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Workers, State Labor Chairs Speak Out at NY Capitol for Proactive Worker Protections



Press Releases

For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Lisa Thomas,, 347.415.6431

Unions & advocates held a press conference in support of warehouse, nail salon, temperature, and retail safety protections — part of Worker Safety Week actions

Albany, NY – Today, four worker safety coalitions united on the Million Dollar Staircase to call on New York State leaders to protect workers from harm, hold employers accountable for safety on the job, and create the conditions for safe, healthy, and sustainable workplaces. Speakers included Labor Chairs Sen. Ramos and Assm. Bronson; Assm. Reyes; Gerardo Gomez, carwashero; Elvis Gallardo, Amazon worker; Prarthana Gurung, NY Healthy Nail Salons coalition; and Donna Reid, retail worker. Also in attendance were impacted workers and advocates from the TEMP Coalition, New Yorkers for a Fair Economy, New York Healthy Nail Salons, and Retail Workers Safety Act coalition including Adhikaar; ALIGN; New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH); Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU); and Teamsters locals 294 and 804 — all of whom donned Worker Safety Champion safety vests. 

The State budget took a punitive approach to workplace safety, cracking down on retail theft with more severe criminal penalties for offenders. But that doesn’t actually keep workers safe or prevent harm. Proactive solutions are on the table this legislative session, addressing the root causes of injury and illness on the job with safety standards, protections, and training that can protect workers before they experience safety or health issues, not after. 

The coalitions are calling for swift action this session on the Warehouse Worker Injury Reduction Act (S5081B / A8907), the TEMP bill (S1604 / A8935), the Retail Worker Safety Act (S8358 / A8947), and the Nail Salon Minimum Standards Council Act (S1800 / A378) — more information below. Together, these bills could have a massive impact for millions of workers’ long-term health and livelihood, but would also benefit employers by reducing turnover, increasing morale, and lowering insurance costs long-term; as well as the state, relieving the burden on healthcare and workers’ comp systems while making New York’s labor market healthier and more sustainable. 

The press conference was part of a larger week of action to bring attention to New York’s worker safety crisis, continuing tomorrow with a Nail Salon Workers’ Action for Reproductive Justice and a Safe Workplace for All at 10 AM in West Capitol Park.  

“Workers from diverse industries and backgrounds across New York are standing up against employment conditions that put their health and safety at risk, and I am proud to stand with them by sponsoring several bills that protect occupational health and safety, and affirm New York’s commitment to safe workplace conditions,” said Assembly Labor Chair Harry Bronson. “Every worker deserves to be treated fairly, which must include mandating workplace standards that eliminate exposure to dangerous working conditions that cause damage to their mental and physical health.”

“On the 2nd anniversary of the TOPS shooting, it is powerful to see this diverse coalition of workers from across dangerous, low-wage sectors join together to stand up for each other’s health and safety,” said Senate Labor Chair Jessica Ramos. “It is becoming increasingly dangerous to try and earn a living in New York, and this week we will be tireless in reminding the legislature that the clock is ticking on standing up for safe and dignified workplaces.” 

“I have been injured so many times at Amazon and each time it could have been prevented with safe warehouse design and practices. Me and my coworkers are organizing so we will have the power to demand the safe workplace we deserve. The legislature should stand with Amazon workers like me and pass the Warehouse Worker Injury Reduction Act,” said Barbara Cartagena, an Amazon warehouse worker from the Bronx.

“At the RWDSU, worker safety is a top priority,” said Stuart Appelbaum, President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, RWDSU. “We are proud to stand in solidarity with our allies in the labor movement, community groups and the Senate and the Assembly, to support Worker Safety Week. It doesn’t matter whether someone is a retail worker, a warehouse worker, a farmworker, or a Carwashero, all workers deserve to work in a safe environment. That’s why we support the Retail Worker Safety Act, the TEMP Act, and the Warehouse Worker Injury Reduction Act. These bills will save lives, protect workers from debilitating injuries, and help workers cope with extreme heat and cold. We urge the legislature to pass each one of these bills and we urge the Governor to sign them.”

“Workers shouldn’t have to risk their lives and livelihood to earn a living in this state,” said Theodore A. Moore, Executive Director of ALIGN. “Just look at the numbers — New York accounts for 14% of US ice and snow injuries and has 54% more warehouse injuries than the rest of the country. New York should be leading the way with solutions, not harm. We’re proud to stand in solidarity with worker safety champions this week to take action on four bills that can protect millions of New Yorkers, and we call on our legislative leaders and Governor Hochul to stand with us.”

“Workers have a right to a safe and healthy workplace, and the bills that we are highlighting today would create safer jobs for millions of New Yorkers. The legislature must act now in support of workers’ health and safety,” said Charlene Obernauer, Executive Director of the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH).


Warehouse Worker Injury Reduction Act (S5081B / A8907)

  • 1 in 11 NY warehouse workers are injured annually and NY’s warehouse worker injury rate is 54% higher than the national average. Amazon workers are injured at an even higher rate — 37% more often than workers at non-Amazon facilities. 
  • Act requires annual safety evaluations of large warehouses for potential risks, establishes industry-wide safety standards, improves training and medical care, and empowers DOL to implement and enforce. 

Temperature Extreme Mitigation Program or T.E.M.P. Bill (S1604D / A8935A)

  • New York accounts for 14% of US ice, sleet, and snow injuries (BLS), and in NYC, there are an estimated 450 heat-related ED visits, 150 heat-related hospital admissions, 10 heat stroke deaths, and 350 heat-exacerbated deaths, each year (NYC Mayor’s Office).
  • TEMP bill creates a workplace standard on heat and cold that covers workers in agriculture, construction, landscaping, delivery, and food service, indoor and outdoor, including vehicles.

Nail Salon Minimum Standards Council Act (S1800 / A378)

  • Nail salon work is overwhelmingly performed by immigrant women of color who are exploited in unsafe working conditions and experience wage theft, discrimination, and exposure to toxic chemicals that cause harm to reproductive health.
  • Act creates two committees to oversee the long-term sustainability of the nail salon industry where workers’ rights are respected, consumer health is protected, and salon owners no longer feel that they have to engage in illegal and exploitative practices to stay in business.

Retail Worker Safety Act (S8358B / A8947C)

  • Retail workers are subject to constant threats of violence and verbal harassment, but receive virtually no training in violence prevention, de-escalation tactics, or escape procedures, and few if any employers have a plan to reduce the risk of violence. 
  • Act requires employers to create a safe work environment by evaluating hazards, providing training, documenting incidents, and developing violence prevention programs. 

About New Yorkers for a Fair Economy

New Yorkers for a Fair Economy (NYFE) is a coalition of labor unions, small businesses, and immigrant and community organizations uniting to safeguard our state from the abusive practices of big corporations and achieve an economy that works for all New Yorkers. NYFE is led by ALIGN (Alliance for a Greater New York) and includes labor unions Teamsters Joint Council 16 and Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union; community groups like New York Communities for Change and New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH); and research and advocacy organizations like National Employment Law Project (NELP) and Strategic Organizing Center, among others. 

About the TEMP Bill coalition

The TEMP Bill Coalition, formed in 2022 by the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH), is a coalition of unions and worker organizations advocating for extreme temperature protection in New York State. Coalition members include La Colmena, New Immigrant Community Empowerment, the New York State Teamsters, Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), RWDSU Local 338, and Worker Justice Center.

About the New York Healthy Nail Salons coalition

Founded in 2014 by Adhikaar and the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health (NYCOSH), the NY Healthy Nail Salons Coalition was formed around the central idea that nail salon workers deserve just jobs: healthy workplaces with living wages and a voice in their working conditions. Since its founding, the coalition won the nation’s first Nail Salon Workers’ Bill of Rights in 2015, and successfully advocated to eliminate the tipped subminimum wage for nail salon workers in 2019. The coalition and its member organizations support nail salon workers through organizing activities, policy campaigns, and workforce development training and education.






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