENEWABLE AND GREEN JOBS

ny renew march

Local citizens will be participating in a rally on Wednesday, June 1 at the New York State Capitol in Albany to call for legislators to pass legislation that addresses the need to shift our energy needs to renewable sources, while creating jobs across the state. The rally is sponsored by the NY Renews coalition which includes the New York Working Families Party and the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc.

A bus will be leaving from the North Utica Shopping Center, 50 Auert Ave, Utica, (near Berkshire Bank) at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 1. The bus will also stop in Syracuse. There is no charge for the bus, but donations will be accepted. To reserve a seat on the bus from Utica/Syracuse, contact John Furman of the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. at 315-725-0974/cnycitizenaction@gmail.com.

The march is sponsored by NY Renews, a broad coalition of community-based organizations, environmental justice groups, labor unions, faith groups, business leaders, and other advocates. NY Renews’ goal is to minimize the way all New Yorkers feel the effects of climate change through a comprehensive statewide switch to 100% clean renewable energy by 2050. NY Renews has outlined an equitable transition that keeps people employed and that opens up the green jobs market for more New Yorkers.

Members include the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., New York Working Families Party, Alliance for a Green Economy, Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition, Buffalo Coalition for Economic Justice, Catskill Mountainkeeper Citizen Action of New York, Communications Workers of America, Environmental Advocates of NY, NY State Nurses Association, NY State United Teachers, People’s Climate Movement NY, People of Albany United for Safe Energy – PAUSE, PUSH Buffalo, Rochester People’s Climate Coalition, Sierra Club, Syracuse United Neighbors, and Sustainable Tompkins.

John Furman, President of the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., said: “The coalition NY Renews coalition is going to Albany to demand decisive action that properly addresses climate change in a way that stimulates job growth and is inclusive of communities that have been disparately harmed by climate issues. We are fighting for environmental justice and a green sustainable economy for ALL New Yorkers.”

paul baker

PAUL BAKER, LONG-TIME COMMUNITY ACTIVIST DIES, AT 91

“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.”
― Elie Wiesel

I am very sorry to report that long-time Utica area peace and social justice activist Paul Baker passed away on May 15. Paul was a dear friend and mentor. He was an educator, auto worker, Marine, union organizer. Paul was a member of the Board of the Central New York Citizens in Action as well as active in many local groups such as the NAACP, Utica Citizens Lobby, Central New York Labor Council, and Syracuse Peace Council. He was an exemplary role model and source of inspiration and motivation for my activist work. I learned many things from him – importance of inclusive participatory decision making and community engagement, communicating within the experience of others, and finding common connections among people. Our thoughts are with Paul and his family. He will never be forgotten.

The following is Paul’s obituary:

Born in Ypsilanti, Michigan, in 1925, Paul’s working life began very young when he helped his great-grandparents on their farm. At 14, he worked as janitor at a Congregational Church in Reed City, ushering nights at the local theater and working full-time at a railroad tie treatment plant during the summer. At 16, he worked full-time with the local Coca Cola distributing plant, working afternoons till midnight and on Saturdays. Paul enlisted in the US Marine Corps at age 18 and was decorated for flying missions in the Pacific and in 1945 received meritorious commendations for acts of bravery during combat, including the landing of his fighter plane when the pilot was hit.

After the war, Paul entered Michigan State College under the GI Bill, completing a degree in education while working as a welder in stove and auto factories at night. Paul also became an organizer for the United Auto Workers while working and attending college.

In 1951, he began teaching elementary school in Inkster, Michigan, where he continued his union and Civil Rights activity, helping to organize teachers’ locals and a regional human relations council. Every summer he worked a second job as a spot welder and assembler in the Ford Motor Wayne and River Rouge Plants. In 1959, he earned his Master’s degree at Wayne State University in Detroit and continued graduate studies at the University of Michigan.

After 13 years of teaching, he became one of the first elementary school counselors in the state of Indiana, and taught Counselor Education at Indiana University where he did graduate work in counseling psychology.

In 1966, Paul was invited to direct the Consortium School, an innovative NY education program that partnered several colleges and the Utica City School District. At the end of the program, Paul moved to work with the NYS Education Department as a planner and consultant to upstate school districts, initiating innovative projects, and taught Counseling at Colgate University. Next, he worked as an independent contractor for HUD (the Federal Housing Project), helping people deeply in debt to keep their homes. He finished his career as a Special Education teacher in Utica until his retirement in 1991.

First and foremost a worker, in retirement, Paul poured his considerable energies into turning 2 1/2 acres of undeveloped land into an orchard oasis of apple, pear and other fruit trees. His Ford pickup was a familiar sight to Clinton friends and neighbors, always heavily piled with daily loads of compost that he shoveled by hand onto his land.

He also took time to work with local community organizations, including the NYSUT Retiree Council 8, Kirkland Democrats, the League of Women’s Voters, the Central New York Peace Council, the NAACP, which honored him in 2014 for lifetime achievements, and many union groups.

Always a champion of the lives and rights of working people, Paul early developed a strong appreciation for the contributions and cultures of our nation’s immigrants and minorities. He had a special love of jazz and was an accomplished swimmer and diver. His deft two-step made us all smile. – See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/uticaod/obituary.aspx?n=paul-baker&pid=180067430&fhid=22252#sthash.y7doSFzv.dpuf

THANK you verizon workers

STRIKING VERIZON WORKERS WIN BIG GAINS

UNION TO TAKE DOWN PICKETS; COMPANY AGREES TO ADD GOOD UNION JOBS ON THE EAST COAST; FIRST CONTRACT FOR RETAIL WIRELESS WORKERS; IMPROVES WORKERS’ OVERALL STANDARD OF LIVING

Nearly 40,000 Verizon workers who have been on strike since April 13 are celebrating big gains after coming to an agreement in principle with the company. After 45 days of the largest strike in recent history, striking CWA members have achieved our major goals of improving working families’ standard of living, creating good union jobs in our communities and achieving a first contract for wireless retail store workers.

“CWA appreciates the persistence and dedication of Secretary Perez, Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service Director Allison Beck and their entire teams. The addition of new, middle-class jobs at Verizon is a huge win not just for striking workers, but for our communities and our country as a whole. The agreement in principle at Verizon is a victory for working families across the country and an affirmation of the power of working people,” said Chris Shelton, President of the Communications Workers of America. “This proves that when we stand together we can raise up working families, improve our communities and protect the American middle class.”

The Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. wishes to thank all of our supporters and members for supporting our brothers and sisters at CWA Local 1126 and IBEW Local 2213 during the strike.

This Is. Huge! For the past six weeks, 39,000 Verizon workers have been marching on the picket line to defend good middle-class jobs in America — without a paycheck.

Verizon workers kept fighting in spite of these odds because they knew that “if we don’t fight for these jobs, these jobs won’t be here.”

Now, all their hard work has paid off. They’ve forced Verizon’s hand and brought the company back to the bargaining table to hammer out a deal that respects workers and our communities.

Let’s tell them thanks for fighting!

Click here to say thanks on Facebookand here to tweet thanks on Twitter.

 

PLEASE SUPPORT THE WORK OF CENTRAL NEW YORK CITIZENS IN ACTION!

Your support today is an important investment in the progressive advocacy, education, research, organizing, and consumer protection work that we do to lift up the engine of our economy -hardworking Central New Yorkers and the families.

Please send your check to:
Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., P.O. Box 411, Utica, NY 13503-0411. Because we are an advocacy group, donations are not tax deductible.

Thank you for your support.

NEWSLETTER ARTICLES ARE NEEDED

Please submit your articles, news items, and calendar listings to cnycitizenaction@gmail.com.

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION is published by Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., P.O. Box 411, Utica, NY 13503-0411 Our Office is located at 500 Plant Street in Utica, NY at Cornerstone Community Church./315-725-0974315-725-0974 cnycitizenaction@gmail.com https://cnycitizenaction.wordpress.com

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION NEWSLETTER – MAY 19, 2016

May 20, 2016

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION NEWSLETTER

MAY 19, 2016

 

 

NEWSLETTER OF THE CENTRAL NEW YORK CITIZENS IN ACTION, INC. (ESTABLISHED IN 1997)

 

You can view newsletter on: 

https://cnycitizenaction.wordpress.com

 

HEADLINES

 

GET INVOLVED – CITIZEN ACTION MEETING ON MONDAY

DEMAND DEMOCRACY NOW

JOIN US TO SPREAD THE WORD 

ABOUT REVERSING INEQUALITY

CLEAN ENERGY STANDARD HEARING ON MAY 25

OPPOSE PREDATORY LENDING IN NEW YORK STATE

TELL CONGRESS TO OPPOSE THE TPP

PROGRESSIVES TO GATHER IN ALBANY IN JULY

JOIN US IN THE FIGHT TO SAVE THE PLANET!!

THE LEAST OF 20 EVILS

 

get involved

GET INVOLVED – CITIZEN ACTION MEETING ON MONDAY

 

We are inviting local progressives to become a part of the Central New York Citizens in Action which has been leading the fight for social justice in the Utica/Rome area for over 25 years. Central New York Citizens in Action is hosting a meeting between 6 – 8 p.m. on Monday, May 23 to make plans for progressive activism in our area.   The meeting will be held at the Utica Public Library, 303 Genesee Street, Downtown Utica, Music Room, second floor.  The library is across the street from Munson –Williams Proctor Institute and parking is available in the rear.

The meeting will provide an overview of the Citizen Action movement and how you can get involved. We will be discussing the upcoming Inequality Summit, Justice Works Conference, bomb trains, campaign finance reform, and how we will continue the political revolution in Central NY and the Mohawk Valley!!  Refreshments will be provided.  Please RSVP.  For more information, please call 725-0974 orcnycitizenaction@gmail.com.

fair elections

DEMAND DEMOCRACY NOW

The Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. will be part of a state-wide campaign with Citizen Action of New York to demand democratic elections.   We want to see the following:

  • Publicly funded elections
  • Comprehensive campaign finance reform
  • Automatic and easier voter registration
  • Expanding the right to vote
  • Making it easier to vote
  • Real ethics reform

We will be holding events during the next few weeks.  We need your input and participation.  Please contact us to help.

reversing runaway inequality

JOIN US TO SPREAD THE WORD ABOUT REVERSING INEQUALITY

In conjunction with Citizen Action of New York, we will be holding a Central New York  Reversing Runaway Inequality workshop in which participants will learn about how Wall Street has rigged the economy in every way imaginable, impacting all the issues that we work on.  We will also provide local data on the extent of poverty and inequality in our region.  Most importantly, we will offer solutions to promote economic and political democracy and create opportunity for all of us.   We need your help in organizing these events and volunteers to become community educators on inequality.   The educators will facilitate workshops for schools, campuses, unions, houses of worship, and community organizations.

 

CLEAN ENERGY STANDARD HEARING ON MAY 25

 

Wednesday, May 25 Carman Community Room, Liverpool Public Library, 310 Tulip Street, Liverpool, NY 13088

  • Afternoon Info Session p.m., Public Hearing 3 – 5 pm
  • Evening Info Session p.m., Public Hearing 7 – p.m.

The Clean Energy Standard (CES) is a proposal currently under consideration by the New York Public Service Commission (PSC). Remember Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) from 2015? Well, the Clean Energy Standard is the next step toward a NY energy plan, and it has some good points but also some serious drawbacks and omissions. The CES would support new renewable energy (tier 1) and existing renewable energy (tier 2) but would also have ratepayers subsidize NY’s aging, unprofitable nuclear plants (tier 3). The proposal, as currently written, would require utility companies to buy increasing amounts of electricity from renewable AND nuclear sources.

Despite the fact that nuclear power is not clean or renewable, the proposed policy will also provide massive subsidies to unprofitable upstate nuclear reactors. Subsidizing the nuclear reactors will probably cost NYers between $3.5 and $4.6 billion through 2030, in effect throwing away this money instead of investing it in renewable energy, efficiency, and storage.

The PSC will accept comments on the Clean Energy Standard proposal through June 6. A decision on the nuclear tier of the CES will be made by the end of June 2016. Your voice is needed to make sure that the PSC adopts a plan for NY that is actually clean and actually takes us toward a low-carbon, renewable, and efficient energy economy. Bailing out old and expensive nuclear plants should not be the responsibility of taxpayers – tell the NYS Public Service Commission to put our money to work on becoming energy efficient and creating jobs in renewables.

 

There is no hearing scheduled in Utica.  We are trying to get a carpool of folks from Utica to attend the Liverpool hearing.  Please contact us if you are interested in attending.

 

Predatory-Lending-2

OPPOSE PREDATORY LENDING IN NEW YORK STATE

The Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. opposes a bill which was recently introduced n the New York State Legislature called the “Community Financial Services Access and Modernization Act”

(A.9634/S.6985).   This bill would permit New York check cashers to make loans. The bill would allow check cashers, which have no experience as lenders, to make loans to New Yorkers and small businesses in New York, without ensuring the safety and soundness of those loans. By allowing an unprecedented and unwarranted expansion of check cashers’ authority, the bill would pave the way for high-cost, predatory loans that New York has long successfully fought to keep out of our state. We opposes allowing New York check cashers to make loans, whether to small businesses or to individual borrowers.

The Legislature should reject A.9634/S.6985 and instead affirmatively strengthen and promote Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and other responsible lenders that are in the business of meeting community and small business credit needs in a safe, non-discriminatory manner. For example, in 2012, the most recent year for which data are available, CDFIs made more than 20,000 loans to small businesses in New York – responsibly meeting the need of small businesses unable to obtain loans from mainstream financial institutions.

Please contact your members of the NYS Assembly and State Senate and urges them to oppose this legislation, and preserve the integrity of our state’s lending and usury laws.

tpp photo

TELL CONGRESS TO OPPOSE THE TPP

Despite a tidal wave of public opposition, the architects of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) continue to push the pact hard in the hopes of seeing it passed this year.  Today, administration officials are trying to spin a new U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) study about the TPP as supportive of the agreement.  We need your help correcting the record with Members of Congress.

Please contact your Congress members now — in the wake of the harmful claims about the new ITC report — and urge them to publicly oppose the TPP.

For years, the TPP was negotiated in the shadows.  The public and press were barred from knowing what negotiators were proposing in Americans’ names, while literally hundreds of corporate lobbyists — representing firms like Walmart, Chevron and Cargill — were given special “cleared advisor” status that granted them privileged access to the texts and to negotiators.  If they weren’t writing the TPP provisions themselves, they were at least looking over negotiators’ shoulders, saying, “No, no, no. Don’t do that. Try this instead.”

When the negotiations concluded late last year and changes became all-but-impossible, we finally got to see the results of this corrupt process.  Among other very serious problems, the TPP text would make it easier for big corporations to offshore American jobs and push down wages due to the trading partners in the agreement, investor protections that promote offshoring, weak rules of origin, absent currency safeguards and inadequate labor and environmental standards.

Earlier this year, thousands of Americans submitted testimony to the ITC asking that its then-forthcoming study of the TPP avoid unrealistic assumptions in its economic modeling, such as full employment, neutral trade balances and static income inequality; that assess how anticipated export gains under the TPP could be wiped out by currency manipulation; that it take into account how weak rules of origin in the TPP could affect U.S. jobs and wages; and that it investigate how increased fossil fuel exports could increase energy costs for U.S. producers and consumers.

Rather than fully embracing them, the ITC’s recent TPP study only made the slightest of nods to these commonsense suggestions. Nonetheless, buried beneath the rosy headlines, the study actually found that in the TPP’s first fifteen years:

  • The United States’ global trade deficit would increase by $21.7 billion;
  • That we’d see a worsened balance of trade in 16 out of the 25 specific product areas it chose to feature, including everything from auto parts to corn to financial services;
  • That there would be a decline in output for U.S. manufacturing, natural resources and energy of $10.8 billion; and
  • That even the U.S. balance in trade services would worsen by $2.2 billion.

TAKE ACTION NOW: Please urge your Congress members to oppose the TPP in the face of misinformation about the ITC’s new study.

What the TPP boosters are promoting about the ITC study is its projection that the pact would increase U.S. economic growth.  What they fail to mention is that the ITC study finds that this growth would be a paltry 0.15% by the year 2032.  In other words, the United States would be as wealthy on February 15, 2032 without the TPP as it would be on January 1, 2032 with it.

That the ITC is projecting such minuscule benefits from the TPP is telling, given its long track record of grossly overestimating the benefits and underestimating the costs of trade agreements.

Going all the way back to the 1990s, the ITC predicted that NAFTA would improve the U.S. trade surplus with Mexico and boost U.S. employment.  Instead under NAFTA, the United States’ $2.6 billion surplus in traded goods with Mexico has reversed course into a $106 billion deficit, and the Labor Department certified approximately 845,000 American jobs as lost under the deal.  The ITC similarly overestimated the benefits of Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China in the early 2000s.

Much more recently, the ITC predicted that the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement would cut the U.S. bilateral trade deficit with South Korea in half.  Instead under the Korea deal, U.S. exports decreased by 9 percent, imports from Korea increased by 19 percent and our goods trade deficit with South Korea has approximately doubled.

With the ITC warning us the costs to the TPP are real and the benefits minimal, it’s time for policymakers to reject this misguided pact and move on.

Don’t let Congress take misleading spin about the ITC study at face value.  Please write your Congress members now, correcting the record about the TPP and urging them to vote against it.

 

 

justice works

PROGRESSIVES TO GATHER IN ALBANY IN JULY

The Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. is urging local members to attend the Justice Works Conference this July.  We’re trying something a little different this year. On the weekend of July 23 & 24, 2016, we’ll be hosting three great events:

 

Justice Works 2016: the conference you know and love, with nationally-renowned speakers, issue and skills workshops, and networking with some of the best activists and leaders from across New York. Justice Works 2016 will begin at 11:00 am on Saturday, July 23 and close after out breakfast speaker on Sunday, July 24.

 

Citizen Action of New York Leadership Summit: Dues-paying members of Citizen Action of New York are invited to stay for our first statewide Leadership Summit. We’ll have discussions about the role of Citizen Action in this movement moment, strategize on issue and election campaigns, and also vote for At-Large seats on our statewide Board of Directors. The Citizen Action Leadership Summit will begin at 10 am on Sunday, July 24 and close at 4:00 pm.

 

New York Training Day: Hosted by the New York Civic Engagement Table, participants will get a full day’s worth of key skills trainings. We’ll have workshops on community organizing skills and we’ll also offer a Reversing Runaway Inequality workshop in which participants will learn about how Wall Street has rigged the economy in every way imaginable, impacting all the issues that we work on.

 

We fight for justice. We know it works. We fight for justice for our children, at our workplaces, and in our communities. When we win justice, we see it in the faces we love and the lives that have had an opportunity to succeed. But as our world seems ever more violent, jobless, sick, polluted and disenfranchised, we know we must continue the fight. Because Justice Works, we work for it, every day.

 

On July 23 and 24, 2016, hundreds of New Yorkers who fight for justice will join together. Regardless of the issues you work on, or how you work on them: if you’re an organizer, a volunteer, a door knocker, a blogger, a policy wonk, or all of these things – Justice Works is the conference for you. Too often in our movement for justice, we feel like we are all alone, all working on different issues, all going in different directions. But the fact is, we are all in this together, fighting for a society where we all do better, where government and the economy work for every person, not just the rich, and where justice is something shared by everyone, regardless of the color of our skin, our sexual orientation, our religious beliefs, where we live or how much money we make.

J

Justice Works will be a conference that brings together a cross section of progressive politics and activism in New York State, at a time when our united power, coordination and understanding is essential to beat back the powers of greed and individualism that are succeeding at dismantling our social structures and further tearing down our communities. Together we’ll train, share, network, teach and learn how each of our fights, our campaigns, our efforts, make up the gears that move New York toward justice. Come to be inspired. Join us July 23 & 24 in Albany!  For more information, please call 725-0974 or cnycitizenaction@gmail.com.  We are organizing vans to transport residents from our area to attend the conference.

 

rubber stamp rebellion

JOIN US IN THE FIGHT TO SAVE THE PLANET!!

 

We are in the midst of the largest civil disobedience campaign in environmental movement history: Break Free; and it is occurring at a time when we are at the tipping point for climate as well as many other environmental catastrophes like dying oceans and a great extinction. The growth of protest coincides with public opinion reaching a tipping point, with 64% of people in the United States, a record number, saying they were worried about climate change and 65% blaming it on human actions.

The Central NY Citizens in Action needs your help in organizing local protests to demand climate justice.  We are planning events to coincide with national events.

The escalation of the movement is also coming as the impacts of climate change become more evident. Perhaps the most dramatic impact in recent weeks has been the massive fire in Alberta, Canada — the heart of North American tar sands — where 90 thousand people had to be evacuated, leaving their homes and property behind. It is one of many climate-induced fires. While the media tried to avoid connecting the fire to climate, it was impossible to avoid the obvious. The irony of the tar sands center being destroyed by a fire made worse by climate chaos was to stark not to see.

Mass Resistance to Carbon Infrastructure and Extraction Has Been Ongoing

There has been a mass civil resistance movement related to climate and the environment for quite some time. People are blockading pipelines and oil trains, protesting gas export terminals and fracking, urging an end to more carbon infrastructure and pushing government to “keep it in the ground.” This movement is having an impact from convincing institutions to divest from oil and gas, to pushing more investment and development of renewable energy and slowing or stopping carbon infrastructure. As Break Free, a continuation of that escalation in resistance, shows, the climate struggle is vibrant and global and is gaining momentum.

This coming Monday, a week long Rubber Stamp Rebellion will begin in Washington, DC. The protests will be focused on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and their commissioners who have been rubber-stamping carbon infrastructure projects without considering how they are destroying communities (communicide) or their impact on climate change. Beyond Extreme Energy, which is organizing the event, will not only be going to FERC but also to the homes of FERC commissioners to hold them personally accountable. Twenty-one front line communities will be holding their own events and activists will also be targeting corporations involved in oil and gas in DC.

Last week, the Chair of FERC, Norman Bay was interrupted when he was giving a speech in Albany, NY and was forced to flee from the stage. He was speaking to the Independent Power Producers of New York. The reason FERC rubber stamps all carbon infrastructure projects is because this federal agency is completely funded by the industry. Permits and licensing fees pay the salaries of the commissioners and all the costs of the agency. It is a recipe for corruption-based conflict of interests and leads to FERC working with the industry and against the interests of communities and people. FERC is an agency that either needs to undergo a complete transformation so that it works toward a clean energy economy or it needs to be closed down.

What FERC and the industry do not understand is that people are fighting for their communities, really for their lives. People know they suffer from illness because of the pollution from oil and gas. In Philadelphia a Right to Breathe protest opposing a Navy Yard being turned into an import and export terminal for oil was held last week. One protester talked about how she has been having breathing problems for years because of the pollution that already exists. Protesters pointed out that there would be more jobs for the local economy if they built clean sustainable energy instead.

Protests on the front lines by communities impacted by carbon infrastructure are becoming too big to ignore. They are growing more consistent in recent years with almost every pipeline, compressor station, export terminal or extreme extraction like fracking or tar sands being protested.” A 2015 survey of pipeline companies found that protests are the most significant barrier to pipeline construction. The movement realizes that all of these projects are connected and that a victory in one part of the country energizes other communities. And, activists realize the the claim that gas was a bridge to a clean energy future is a lie, methane gas is a serious polluter and fracking damages water and air; further gas is a competitor to a clean energy future. Investing in carbon infrastructure means it will be used for a generation and that investment should go to creating energy from sun, wind and water instead.

Pipeline and other gas infrastructure corporations are resorting to new approaches to stop communities from standing up for their rights. In Charlotte, NC this week the Utilities Commission, which like most energy ‘regulators’ is controlled by the industry, demanded a $10 million bond for possible damages from NC WARN, a community and environmental group,  if they are going to continue to challenge the permit for a gas infrastructure project. This blocking of their ability to protest and participate in decision making is likely to be challenged in court.  Also, this week a professor who bought two parcels at an oil & gas auction was removed from her job at the University of Utah.

In another example, the anti-environmentalist front group America Rising Squared announced plans to target climate activists with trackers and video cameras. This intimidation tactic was announced just before the Break Free campaign of resistance began. Bill McKibben, rather than being intimidated, said he was “flattered” by their attention and how they showed “the lengths they will go to avoid talking about the greatest issue of our time, their ongoing wreckage of the planet’s climate, and in the process so many of its people.”

New Ways To See The Climate Crisis Justify Greater Protest

Lawsuits brought by youth have been arguing that the future they are inheriting includes a destroyed environment. A series of state, federal, and international cases brought against governments and the oil and gas industry have been supported by Our Children’s Trust claiming there is a “public trust” in the future of the planet that is being threatened by climate change and seeking to protect future generations. A public trust is a doctrine that claims the government has an affirmative duty to protect natural resources that are shared by everybody.

An Oregon court denied the motions of the federal government and allowed the case to proceed, framing the issue:

“Plaintiffs are suing the United States … because the government has known for decades that carbon dioxide (C02) pollution has been causing catastrophic climate change and has failed to take necessary action to curtail fossil fuel emissions. Moreover, plaintiffs allege that the government and its agencies have taken action or failed to take action that has resulted in increased carbon pollution through fossil fuel extraction, production, consumption, transportation, and exportation. Plaintiffs allege the current actions and omissions of defendants make it extremely difficult for plaintiffs to protect their vital natural systems and a livable world. Plaintiffs assert the actions and omissions of defendants that increased C02 emissions ‘shock the conscience,’ and are infringing the plaintiffs’ right to life and liberty in violation of their substantive due process rights.”

I

n May a Washington state superior court ruled that the State of Washington’s Department of Ecology must put in place  an emissions reduction rule by the end of 2016 and make recommendations to the state legislature on science-based greenhouse gas reductions in the 2017 legislative session. Judge Hollis Hill said the climate crisis “is an urgent situation…these kids can’t wait.” He concluded the state has a “mandatory duty” to “preserve, protect, and enhance the air quality for the current and future generations,” and found the state’s current standards to fail that standard . . .”

At the same time ExxonMobil is being sued for not taking any action even though they were aware of the threat their product posed to climate change and the future of the planet. ExxonMobil is accused of attempting to subvert the science on climate by funding outside groups that sought to undermine climate science, even as its in-house scientists were outlining the potential consequences. Investigations are ongoing by the federal government, New York, California and other states and are reminiscent of the cases brought against the tobacco companies for trying to undermine science on cigarettes causing cancer.  This week ExxonMobil resisted a demand for records from the attorney general of Virgin Islands for 40 years of records on climate in a case where they are investigating whether the company violated anti-racketeering laws.

While courts are beginning to recognize the climate crisis, the governments of the world are doing so as well. Last month was the ceremonial signing of the Paris agreement, which is recognized by experts as inadequate to face the climate crisis. The absurdity of inadequate leadership is seen when government’s recognize a collective responsibility to keep total warming somewhere below 1.5 degrees Celsius, but in February we were at 2 degrees Celsius. Governments are demanding too little, too late.

All of this leads to the inevitable conclusion that our job is to turn the climate crisis into a political crisis that forces the corruption of the oil and gas industry into the open and shames governments for their failure to act on an urgent situation that threatens life on the planet as we know it.  The failure of the political and economic systems to respond as quickly and strongly as needed puts the responsibility on people to resist oil and gas exploration, carbon infrastructure and continued reliance on dirty energy that is destroying the planet. The reality we face justifies resistance and disobedience to do all we can to slow or stop the use of carbon energy, heighten debate on the reality of the climate crisis and bring climate justice to the forefront of political thought.

This month Grant Township Supervisors in Pennsylvania, a state racked by a fracking-corrupted government, passed a first-in-the-nation law that legalizes direct action to stop frack wastewater injection wells within the Township.  According to the law if a court does not uphold the people’s right to stop corporate activities threatening the well-being of the community, the ordinance codifies that, “any natural person may then enforce the rights and prohibitions of the charter through direct action.” Further, the ordinance states that any nonviolent direct action to enforce their Charter is protected, “prohibit[ing] any private or public actor from bringing criminal charges or filing any civil or other criminal action against those participating in nonviolent direct action.”

Escalation Is Justified, We Can Win

The deep corruption in the current economy and in government requires people to act. The choice is between moving as rapidly as possible to 100% renewables or facing climate chaos. Making the transition to clean energy needs to be about transformative change on many fronts — how people relate to the planet, how we use energy more efficiently and create lifestyles more consistent with the realities of the environment and limitations of the planet as well as about our voracious economy based on ever growing capitalist thinking.

This week, the world passed the 400 parts per million of CO2 threshold, which means that we need to start planning to go beyond carbon neutral to carbon negative within the next few decades. That requires facing up to the destructive approaches that have developed in agriculture such as monocultures and factory farming. Research shows that regenerative agriculture not only sequesters carbon, removing it from the atmosphere, but also makes food healthier, reduces air and water pollution caused by mass agri-business and moves us to a regenerative economy which can help save the environment.

Progress is being made on all these fronts. Global investment in coal and gas-fired power generation plants fell to less than half that of renewable energy generation last year, a record year for clean energy. It was also the first time that renewable energy made up a majority of all the new electricity generation capacity under construction around the world. China alone accounted for 36% of the global total. In the US, although investment was up by a fifth to $44bn, it was still less than half of China’s. Europe bucked these trends and actually went backward, decreasing investment in clean energy by a fifth. Globally, solar had a 12% increase and wind had a 4% increase.

Solar continues to make market breakthroughs in the United States, setting a record in the last quarter of 2015 and solar and wind were the largest source of new energy for the last two years. Domestically, the market is projected to grow 25% to 50% this year and global projections are at 30%. And, we may be on the verge of a major new breakthrough in solar technology that will move us from inefficient and expensive silicon to perovskite, a light-sensitive crystal that has the potential to be more efficient, inexpensive, and versatile than all other existing solar solutions. This is one of many technological breakthroughs helping to drive the transformation more quickly.  As Peter Diamandis writes: “In the next 20 years, between 50 percent to 100 percent of the world’s energy production could come from solar.”

Also this week a study by the Stockholm Environment Institute found that we could cut carbon emissions by 100M tons by 2030 by phasing out leases on federal lands for fossil fuels. This means ceasing to issue new leases for fossil fuel extraction on federal lands and waters, and avoiding renewals of existing leases for resources that are not yet producing. This is how the federal government can act consistently with the goals of the Paris Treaty and make keeping it in the ground a reality.

This week, after a five-year struggle that engaged hundreds of thousands of people, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a landmark decision to deny federal permits for the biggest proposed coal export terminal in North America. This decision also recognized the rights of Indigenous peoples and honored treaty obligations.

There is a growing climate movement that is having an impact. It is stopping pipelines, compressor stations, export terminals and stopping the leasing of federal lands for more extreme extraction of dirty energy. We are transforming the economy to clean energy with rapid expansion of wind and solar. People are challenging the voracious, capitalist economy the puts profits before people and planet. We are winning and we will win even bigger victories if we keep building the movement, mobilizing people and refusing to compromise on the essential issue of climate justice. It is time to break free of fossil fuels.

Please join us to f ight for climate justice in Upstate New York.  We need to hear from you!

Credit:  Popular Resistance News Letter

The Least of 20 Evils

By Rick Cooley

rick kooley

The American political system these days is doing a terrible job of representing the interests of the majority of people living under it. The way in which districting of Congressional seats, the restriction of the voting rights of certain groups of people, the way in which ballot slots are allocated and the means by which political campaigns are waged and financed have all combined to de facto dilute the voices of or downright disenfranchise millions of Americans, while simultaneously augmenting the political clout of a much smaller number of people on the basis of wealth, income, gender, race and other arbitrary criteria. The ideal concept of “one person one vote” has become farther from realization with the passage of each successive election for decades.

The Republican Party, which has for the majority of its existence been viewed by most as the party of the wealthy business and corporate interests, no longer even seeks to hide that fact, continuing to preach the virtues of policies that have proven for decades to result in increasing income and wealth inequality favoring those already in positions of wealth and power while decimating the middle class and entrenching increasing numbers of people in an endless cycle of poverty with little room for true economic upward mobility. Decreasing investment in public education, health care, housing and other social safety net programs have helped to increase societal stratification instead of leveling the playing field by equalizing opportunities for advancement for everyone.

Political developments, such as the opening up the floodgates for campaign finance for increasingly large donations by wealthy individuals, corporations and other groups, along with the perceived need to court donations by such groups in order to not face being dramatically outspent by their opponents has resulted in a major decrease in responsiveness of many members of both parties to the needs and aspirations of their constituents less able to help them get elected and retain their elected status. The Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) has gone a long way toward unraveling the campaign spending/fundraising legislation which had been legislated over the course of many years to try to make political campaigning more dependent on policy issues and less dependent on the ability to overwhelm people with campaign advertising noise. The more recent devastation of key elements of the Voting Rights Act has further suppressed voting by members of groups protected by that law.

Gerrymandering of safe districts, which allows the party in power when redistricting occurs to make it more difficult for the opposing party to regain a majority in Congress and/or state legislatures, makes it possible for one political party to maintain its majority status in the elected bodies despite garnering far fewer overall votes than the “minority” party. Changing voting legislation to make it selectively more difficult for certain groups of people to vote, restrictions placed causing voting to take more time for some people than others and even the way in which votes are made and counted all open up increased chances for election results to differ significantly from the overall will of the people directly affected by the outcome. Thus, election fraud of various kinds has become more prevalent while more attention is being paid to alleviating a perceived problem of voter fraud that doesn’t actually exist.

The current contest for the 2016 Presidential election makes a good case in point for how far our system is straying from the democratic ideals this country has professed (note I purposely did not say practiced) for centuries now. A bazillion people announced their candidacy for the GOP nomination (ok, maybe in was closer to 20). Five announced on the Democratic side. All of these received at least a little bit of national media attention and some free airtime in televised debates. Ever see a debate nationally televised that included zero participants of either party? They must exist, because those are not the only two entrants on the presidential ballots of most states.

Many candidates from other parties have better developed policy platforms than most if not all of those running for the Democratic or Republican parties. Some even seek to represent the interests of more people than the major parties’ candidates do. They simply don’t have the resources to force themselves on the general public by buying up airtime, and the two parties do everything in their power to shut them out of any nationally televised debates. The exception to the rule being those billionaires vain enough to buy their way into the race. This is certainly not the case in most parliamentary systems, where multiple parties participate and govern much more successfully than our system has been doing of late.

When all else fails, the candidates whose names ultimately occupy the Democratic and Republican lines on the November ballot resort to cajoling those of us who want neither to hold the office, or greatly prefer someone else we think would do a better job with the time honored tradition of voting for the lesser of two evils. Apparently, this time around, we were expected to vote for the least of 20-something evils. None of these people can claim the support of a majority of voters. Almost all have higher negative than positive ratings in popular opinion polls. That’s not even a goal most of them aspire to. Someone will win. Usually it ends up being the person who gets a majority of ballots cast in the election, but not always. Most of those voting against the “winner” who didn’t vote for the person who came in second will be excoriated publicly as having blown the election.

If we end up with an inappropriate winner this election, it will not be for the first time. I doubt anybody would disagree on that score. Part of the problem resides in how the candidates are chosen. When some of the largest states shutout up to a third of their residents from even voting in a primary, the chances of selecting a true representative of the majority opinion in those states is greatly curtailed. If parties wish to choose their candidates that way, that’s fine. Just don’t make it so gosh-darned hard for other candidates to get on the general election ballot and participate in public debates that it becomes almost impossible for someone other than one of those two candidates to win.

The two current parties in our two-party system each represents an ever shrinking portion of the population. Third party and independent candidates and voters get short-shrift from the system on purpose – the two parties don’t want to share power, and neither seems to want to do the right thing by representing the greater good for all instead of the easier path of serving the interests of the powerful few over those of the many. There are some who do that to various degrees of success. Bernie Sanders is an aberration, having never served in elective office after running as a party nominee. Others have chosen to use his campaign finance model, but none has garnered enough support to win the big prize yet.

If we want to establish a government that is truly democratic, we need to do more to level the field and make the contest more one of ideas and less one of money. The media needs to be made to act as more of an impartial third party conveying valuable information so that the general public can make informed decisions, not as a capitalistic money-making venture only interested in maximizing their own monetary profits. Having a process that leaves us with Trump, Cruz and Kasich on one side and Clinton opposed only by someone who never even officially belonged to the party before in Sanders – with the only outside contenders being people with single-digit name recognition – does not bode well for selecting a new President even capable of representing the majority of their own party, let alone of the nation as a whole.

For the record, my state (PA) primary is this coming Tuesday. When I voted in Vermont primaries, I’d show up, be asked which party ballot I wanted and vote. I could only vote in one. Here, to vote at all, I had to change my registration from independent to either Democrat or Republican. Only a very small percentage of people ever bother to do that. This primary will undoubtedly do a fairly good job of selecting candidates who went to the trouble of appearing on the ballot and preferred by declared members of the parties involved. It will not do a very good job of selecting candidates preferred by the people of Pennsylvania. Different states may do a better or worse job at that than mine, but what kind of mandate can a President have with the votes of a small minority of eligible voters, many of whom are voting only to avert what they see as a disaster if the other person wins?

Open up primaries, open up debates, open up ballots, reduce voter suppression and obstacles to voting. Get candidates who are more representative of the people whose votes they seek and less representative of those interested in maintaining an unfair and unjust status quo. End least of 20 evils voting and elect people to office who will do the jobs to which they are elected.

DONATE TO CENTRAL NEW YORK CITIZENS IN ACTION
Please support the work of Central New York Citizens in Action!

Your support today is an important investment in the progressive advocacy, education, research, organizing, and consumer protection work that we do to lift up the engine of our economy -hardworking Central New Yorkers and the families.

Please send your check to:

Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., P.O. Box 411, Utica, NY 13503-0411.  Because we are an advocacy group, donations are not tax deductible.

Thank you for your support.

 

NEWSLETTER ARTICLES ARE NEEDED

Please submit your articles, news items, and calendar listings to cnycitizenaction@gmail.com.

 

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION is published by Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., P.O. Box 411, Utica, NY  13503-0411  Our Office is located at   500 Plant Street in Utica, NY at Cornerstone Community Church./315-725-0974315-725-0974 cnycitizenaction@gmail.com https://cnycitizenaction.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Central-New-York-Citizens-in-Action/265689434204

https://www.facebook.com/Central-New-York-Progressive-Action-659297800873928/?fref=ts

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION NEWSLETTER – ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

April 30, 2016

may day

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION NEWSLETTER
APRIL 29, 2016

NEWSLETTER OF THE CENTRAL NEW YORK CITIZENS IN ACTION, INC. (ESTABLISHED IN 1997)

You can view newsletter on:
https://cnycitizenaction.wordpress.com

HEADLINES

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
THE POLITICAL REVOLUTION BEGINS WITH THIS CAMPAIGN

JOIN US FOR UTICA MAY DAY 2016 ON SUNDAY MAY 1

BERNIE WON ONEIDA AND HERKIMER COUNTIES!!

NYS BUDGET UPDATE

SEEKING VOLUNTEERS AND INTERNS FOR THE CENTRAL NEW YORK CITIZENS IN ACTION, INC.

PEOPLE FOR ANIMAL RIGHTS
FUNDRAISER SAT. MAY 14

bernie not me us

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
THE POLITICAL REVOLUTION BEGINS WITH THIS CAMPAIGN

Bernie Sanders always says it is not about him, but about all of us. Whether or not he is elected President, political and economic power can only be taken from the millionaires and billionaires if HUGE numbers of us are organized and stay active. Winning political power for the 99% will require electing thousands and thousands of younger Bernies and Bernices to office on every level.

 

JOIN US FOR UTICA MAY DAY 2016 ON SUNDAY MAY 1

Learn how you get active in the movement for progressive social change by attending the May Day Celebration this Sunday

May Day Celebration. Day of labor solidarity and social justice. Music, films, speakers, potluck lunch, dancing, networking, yoga, exhibits. Sunday, May 1. 1-5 p.m. DeSales Center, 309 Genesee Street, Utica, NY 13501, Utica. Free and Open to the Public. Sponsored by Working Families Party, Central NY Citizens in Action, Mohawk Valley Freedom School, IWW.

Information:
https://cnycitizenaction.wordpress.com,
cnycitizenaction@gmail.com,
facebook.com/cnyprog

GREAT MUSIC AT MAY DAY FESTIVAL!

We are having a great musical line up for our May Day Celebration this Sunday. Get ready to dance and party!! Performing as the “Mayday Messengers” for the May Day Celebration are: former members of the “Copper Vein Clones,” Ryan Connarton and Rocco Branck, and former member of “Jomama and the Funkdaddys,” Dan Webster. “Mayday Messengers” play all original music blending funk and afro – beat. We are also having Darryl Rahn perform, He is a Utica native and solo Americana act. He has shared the stage with national acts such as guster, wild child, honeysuckle, and many more. You can find his music at Facebook.com/darrylrahnmusic
Or http://www.darrylrahn.com

BERNIE WON ONEIDA AND HERKIMER COUNTIES!!

Central New York progressives have much to celebrate during the last month. Due to the hard work of grassroots activists, Bernie won most of upstate New York for Bernie, more than 45 of the state’s 62 counties, including Oneida and Herkimer Counties. Although we did not win the entire state, the results show that Bernie’s message that the nation must address economic inequality powerfully resonates with Upstate NY residents. The Central New York Citizens in Action and its partner the Working Families Party will be launching soon a leadership academy to train future progressive political leaders. We are confident that the energy of the Bernie campaign will be harnessed into a local force for positive social change.

 

NYS BUDGET UPDATE

Many local activists demonstrated in Albany for the Fight for 15, Paid Family Leave, and Education funding. Here is what we were able to accomplish:

Fight for $15. After the tireless fight led by low wage workers, New York City’s minimum wage will be raised to $15 over the next three years. This is a major victory for those workers who changed this campaign from a fantasy to the new standard. For Long Island and Westchester, the minimum wage will go to $15 in six years. Unfortunately, our state’s leaders denied this economic boost to upstate communities. For the rest of the state, the minimum wage will be raised to $12.50 in five years with additional increases on a yet-to-be-determined timeline. Make no mistake: we will not stop fighting until we eliminate poverty wages from every corner of this state. There is no such thing as a half victory.

Paid Family Leave. Soon, working people in New York will no longer have to choose between their paychecks and taking care of their families. Included in the budget is the strongest paid family leave program in the country. Once fully implemented, workers will be able to take up to 12 weeks of job-protected paid leave at two-thirds of their average wage. We beat back the business lobby’s attempts to weaken the program, like limiting the benefit level, exempting businesses with only a few employees, and making the leave period too short. This is a significant step toward protecting families’ economic security and making our communities stronger.

Education. Parents across the state pushed hard for New York to finally make good on its promise to fully fund our public schools so that all students have a path to success. Because of that work, the budget includes $175 million in new funding for community schools, giving more children a better chance at escaping poverty. However, despite our efforts, the budget failed to address educational inequality, and provides only $627 million of the $4.4 billion our schools are owed in foundation aid. It has been ten years since the courts required the state to adequately fund schools in low income communities and communities of color – our children have been waiting far too long.

SEEKING VOLUNTEERS AND INTERNS FOR THE

CENTRAL NEW YORK CITIZENS IN ACTION, INC.

Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc.is an independent progressive social justice organization. Since 1997, Citizen Action has helped to win victories on increasing the minimum wage and ensuring affordable health care. The involvement of our members has been key to our success. That’s why we need your help. If you’d like to get involved, please call us at 315-725-0974 or email cnycitizenaction@gmail.com. You will receive a follow-up call from us who can discuss with you specific ways you can help out that best fit your time and interests. Volunteers are needed to research and write articles, promote the organization in the media, maintain the new website conduct surveys, and serve on the board and committees. Thanks again for your support of Citizen Action!

PEOPLE FOR ANIMAL RIGHTS FUNDRAISER SAT. MAY 14

When: Sat. May 14 from 2 to 5
Where: May Memorial Unitarian-Universalist Society, 3800 E. Genesee St., Syracuse
What: Live music, homemade and store-bought vegan goodies (some gluten-free), dancing, educational material, original animal notecards.

Musicians:

Richard Weiskopf, pianist, will play both classical and pop on May 14.

Eileen Rose sings and plays the Appalachian dulcimer. She is a songwriter also and will bring along many animal songs.

Kristin (Gitler) and David (Goldman) play traditional American, Celtic and French Canadian music on the Appalachian
dulcimer and acoustic guitar.

Cost: $8 per person and $13 per family if you pay ahead. If you pay at the door, $10 per person and $15 per family. (Cash or check only as we are not set up to take credit cards at the door.) If you aren’t already a member of PAR, your donation can be considered your first year of dues as a new member, if you wish. If you choose to pay ahead, send a check to People for Animal Rights, P.O. Box 15358, Syracuse 13215-0358 or pay by credit card at peopleforanimalrightsofcny.org

Questions? (315)488-PURR (315)488-PURR (7877) 8 a.m. – 10 p.m. or LDESTEFANO3@twcny.rr.com

 

DONATE TO CENTRAL NEW YORK CITIZENS IN ACTION

Please support the work of Central New York Citizens in Action!

Your support today is an important investment in the progressive advocacy, education, research, organizing, and consumer protection work that we do to lift up the engine of our economy -hardworking Central New Yorkers and the families.
Please send your check to:
Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., P.O. Box 411, Utica, NY 13503-0411. Because we are an advocacy group, donations are not tax deductible.
Thank you for your support.

 

NEWSLETTER ARTICLES ARE NEEDED
Please submit your articles, news items, and calendar listings to cnycitizenaction@gmail.com.

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION is published by Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., P.O. Box 411, Utica, NY 13503-0411 Our Office is located at 500 Plant Street in Utica, NY at Cornerstone Community Church./315-725-0974315-725-0974 cnycitizenaction@gmail.com https://cnycitizenaction.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/Central-New-York-Progressive-Action-659297800873928/?fref=ts

May Day Celebration Planned for May 1 in Utica

April 26, 2016

interfaith worker justice

Community groups are sponsoring a May Day celebration between 1 – 5 p.m. on Sunday, May 1 at the DeSales Center, 309 Genesee Street, Utica. May Day, an international workers’ day observed with speeches, rallies and demonstrations throughout the world, originated in the United States. The event will include music, films, speakers, potluck lunch, dancing, networking, and exhibits. There will be a screening of Naomi Klein’s film, “The Take,” which is about the worker occupation movement in Argentina in 2001.

The May Day celebration is free and open to the public. The DeSales Center is across the street from the Munson-Williams Proctor Institute in Downtown Utica. Parking is available next to the building.

The theme of this year’s May Day will be a celebration of victories for working people such as Fight for 15 movement and paid family leave in New York State. This will also be a celebration of various social movements currently on the rise for worker, immigrant and social and economic justice.

The Working Families Party, CNY Citizens in Action, Mohawk Valley Freedom School, and the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) are sponsoring the event.

John Furman, President of the Central New Citizens in Action, stated: “May Day is a day of celebration and struggle. We will recognize the foundations of May Day, review the current focus of the movement for positive social change, and envision what a progressive future would look like in Utica. We will be looking toward building a coalition among labor, community, civil rights, immigrant, environmental, social justice, faith-based, and LGBT groups to fight for a fair and equitable society.

Brendan M Dunn of the Mohawk Valley Freedom School, said: “May Day is an important holiday not only because its roots are in the US, but because it shows that workers have the capacity to make change on a large scale. History teaches us that the only way we can make the world a better place is when workers and the common people stand up and collectively organize for a brighter tomorrow.”

May Day was founded in the United States after the nationwide general strike for the eight-hour workday that started on May 1, 1886. May Day is celebrated the world over and has long been a day of protest in the US. In 2006, the largest strike in US history occurred when undocumented immigrants, workers, and many others went on strike for immigration reform. A May Day celebration was held in Utica in 2012.

We are also seeking progressive bands, musicians, dancers, rappers, drum circles, and poets to perform at the event.

For more information, please call 315-725-0974, email cnycitizenaction@mail.com/ or visit https://cnycitizenaction.wordpress.com or facebook.com/cnyprog.

Central NY Residents Call on State Legislators to Pass $15 Statewide Say Central New York can’t survive on poverty wages

March 25, 2016

 

Utica news conference

 

Utica residents said a minimum wage deal being negotiated in Albany that would have a slower phase-in to $15 for Upstate, or lower minimum wage upstate than downstate, is unacceptable. They called on State Senator Joe Griffo and Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi to stand with upstate workers and pass a $15 minimum wage statewide.

“A $15 an hour minimum wage would boost the economy and put people on a path out of poverty,” said John Furman, President of the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. “Our state legislators need to make sure Upstate New York – the people they represent here in Utica – don’t get left out of this historic legislation.”

Central New York Labor Council, Citizen Action of New York, Utica Activist Coalition, Cornhill Community for Change, Mohawk Valley Freedom School, IWW, Love and Rage, Democratic Action Network, Herkimer-Oneida Green Party, and the Working Families Party joined together at a news conference today to send the message to the New York State Legislature that Upstate New York must not get left behind with a wage that’s under $15 or takes far too long to phase in.

At the news conference, the Central New York Citizens in Action released a study that concludes that “phasing in the minimum wage increase over 6 years to 2021 for the upstate areas as opposed to 3 years for downstate provides ample time for upstate businesses whose wage levels generally are 5% to 10% lower than downstate to adjust to the higher wage floor.” The study also states that “…upstate employers would not have a harder time adapting to a higher minimum wage than downstate employers.”

According to a study by the National Employment Law Project, a single adult in the Utica/Rome area will need an hourly wage of $17.32 to meet basic needs like food, housing and transportation by 2021, when a $15 minimum wage would be fully phased-in. In all regions of New York, from Long Island to Buffalo, workers will need at least $15 per hour by 2021 to meet the basics.

graph

“Poverty wage jobs are dragging the upstate economy down,” said Mr. Furman. “We can create thriving communities – but not on poverty wages. When workers here have more to spend, they’ll spend it at local shops and small businesses. That’s how the economy really works.”

About 1.7 million workers in Upstate NY would receive a raise under the Governor’s proposal. The phased-in $15 minimum wage increase will directly affect nearly 55,000 Mohawk Valley residents, and spur the reinvestment of $350.9 million into the region’s economy. Already in Utica, a single adult working full-time needs to earn a $14.86 wage to support their basic needs. By 2021, single adults will need a $17.32 wage, with couples and parents needing to earn even more. The typical worker would receive about $4,800 per year raise.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, the average worker who would benefit from increasing the minimum wages is a woman over 25 who works full-time, has some college education, and provides more than half of her household’s income. Only 5.3 percent of impacted workers would be teens; more than 75 percent are 25 or older.

Recent experience with minimum wage hikes do not reveal a negative impact on small businesses. Evidence shows that it actually gives advantages to small businesses, when they compete with big businesses to attract most talented employees. Large businesses, rather than small neighborhood ones, employ most New Yorkers making less than $15. In Upstate NY, the majority of small businesses are service related enterprises like restaurants that serve local customers and since they are on the same playing field, they can slowly adjust their prices to compensate for increased labor costs without suffering a competitive disadvantage.

Phasing in $15 an hour minimum wage would be a boost to the Upstate New York economy. Considerable economically sound research supports the conclusion that businesses can accommodate such an increase. A higher wage floor would generate significant cost savings due to reduced turnover and there is room for modest price increases to ease the adjustment without jeopardizing overall employment levels or profitability. Moreover, a $15 wage floor would boost consumer spending for over three million New York workers. It will aid struggling families, benefit one-third of the state’s children, reduce poverty, and will have positive overall economic consequences throughout New York State.

An increase in the minimum wage would reduce companies’ ability to shift costs to government programs, and would result in considerable savings at all levels of government in spending on various forms of public assistance as well as generate increased individual income and sales taxes paid by workers.

 

FF15_-15_now

March 24, 2016

cia lobby day fight for 15 albanyCENTRAL NEW YORK PROGRESSIVE – SPECIAL ISSUE

In this issue, we focus on the struggle to win a fair wage for New York. In the first article, we let our readers know of the importance of attending a news conference to show support for Governor Cuomo’s proposal to raise the wage. Readers are advised to contact their state legislators as soon as possible to ask them to support working people. The second article debunks myths about increasing the minimum wage.

News Conference to Support Minimum Wage Increase Friday at 10 a.m.

Local groups including the Central New York Labor Council and Central NY Citizens in Action will be holding an important news conference this Friday morning to support the $15 minimum wage proposal. Please do your best to attend. The news conference, which will start at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, March 25, will be held at the offices of the Central New York Labor Council, 287 Genesee St., Utica, NY 13501. Please arrive at 9:45 a.m. Please let us know if we can list your group as a co-sponsor.
Some legislative leaders are talking about weakening a $15 minimum wage proposal that would make sure 3 million people across New York can afford to pay for the basics like food, housing and transportation.
There’s still time for the State Senate and Assembly to back a strong minimum wage that gets the whole state to $15, and gets there quickly. But time is running out. business lobbyists are working overtime to influence the legislature and weaken the wage increase. They’re using the same scare tactics that we see used every time a minimum wage increase is debated.
Please call your state legislator and ask them to pass the $15 minimum wage proposal.

Thank you for your support.

 

fight for 15

Community Coalition Calls on NYS Legislature to pass the $15 minimum wage by April 1.

Groups Release Report Showing Positive Impact on Upstate NY Economy

A coalition of community, labor, and public interest groups, along with concerned Central New Yorkers and local workers, will be releasing a report at a news conference showing the positive impact of passing Governor Cuomo’s proposal for a $15 statewide minimum wage will have on Central New York families and the local economies. Leaders will ask Senator Griffo and local legislators to support Governor Cuomo’s proposal to gradually phase in the $15 minimum wage by the end of 2018 in New York City and by mid-2021 in the rest of the state.

The news conference, which will start at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, March 25, will be held at the offices of the Central New York Labor Council, 287 Genesee St., Utica, NY 13501.
WHO: Event sponsored by the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., Central New York Labor Council, Utica Activist Coalition, Mohawk Valley Freedom School, IWW, Love and Rage, Citizen Action of New York, Working Families Party, and other local, state, and national groups

WHAT: Groups will ask the State Senate and Assembly to back the Governor Cuomo’s proposal for a phased-in increase in the minimum wage. They will also release a report detailing its positive impact of the on Central New York jobs, farms, businesses, and economy.

WHERE: Central New York Labor Council, 287 Genesee St., Utica, NY 13501 (Corner of Genesee Street and Dakin Street, Downtown Utica, near Utica Public Library); parking in the rear of the building off Dakin Street, please use rear entrance

WHEN: 10:00 a.m. Friday, March 25
Please bring signs and banners.

bus photo

Tell your legislator: We need $15 NOW!

Last Tuesday, local residents joined thousands of working New Yorkers from across the state up in Albany to send a clear message to the Senate Republicans: we need $15 now and nothing less! [1]

Tell our legislators to pass a livable minimum wage in this year’s budget – the deadline is March 31!

The Fight for $15 is simple: No individual – and definitely no parent raising a child – can live on $9 an hour, New York’s minimum wage today. And no one who works hard every day should have to struggle to make ends meet. But that’s exactly what over 3 million people in New York who earn less than $15 an hour are forced to do. It isn’t right and it has to stop.

This year, we have a historic opportunity to take our economy back from poverty wage jobs – and the billionaire CEOs who have kept those wages low for decades – by passing a statewide $15 minimum wage.

$15 doesn’t just mean a better quality of life for hard-working people, it means we can build thriving communities. That’s because $15 will put more money in the pockets of the very people our economy depends on: Workers who’ll spend their wage increase at businesses right here in our community.

Last year, the State Legislature failed to pass a $15 minimum wage. But we can’t let another year go by without a wage that boosts working families and our economy.

We can build communities based on decent-paying jobs.
We have a historic opportunity this year, and we won’t let anyone stand in our way: Fight for $15!

Assemblyman Bill Magee, D-Nelson, 214 Farrier Ave., Oneida, N.Y. 13421; phone: 361-4125; fax: 361-4222; email: mageew@assembly.state.ny.us

· Assemblyman Marc Butler, R-Newport, 235 N. Prospect St., Suite 101, Herkimer, N.Y. 13350; phone: 866-1632; fax: 866-5058; email: butlerm@assembly.state.ny.us

· Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, R-New Hartford, 5176 St. Route 233, PO Box 597, Westmoreland, NY 13490; phone: 853-2383; fax: 853-2386; email: tenneyc@assembly.state.ny.us

· Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, D-Utica, Room 401, State Office Building, 207 Genesee St., Utica, N.Y. 13501; phone: 732-1055; fax: 732-1413; email: brindia@assembly.state.ny.us

· Sen. Joseph Griffo, R-Rome, State Office Building, 207 Genesee St., Utica, N.Y. 13501; phone: 793-9072; fax: 793-0298; email: griffo@senate.state.ny.us

· Sen. David J. Valesky, D-Oneida, 805 State Office Building, 333 East Washington St., Syracuse, N.Y. 13202; phone: 478-8745; fax: 474-3804; email: valesky@senate.state.ny.us

· Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, 235 N. Prospect St., Herkimer, N.Y. 13350; phone: 866-1632; fax: 866-5058; email: seward@senate.state.ny.us

minimum-wage-new-york photo

Myth vs. Fact on a $15 Minimum Wage
for New York

Myth: There would be few benefits to a $15 minimum wage.

Fact: The benefits of gradually phasing in a $15 minimum wage for New York’s workers would be far-reaching, according to analysis by the Economic Policy Institute.

3.1 million workers – about 36% of all workers in the state – would receive raises. 1.4 million would be in New York City, and 1.7 million elsewhere in the state.

The typical worker would receive roughly a $4,800 per year raise – going a long way towards rebalancing wages in the state.

 

Myth: The workers earning low-wages are mostly teens in entry-level jobs who don’t need to earn a living wage.

Fact: The typical worker earning less than $15 in New York is a woman over 25 with some college-level coursework who works full-time and provides on average half of her household’s income, according to analysis by the Economic Policy Institute.

Just 5.3 percent of affected workers are teenagers. More than three-quarters are 25 or older.

52.7 percent are women.

Statewide, roughly half are persons of color. Within New York City, more than three-quarters are persons of color, and statewide, workers of color would benefit disproportionately from the increase. More than half of all Latino workers would receive a raise, and 40% of African American workers.

The workers who would benefit earn, on average, half of their family’s total income. More than a quarter (27 percent) of affected workers are the sole providers of their family’s income.

Of workers who would receive a raise, two-thirds work full time.

52.1 percent have some college experience. 19.8% have bachelor’s degrees and 9.4 have associate’s degrees.

32.9 percent have children.

 

Myth: Employers cannot adjust to a gradually phased in $15 minimum wage.

Fact: While business lobbyists like the New York State Business Council argue that New York employers cannot adjust to a $15 minimum wage by 2021, growing numbers of employers say that it will be manageable.

A growing list of businesses voices are supporting Governor Cuomo’s $15 minimum wage proposal. These supporters include trade associations like the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce and the Long Island African-American Chamber of Commerce, as well as individual employers like Amalgamated Bank and Ben and Jerry’s.

Moreover, the president and CEO of the Retail Council of New York State — the trade association representing New York State’s single largest low-wage industry in which 550,000 of the state’s 3.1 million workers earning less than $15 work – has joined the Governor’s $15 minimum wage campaign as a campaign vice-chair (although the Retail Council has not yet endorsed a specific proposal). The fact that this major trade group is not opposing Governor Cuomo’s proposal and its leader is serving as vice-chair of the campaign highlights the significant business support the proposal enjoys.

A diverse range of business leaders confirm that transitioning to a $15 minimum wage is entirely feasible. “’Everybody in retail is dealing with an increase in minimum wage,’ said Popeyes CEO Cheryl Bachelder to CNN Money. ‘We will adjust to increased costs just like we have before. Life will go on. There’s been too much hubbub about it.’”

Marcus Samuelsson, owner of Harlem’s Red Rooster restaurant, put it this way to Crain’s last month, “You have to adjust. I have 160 employees—we adjusted to the health care law, and we will have to adjust to [a $15 minimum wage]. As a small-business owner, I know that change is something that comes constantly.”

As Rochester-based restaurant owner Dennis Kessler who teaches at the University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business told the Washington Post last year, “This $15 thing is being phased in over quite a few years, so I don’t think it’s going to have much of an impact. . . . People are going to have to pay a little more. It really isn’t too much more complicated than that.”

 

Myth: $15 is an excessive minimum wage for New York, especially upstate where living costs are lower.

Fact: Cost of living data shows that even in the least expensive regions of upstate New York, a single worker will need $15 or more by 2021 just to cover the basics – and workers downstate and workers supporting children will need even more.

For example, in Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse – which are among the least expensive places to live in New York State – a single worker will by 2021 need $32,689 in Buffalo, $33,535 in Rochester, and $33,791 in Syracuse just to cover basic living costs at a modest level. These living costs mean that a single, full-time worker will need to earn at least $15.72 per hour in Buffalo, $16.12 in Rochester and $16.25 in Syracuse by 2021 just to cover the basics.

 

Myth: Economists believe that a $15 minimum wage is too high for New York.

Fact: In reality, more than 200 economists have endorsed a $15 federal minimum wage by 2020, finding that raising the minimum to $15 an hour “will be an effective means of improving living standards for low-wage workers and their families and will help stabilize the economy. The costs to other groups in society will be modest and readily absorbed.”

As Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman explained in a recent address at the City University of New York that “there’s absolutely no reason to think that a fifteen dollar minimum wage will be a problem for New York.”

Two careful studies – one by researchers at the University of Massachusetts9 and a second by researchers at the Purdue School of Hospitality and Tourism Management10 – both show that fast food restaurants will be able to accommodate a $15 minimum wage through significant savings from reduced staff turnover and small price increases not much greater than recent experience.

Other New York economists such as Tom Michl of Colgate University and Christopher Gunn of Hobart and William Smith Colleges have similarly endorsed a $15 minimum wage as manageable and good for the state’s economy.

 

Myth: Research shows that increasing the minimum wage will lead to significant job losses, and so will hurt rather than help New York’s workforce.

Fact: The bulk of rigorous minimum wage studies show that raising the minimum wage boosts incomes for low-wage workers with only very small adverse impacts on employment.

As Bloomberg News summarized it, “[a] wave of new economic research is disproving those arguments about job losses and youth employment. Previous studies tended not to control for regional economic trends that were already affecting employment levels, such as a manufacturing-dependent state that was shedding jobs. The new research looks at micro-level employment patterns for a more accurate employment picture. The studies find minimum-wage increases even provide an economic boost, albeit a small one, as strapped workers immediately spend their raises.”

This is best illustrated by “meta-studies” that survey and aggregate the findings of scores of minimum wage studies. The two leading meta-studies—by economists Hristos Doucouliagos and T.D. Stanley (2009) and Dale Belman and Paul Wolfson (2014)14 — show that the vast majority of recent studies find minimum wage increases have little to no effect on employment levels or job growth.

Analyses by opponents such as the Empire Center and American Action Forum projecting significant job losses from a $15 minimum wage are not reliable because they use outdated research methods that produce inaccurate results.

The studies they rely on claim that small minimum wage increases, like the ones NY approved in 2006 and 2013, have killed lots of jobs. But the overwhelming majority of credible studies have concluded that any adverse impacts have been very, very small.

As Crain’s New York Business has reported, “The most credible recent research shows very little loss of jobs. Nor does it show worrisome price hikes.”

 

Myth: Even if more moderate minimum wage increases do not lead to significant job losses, a $15 minimum wage would be too much and would hurt workers and the state economy.

Fact: Some of the most respected economists in the country disagree.

State-of-the-art modeling of the impact of a $15 minimum wage conducted by University of California economists under contract with the City of Los Angeles found that, if phased in gradually over five years, a $15 wage would be manageable for employers and would raise business operating costs just 0.9 percent by 2019.

The University of California analysis found that a phased-in $15 minimum wage would increase business operating costs and prices — but that that negative impact on business would be offset by increased spending by workers receiving higher wages. Any net negative impact on jobs would be very small.

For workers, the analysis found that the benefits would be far reaching, raising pay for approximately 41 percent of the city’s workforce and delivering an average raise of nearly $5,000 per worker per year (in 2014 dollars).

 

Myth: In places like Seattle, which have passed $15 minimum wage increases, businesses have started to close.

Fact: The experiences of the first jurisdictions phasing their minimum wages up to $15 have been positive. In Seattle, the first major city to adopt a $15 wage, the region’s unemployment rate hit an eight-year low of 3.6 % in August 2015, significantly lower that the state unemployment rate of 5.3 percent, following the initial wage increase in April. In a front-page story titled “Apocalypse Not: $15 and the Cuts that Never Came,” the Puget Sound Business Journal reported on “The minimum wage meltdown that never happened,” explaining that Seattle’s restaurant industry has continued to expand and thrive as the $15 wage phases in.20 King County, where Seattle is located, is on track to break last year’s record for the number of business permits issued to food service establishments. And business owners who had publicly opposed the $15 minimum wage are in the process of expanding operations.

 

Myth: A $15 minimum wage for New York would far higher than past minimum wages in New York or other U.S. states by any standard of comparison.

Fact: In reality, a $15 minimum wage is not that high for New York, given the state’s high cost of living, higher-than-national wages, and decades of productivity growth.

For example, if New York’s 1970 minimum wage is updated to reflect both national price changes and the higher-than-national cost of living growth in New York, it would translate to $15.01 by 2018.21

Or updating New York’s 1970 minimum wage to reflect average worker productivity growth since then, it would translate to $21.40 today. Raising the minimum wage to $15 would ensure that workers share more of the benefits of that growth.

Using another benchmark that is sometimes used to compare minimum wages – the minimum wage as a percentage of the median wage for a full-time worker, known as the “Kaitz Index” – a $15 wage in 2021 would translate to 58% of New York’s median wage. That’s just slightly higher than the U.S. minimum wage was in 1968, when it was 55% of the median wage – a period when the nation enjoyed low unemployment and strong growth.

In fact, more than half a dozen U.S. states have had minimum wages at higher levels, as compared to their median wages: 62% in Florida and Vermont; 63% in Maine and South Dakota; 66% in Mississippi and 67% in Arkansas. There is no evidence that these minimum wage levels were excessive or cost significant numbers of jobs.

Note that economists use full time, full year worker median wages as the benchmark for comparing minimum wage levels historically among the U.S. states and internationally. Opponents of Governor Cuomo’s $15 wage proposal like the Empire Center have instead been using non-full-time median wage statistics, which are not those commonly used by economists, and which do not allow for historic comparisons with minimum wage levels in the U.S. in the past.

 

Myth: A $15 minimum wage would give New York a higher minimum wage than other comparable developed countries.

Fact: Other developed countries like Germany, France and New Zealand already have minimum wages comparable to or higher than the proposed $15 New York minimum wage, and the U.K. is now phasing its minimum wage up to an even higher level.

A $15 minimum wage for New York, translating to 58% of the median full time wage, would be comparable to the minimum wages today in other OECD countries like France (61%), New Zealand (60%) and Germany (58%).

Moreover, the U.K. is in the process of phasing its minimum wage up to the 65% level by 2020 under the Conservative Government’s new National Living Wage (which applies to workers ages 25 and older).

Comparing international minimum wages using current exchange rates, Australia’s minimum wage will be at least $15 U.S. by 2017 – and the country hasn’t had a recession in twenty years.

 

Myth: A $15 minimum wage would be unsustainable for New York’s small businesses.

Fact: New York’s and other localities’ past experience with minimum wage increases do not show a disadvantage to small businesses, and in fact, the increases level the playing field for small businesses, who have to compete with large businesses for the most talented employees.

In reality it is large companies, not mom-and-pop businesses, which employ most workers in New York earning less than $15.

Most small businesses are service industry firms like dry cleaners, bodegas and diners that serve local customers. When the minimum wage goes up, they and their competitors are all on the same playing field and can gradually adjust their prices to cover the cost without being put at a disadvantage.

New York’s experiences with past minimum wage increases, and the recent experiences in cities like San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle with significant minimum wage increases, bear this out. There is no evidence that transitioning to higher wages have hurt small businesses or changed the mix of large and small businesses.

That’s why growing numbers of individual small business owners and trade groups representing small businesses like the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce and the Long Island African American Chamber of Commerce are endorsing the $15 minimum wage.

 

Myth: A $15 minimum wage will cost the state and taxpayers a lot.

Fact: In reality it is low wages that are generating significant public costs for the New York taxpayers.

The state’s current low minimum wage means that hundreds of thousands of the 3.2 million New Yorkers whose employers pay them less than $15 per hour must rely on state safety net programs to get by. The resulting cost to taxpayers is $9.1 billion per year – with state and local government in New York paying $2.9 billion of that cost, according to a University of California analysis.

As a result, raising the minimum wage will save the state budget significant amounts in safety net expenditures. The largest savings come from the Medicaid program, where raising the minimum wage shifts many workers from 50% state-funded regular Medicaid health insurance onto Affordable Care Act (ACA) expansion Medicaid and the ACA exchanges, which are largely federally funded. In California, it is projected that a $13 minimum wage would save the state budget over $2 billion.

A recent Urban Institute report analyzed several policy options for reducing poverty in New York City and estimated the net fiscal savings (resulting from decreased need for public assistance and increased income and payroll tax payments) to all levels of government from an increase in the minimum wage to $15. The authors concluded that the dollar amount of the net fiscal savings was equal to 43 percent of the rise in workers’ aggregate earnings as a result of the minimum wage increase.

Such savings should, as discussed below, be used to help state-contracted human services programs cover the cost of transitioning to higher wages.

 

Myth: Human services agencies operating under grants from state government will have to lay workers off because they cannot afford to pay $15 per hour.

Fact: It is true that the state’s human services programs – many of which are operated by non-profit organizations with contract or Medicaid funding from state government to provide early childhood education, and to care for vulnerable children, the elderly, and the developmentally disabled – will need additional funding from the state to transition to a $15 minimum wage.

Unlike for-profit businesses, the non-profit organizations operating these programs cannot raise prices to help cover the cost of raising wages since they don’t charge for these essential public services. While these services are funded by government, for many years state support has not kept up with rising costs.

Women make up 82 percent of this workforce, which generally is highly educated and half persons of color. More than half are paid less than $15 an hour in jobs long under-valued despite the fact that many of these services allow clients to function better on their own, saving taxpayers millions of dollars each year.

The state will need to increase funding for contracts to non-profits or raise Medicaid reimbursement rates to help non-profit providers transition their wages up to $15.

Fortunately, the $15 minimum wage will generate significant budgetary savings, which the legislature should use, together with new appropriated funds, to finance this important investment. Such an investment will also improve the quality of human services provided in the state, as higher wages reduce the high employee turnover, which currently plagues these programs.

 

Myth: Raising the minimum wage to $15 will not help workers, since they will lose significant amounts of government benefits leaving them little better off than they were before.

Fact: The major safety net benefits that most of New York’s low-wage workers receive incorporate gradual phase-outs. This means that workers are always net significantly better off for each additional dollar that they earn.

Source: Fiscal Policy Institute

Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc.
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 411; Utica, NY 13503-0411
Office: 500 Plant St.; Utica, NY 13502-4710
315-725-0974
cnycitizenaction@gmail.com
https://cnycitizenaction.wordpress.com

Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. was developed from the Utica Citizens in Action, a multi-issue public interest association affiliated with Citizen Action of New York. It was founded in 1997 to address critical social, economic and environmental issues facing residents of Oneida, Herkimer, and Madison Counties. Members of our group worked to empower low and moderate income Central New York residents to participate in shaping the policies that affect their lives, such as economic justice, environment, housing, education, economic development, health care, public benefit programs, and consumer issues. Our projects include research and policy development, public education on a wide range of public policy issues, development of educational materials, community outreach and grassroots organizing, coalition development, training, and lobbying. Please join our email list by sending an email to cnycitizenaction@gmail.com with the subject heading – Join List. We also invite you to become a member of our group and attend our meetings.

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION NEWSLETTER – MARCH 10, 2016

March 11, 2016

march 15

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION

NEWSLETTER OF THE CENTRAL NEW YORK CITIZENS IN ACTION, INC. (ESTABLISHED IN 1997)

You can view newsletter on:
https://cnycitizenaction.wordpress.com

HEADLINES

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR BERNIE AT THE UTICA ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE SATURDAY!!

CNYCIA LOBBIES IN ALBANY

BUS LEAVING UTICA FOR ALBANY
FIGHT FOR 15 RALLY ON MARH 15

CNYCIA SUPPORTS PROGRESSIVE NYS
LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

SEEKING VOLUNTEERS AND INTERNS FOR THE CENTRAL

NEW YORK CITIZENS IN ACTION, INC.

bernie march

 

SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR BERNIE AT THE UTICA ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE SATURDAY!!

Bernie Sanders Supporters will be marching this Saturday in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Utica!! The Central NY Citizens in Action along with the Herkimer Oneida Counties for Bernie group need your help to make our show of support for Bernie a success. We have a real shot at winning NY but we need your support to get the word out that Bernie offers the best progressive alternative. Here is the information you need to know:

1. The parade officially starts at 10 a.m. and will end about 12 noon. Bernie supporters need to line up on Genesee St. about 9:30 a.m. or earlier. We do not have an exact location but it should be between Burrstone Road and Clinton Place. All side streets in the parade and lineup area will be closed off. You should park outside of the area on the side streets. The streets between Sunset Avenue and Oneida Street will be closed to traffic to permit emergency vehicle access.

2. We are RED 30 in the parade line up. The parade will have a check-in desk at Newell and Genesee St. They will offer you directions there. Similarly, the parade will have volunteers along the line-up area to help situate everyone in the color sections. Each color section is headed by a Color Captain

3. Marchers should come early at about 9:30 a.m. because the parade will be starting at 10 a.m. Please look for our group and bring Bernie signs, buttons, and literature to hand out.

4. Trucks and cars for Bernie should report to Newell Street between 9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. so the vehicles can be lined up. The parade will have a check-in desk at Newell and Genesee St. which will offer directions. The parade will have the entrance to the lineup area on Newell St. this year. If you are traveling from the north, the UPD is asking you to use either Oneida St., or Sunset Ave and circle back to Newell St. If you are coming from the south, just take the Parkway to Genesee St.

5. Due to safety concerns we are asking that you do not bring candy or beads to give out to the crowd. Alcohol is also prohibited. Please look at the forecast, and dress accordingly. And last but not least have fun!

cia lobby day

CNYCIA LOBBIES IN ALBANY

Central New York Citizens in Action members participated in the Citizen Action of New York Lobby Day on March 8. We had meetings with New York State legislators to urge them to pass legislation for a livable minimum wage, equitable school funding, paid family leave, and. campaign finance reform. Our members protested in front of the Senate Chamber to press the legislators to support raising the minimum wage of $15.00 for all workers in NYS. We also attended a news conference to urge the New York State Assembly to include $200 million to support a community schools program across the state.

fight for 15

JOIN CNYCIA ON MARCH 15 TO FIGHT
FOR 15 BUS LEAVING UTICA
FOR FIGHT FOR 15 RALLY

In conjunction with 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and other groups, the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. will be sponsoring a bus from Utica to Albany on Tuesday, March 15 to send a powerful message to lawmakers: ALL workers deserve good jobs with at least $15 an hour. Bus transportation is free and lunch will be provided. For more information, please contact John Furman at 315-725-0974 or cnycitizenaction@gmail.com.
On February 27, the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. was a part of a group of local union members and activists who welcomed the Drive for 15 Bus Tour to Utica to call on state lawmakers to pass the Governor’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15 this legislative session. The phased-in $15 minimum wage increase will directly affect nearly 55,000 Mohawk Valley residents, and spur the reinvestment of $350.9 million into the region’s economy.

Among those attending the rally were George Gresham, President of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, and the Chair of the Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice, NYS Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito, elected officials, CNYCIA members, and low-wage workers who would benefit from the raise.

Many of the workers who would benefit most are working in the occupations projected to grow the most by 2022, including the homecare, healthcare and childcare workers who serve our most vulnerable populations, yet often do not earn enough to support themselves and their families. Right now, 56 percent of homecare workers in the state are on some form of public assistance, and 30 percent rely on food stamps to make ends meet.
Already in Utica, a single adult working full-time needs to earn a $14.86 wage to support their basic needs. By 2021, single adults will need a $17.32 wage, with couples and parents needing to earn even more.

CNYCIA SUPPORTS PROGRESSIVE
NYS LEGISLATIVE AGENDA

In conjunction with Citizen Action of NY, the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. announced our 2016 NYS agenda to promote progressive values and economic justice:

QUALITY PUBLIC EDUCATION

Support an investment of $2.4 billion as a down payment toward ending educational inequity and ensuring that all kids have access to a quality public education. No child should be denied the opportunity to succeed in life based on his or her family’s income, wealth, race or the zip code where they live. New York has record numbers of children living in poverty and far too many New Yorkers face hunger and homelessness. It is crucial that we invest in students’ futures by supporting high quality full-day pre-K, community schools, and restorative justice practices that keep students safe and in school. It’s time our state leaders stand up for kids by making a significant investment in our public schools.
Support Community Schools Act, A6791 and S5447.
Oppose the Education Incentive Tax Credit.

$15 MINIMUM WAGE
Huge corporations pay workers as little as possible in order to maximize their skyrocketing profits, and it has made New York one of most unequal states in the country. 3.2 million people in New York make less than $15 an hour. They work hard, play by the rules, but are still living in poverty. That is why we support a $15 minimum wage for all workers in all regions of New York State. There should be no carve outs, and all regions, including upstate, Long Island and New York City, should get to $15 at the rate in Governor Cuomo’s 2016 Executive Budget proposal and in Assemblymember Titus’ bill (A07257) and Senator Panepinto’s bill (S5602B).

The Legislature must also include the $50-$65 million in the state budget necessary for state contracted social and human service providers to secure the minimum wage increase in their sector.

FAIR ELECTIONS

Elected officials should spend their time working to understand the needs and concerns of their constituents, not fundraising for their campaigns. That is why we support passage of a comprehensive campaign finance reform package that includes:

A public financing option in the form of a $6 to $1 small donor matching funds system for all State Assembly, State Senate and statewide races;
Create a fair and candidate-service oriented enforcement unit for all campaign finance laws;

Close the LLC loophole that allows corporations to skirt the $5,000 limit;
Reduce contribution limits to candidates and housekeeping accounts;

Support A9281 and S03502, the Fair Elections Act sponsored by Speaker Heastie and Leader Stewart-Cousins, which implement a $6 to $1 small donor matching funds system for state-level elections.

PAID FAMILY LEAVE

New Yorkers shouldn’t have to choose between their paycheck and caring for their loved ones. The Paid Family Leave Insurance Act will help keep New York’s families healthy and secure by providing weekly benefits to workers to care for a family member, replacing two-thirds of their wages for up to twelve weeks, with strong worker protections.
Support A3879 and S3004, the Paid Family Leave Insurance Act, sponsored by Assemblymember Nolan and Senator Addabbo.

ENVIRONMENT AND ENERGY

Protect Residents from Losses Due to “Bomb Trains”: Citizen Action supports legislation (A7625, Fahy; S5751, Avella), to require railroad companies to submit information on their ability to cover crude oil accidents and the owners or operators of bulk petroleum storage and vessels to demonstrate evidence of financial responsibility (including insurance coverage). Trains that transport crude oil through New York and facilities that store it in the state are a major danger to residents, as demonstrated by a 2013 Quebec “bomb train” explosion that killed 47.

Divest from Fossil Fuel Companies: Climate change is among the greatest threats to the survival of the planet. The burning of fossil fuels is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions from human activities in the U.S. Citizen Action therefore supports legislation (A8011A, Ortiz; S5873, Krueger) prohibiting the State Comptroller from investing state retirement funds in the 200 largest publicly traded fossil fuel companies, and requiring divestment from these companies. A massive worldwide divestment campaign played a significant role in ending the oppressive apartheid system in South Africa.

FAIR TAXES

Support closing the carried interest loophole in New York State. State legislatures should pass legislation to “repatriate” revenue lost through the federal loophole. We can tax the carried interest income of hedge funds and private equity partnerships headquartered in each state and bring the money home for investment in schools, housing, jobs and clean-energy infrastructure. New York’s private equity firms and hedge funds take in $15.6 billion per year in under-taxed carried interest, according to conservative estimates. A state bill to recapture fair share tax revenue would provide an estimated $3.7 billion for New York’s needs.
Support Assembly Speaker Heastie’s Millionaire’s Tax.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM & POLICE ACCOUNTABILITY MEASURES

As partners in the Raise the Age NY campaign, Citizen Action supports raising the age of criminal responsibility for children in New York to improve outcomes for children and promote public safety. We must have a comprehensive approach to raise the age of criminal responsibility so that the legal process responds to all children as children, and so that services and placement options better meet the rehabilitative needs of all children and youth. Support Governor Cuomo’s 2016 budget proposal to raise the age of criminal responsibility.

Restore voting rights for New Yorkers who have been released from prison and are on parole. About 41,000 New Yorkers have completed their prison sentence but are still denied the right to vote because they are on parole. About 80% of people on parole in New York are African American or Latino. Voting is a fundamental civic duty and should be an essential part of the re-entry process for someone returning to their community. Support S2023A and A7634 sponsored by Senator Hassell-Thompson and Assemblymember O’Donnell.

The Police STAT Act would require public reporting of key policing activities that are not currently reported on, including the number and demographics of people killed each year by police in New York State (including deaths in custody), and demographic and disposition info related to minor offenses that result in summons, citation or arrest. Support A7698 and S6001, The Police STAT Act, sponsored by Assemblymember Lentol and Senator Squadron.

QUALITY, AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE FOR ALL NEW YORKERS

Coverage for Immigrants: Many immigrants have not benefited from New York’s success in expanding health coverage. New York should provide $10.3 million in the state budget to cover with state-only dollars the roughly 5,500 New Yorkers who are ineligible under federal law for coverage under the new low-cost Essential Plan because of their immigration status.

Reaching Those Without Coverage: New York should build on its success on getting people covered by providing $2 million in new funding through the state budget for community and small business-serving groups to reach the remaining 5% of New Yorkers that remain without health insurance. Priority funding should be provided to organizations that can serve communities with high numbers of people without insurance, including limited English proficient and rural New Yorkers.

Consumer Assistance with Health Coverage: New York should provide $4 million in the budget to ensure a strong Community Health Advocates (CHA) program, which is just enough to avoid program cuts. Through a central toll-free helpline and a network of 30 non-profits throughout the state, CHA has helped 200,000 New Yorkers since 2010, many previously uninsured, understand their coverage and resolve bill disputes and other problems with insurers.

Adequate Nursing Staff: We support legislation (A8580, Gunther; S782, Hannon) that would establish minimum nurse-to-patient ratios in New York hospitals and nursing homes, as California mandated in 2004. The research is clear that “safe staffing” ratios saves lives and improves patient outcomes.
Citizen Action

CONSUMER AND WORKER RIGHTS

Right to Recover for Medical Mistakes: Citizen Action supports “Lavern’s Law” (A285, Weinstein; S6596, DeFrancisco), which would begin the statute of limitations in medical malpractice cases when an injured patient knew or should have known of a medical error, rather than when a mistake was made. The need for this change is shown by Brooklyn resident Lavern Wilkinson, who was not told of an x-ray revealing lung cancer for more than two years — too late to sue — and later died because her cancer was no longer treatable.

Construction Safety: We oppose a bill to lower the damages of injured construction workers under New York’s “Scaffold Safety Law” if the defendant can show that the worker contributed to his or her injuries (A3209, Morelle; S543, Gallivan). Under current law, property owners and general contractors are fully responsible for paying damages if inadequate safety equipment and other unsafe practices cause a worker’s injury, ensuring that owners and contractors have the responsibility for safe construction sites.

SEEKING VOLUNTEERS AND INTERNS FOR THE CENTRAL

NEW YORK CITIZENS IN ACTION, INC.

Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc.is an independent progressive social justice organization. Since 1997, Citizen Action has helped to win victories on increasing the minimum wage and ensuring affordable health care. The involvement of our members has been key to our success. That’s why we need your help. If you’d like to get involved, please call us at 315-725-0974 or email cnycitizenaction@gmail.com. You will receive a follow-up call from us who can discuss with you specific ways you can help out that best fit your time and interests. Volunteers are needed to research and write articles, promote the organization in the media, maintain the new website conduct surveys, and serve on the board and committees. Thanks again for your support of Citizen Action!

DONATE TO CENTRAL NEW YORK CITIZENS IN ACTION

Please support the work of Central New York Citizens in Action!
Your support today is an important investment in the progressive advocacy, education, research, organizing, and consumer protection work that we do to lift up the engine of our economy -hardworking Central New Yorkers and the families.
Please send your check to:
Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., P.O. Box 411, Utica, NY 13503-0411. Because we are an advocacy group, donations are not tax deductible.
Thank you for your support.

NEWSLETTER ARTICLES ARE NEEDED
Please submit your articles, news items, and calendar listings to cnycitizenaction@gmail.com.

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION is published by Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., P.O. Box 411, Utica, NY 13503-0411 Our Office is located at 500 Plant Street in Utica, NY at Cornerstone Community Church./315-725-0974315-725-0974 cnycitizenaction@gmail.com https://cnycitizenaction.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/Central-New-York-Progressive-Action-659297800873928/?fref=ts

Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc.
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 411; Utica, NY 13503-0411
Office: 500 Plant St.; Utica, NY 13502-4710
315-725-0974
cnycitizenaction@gmail.com
https://cnycitizenaction.wordpress.com

Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. was developed from the Utica Citizens in Action, a multi-issue public interest association affiliated with Citizen Action of New York. It was founded in 1997 to address critical social, economic and environmental issues facing residents of Oneida, Herkimer, and Madison Counties. Members of our group worked to empower low and moderate income Central New York residents to participate in shaping the policies that affect their lives, such as economic justice, environment, housing, education, economic development, health care, public benefit programs, and consumer issues. Our projects include research and policy development, public education on a wide range of public policy issues, development of educational materials, community outreach and grassroots organizing, coalition development, training, and lobbying. Please join our email list by sending an email to cnycitizenaction@gmail.com with the subject heading – Join List. We also invite you to become a member of our group and attend our meetings.

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION NEWSLETTER – MARCH 3, 2016

March 3, 2016

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION NEWSLETTER
MARCH 3, 2016
Vol. 3, No. 3

NEWSLETTER OF THE CENTRAL NEW YORK CITIZENS IN ACTION, INC. (ESTABLISHED IN 1997)

You can view newsletter on:
https://cnycitizenaction.wordpress.com

HEADLINES

CITIZEN ACTION LOBBY DAY MARCH 8

BUS LEAVING UTICA FOR ALBANY
FIGHT FOR 15 RALLY ON MARCH 15

BUSTING MYTHS ABOUT THE $15 MINIMUM WAGE

LOCAL SANDERS SUPPORTERS
ORGANIZING FOR NY PRIMARY

SEEKING VOLUNTEERS AND INTERNS FOR THE CENTRAL

NEW YORK CITIZENS IN ACTION, INC.

2016 lobby day

CITIZEN ACTION LOBBY DAY MARCH 8

We’re Bringing the Movement for Justice to the NYS Capitol!
March 8, 2016 – 10:30 am – Albany

With legislators back in Albany, debating the issues that impact our daily lives, it’s time for local activists to bring our demands for a strong economy, racial justice and a vibrant democracy to the State Capitol. Please come to the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. and Citizen Action of New York Lobby Day March 8. Transportation will be provided from Utica, Rome, and the Mohawk Valley. Lunch will also be provided. Please call or email John Furman of CNY Citizens in Action at 315-725-0974 or cnycitizenaction@gmail.com to register.

We’ll talk with legislators about:

providing our schools with full and equitable funding
raising the minimum wage
passing paid family leave
ensuring everyone has access to health care
fixing our broken campaign finance system
police reform
taxing millionaires
fighting for climate justice
and more!

Join us to win a New York that works for all of our communities!

We will leave Utica at 8 a.m. Participants will gather at 10:30 am at 1199SEIU, 155 Washington Avenue, Albany. We expect that participants will depart Albany by 4pm. Lunch will be provided.

utica fight for 15 rallybus photo

JOIN CNYCIA ON MARCH 15
TO FIGHT FOR 15

BUS LEAVING UTICA FOR
FIGHT FOR 15 RALLY

In conjunction with 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East and other groups, the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. will be sponsoring a bus from Utica to Albany on Tuesday, March 15 to send a powerful message to lawmakers: ALL workers deserve good jobs with at least $15 an hour. Bus transportation is free and lunch will be provided. For more information, please contact John Furman at 315-725-0974 or cnycitizenaction@gmail.com.
On February 27, the Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. was a part of a group of local union members and activists who welcomed the Drive for 15 Bus Tour to Utica to call on state lawmakers to pass the Governor’s proposal to raise the minimum wage to $15 this legislative session. The phased-in $15 minimum wage increase will directly affect nearly 55,000 Mohawk Valley residents, and spur the reinvestment of $350.9 million into the region’s economy.

Among those attending the rally were George Gresham, President of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, and the Chair of the Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice, NYS Office of General Services Commissioner RoAnn Destito, elected officials, CNYCIA members, and low-wage workers who would benefit from the raise.
Many of the workers who would benefit most are working in the occupations projected to grow the most by 2022, including the homecare, healthcare and childcare workers who serve our most vulnerable populations, yet often do not earn enough to support themselves and their families. Right now, 56 percent of homecare workers in the state are on some form of public assistance, and 30 percent rely on food stamps to make ends meet.
Already in Utica, a single adult working full-time needs to earn a $14.86 wage to support their basic needs. By 2021, single adults will need a $17.32 wage, with couples and parents needing to earn even more.

20150323 FF15 War Room Rally

BUSTING MYTHS ABOUT
THE $15 MINIMUM WAGE

MYTH: ECONOMISTS BELIEVE THAT A $15 MINIMUM WAGE IS TOO HIGH.
More than 200 economists have endorsed a $15 federal minimum wage by 2020, finding that raising the minimum to $15 an hour would boost living standards for low-wage workers and their families and help stabilize the economy. A $15 minimum wage is not that high, given our high cost of living and higher-than-national wages. In New York State, the living wage for a single adult is $18.47 an hour.

 

MYTH: RESEARCH SHOWS THAT INCREASING THE MINIMUM WAGE WILL LEAD TO SIGNIFICANT JOB LOSSES AND SO WILL HURT RATHER THAN HELP NEW YORK WORKERS.
The latest economic research is showing instead that raising the minimum wage boosts incomes for low-wage workers with little to no adverse impacts on employment levels. Bloomberg News reported that studies show minimum-wage increases even provide a small economic boost, as workers spend their raises.

 

MYTH: A $15 MINIMUM WAGE WILL COST THE STATE AND TAXPAYERS A LOT
The state’s current low-wages mean that millions of workers must rely on state safety net programs for support, at a cost to New York taxpayers of $13 billion each year. Raising the minimum wage will save the state budget significant amounts in safety net expenditures.

 

MYTH: A $15 MINIMUM WAGE WOULD BE UNSUSTAINABLE FOR NEW YORK’S SMALL BUSINESSES.

It’s large companies, not mom-and-pop businesses, that employ most workers in New York earning less than $15. Most small businesses are service industry firms like dry cleaners, bodegas and diners that serve local customers and when the minimum wage goes up, they and their competitors are all on the same playing field and can gradually adjust their prices to cover the cost without being put at a disadvantage. New York’s experiences with past minimum wage increases, and the recent experiences in cities like San Francisco, San Jose and Seattle with significant minimum wage increases, show that there’s no evidence that transitioning to higher wages have hurt small businesses or changed the mix of large and small businesses. Growing numbers of individual small businesses, and trade groups representing small businesses like the Greater New York Chamber of Commerce, are endorsing the $15 minimum wage.

MYTH: HUMAN SERVICES AGENCIES OPERATING UNDER GRANTS FROM STATE GOVERNMENT CANNOT AFFORD TO PAY $15 PER HOUR.

It’s true that the state’s human services programs, many of which are operated by non-profit organizations with funding from state government to provide vital services to needy populations, will need assistance from the state to transition to a $15 minimum wage.
Unlike other businesses, the non-profit and for-profit organizations operating these programs can’t just raise their prices to help cover the cost of raising wages, as their funding source is the state government. And for many years that state support has not kept up with rising costs.
The state will need to increase the size of public grants and contracts to these programs to help them transition their wages up to $15. The state will be able to do that as a $15 minimum wage will generate significant budgetary savings, which the legislature should use, together with new appropriated funds, to finance this important investment.

Please visit https://cnycitizenaction.wordpress.com to get involved and learn more about the Mario Cuomo Campaign for Economic Justice.

bernie picture

LOCAL SANDERS SUPPORTERS
ORGANIZING FOR NY PRIMARY

The Herkimer-Oneida County for Bernie organization is mobilizing to get out the vote for Bernie for the New York presidential primary.

The local campaign is recruiting volunteers for voter registration, phone banking and canvassing operations. Volunteers are also needed for the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Utica on Saturday, March 12 Organizers are trying to get the Vermont Senator to make an appearance in Utica late March or early April.

The Central New York Citizens in Action and the Working Families Party support the Sanders campaign. For more information, please call John Furman (315-725-0974), Keith Rubino (315-360-2385), John Dzialo (518-222-2878) or email ElectBernieMidNY@gmail.com. The Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/groups/1685466801730755/?fref=nf.
In order to vote in the Democratic Presidential primary on April 19, please keep in mind the following deadlines:

March 25th for postmark registration

March 30th for change of address

Please note that party enrollment changes will not take effect until after the General election, so a non-Democratic Party member cannot switch parties and vote in the Democratic primary this year.

SEEKING VOLUNTEERS AND INTERNS FOR THE CENTRAL

NEW YORK CITIZENS IN ACTION, INC.

Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc.is an independent progressive social justice organization. Since 1997, Citizen Action has helped to win victories on increasing the minimum wage and ensuring affordable health care. The involvement of our members has been key to our success. That’s why we need your help. If you’d like to get involved, please call us at 315-725-0974 or email cnycitizenaction@gmail.com. You will receive a follow-up call from us who can discuss with you specific ways you can help out that best fit your time and interests. Volunteers are needed to research and write articles, promote the organization in the media, maintain the new website conduct surveys, and serve on the board and committees. Thanks again for your support of Citizen Action!

 

DONATE TO CENTRAL NEW YORK CITIZENS IN ACTION

Please support the work of Central New York Citizens in Action!
Your support today is an important investment in the progressive advocacy, education, research, organizing, and consumer protection work that we do to lift up the engine of our economy -hardworking Central New Yorkers and the families.
Please send your check to:
Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., P.O. Box 411, Utica, NY 13503-0411. Because we are an advocacy group, donations are not tax deductible.
Thank you for your support.

NEWSLETTER ARTICLES ARE NEEDED
Please submit your articles, news items, and calendar listings to cnycitizenaction@gmail.com.

CNY PROGRESSIVE ACTION is published by Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc., P.O. Box 411, Utica, NY 13503-0411 Our Office is located at 500 Plant Street in Utica, NY at Cornerstone Community Church./315-725-0974315-725-0974 cnycitizenaction@gmail.com https://cnycitizenaction.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/Central-New-York-Progressive-Action-659297800873928/?fref=ts

Central New York Citizens in Action, Inc. was developed from the Utica Citizens in Action, a multi-issue public interest association affiliated with Citizen Action of New York. It was founded in 1997 to address critical social, economic and environmental issues facing residents of Oneida, Herkimer, and Madison Counties. Members of our group worked to empower low and moderate income Central New York residents to participate in shaping the policies that affect their lives, such as economic justice, environment, housing, education, economic development, health care, public benefit programs, and consumer issues. Our projects include research and policy development, public education on a wide range of public policy issues, development of educational materials, community outreach and grassroots organizing, coalition development, training, and lobbying. Please join our email list by sending an email to cnycitizenaction@gmail.com with the subject heading – Join List. We also invite you to become a member of our group and attend our meetings.