Letitia James: ‘This will never be a right-to-work state — not as long as I’m attorney general.’
BY KATE MOSTACCIO
A long-time member of the labor movement, New York State Attorney General Letitia “Tish” James knows first-hand the value of unions.
“Labor has made America great again,” she said at the 41st Annual PEF Convention. “I always enjoy spending time with my brothers and sisters of labor.”
She thanked the PEF delegates for “another year of outstanding service to your 52,000 members. You are the lifeblood of New York government. Know that I stand with you, as I’ve always stood with you.”
James said rights and privileges are being rolled back on a daily basis on the federal level and anti-union rhetoric is strong. “Voices like yours are all the more important,” she said. The labor movement works to safeguard fairness, diversity, justice, she said.
Her office is working hard to call out corporations and agencies that are exploiting workers in New York. “We’re taking on sexual harassment, gender wage discrimination, and defending workers’ rights,” she said.
Recently, the AG’s office investigated New-York-based home-health-care agency, Allcare Homecare Agency, Inc., and netted a $450,000 cash and benefits win for more than 100 workers cheated out of wages. The company was using workers’ immigration status to threaten them with deportation when they complained about unpaid wages.
In July, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill submitted by the AG’s Office creating penalties for employers who retaliate against employees by threatening them with contacting immigration.
“It is now unlawful for employers to report workers to immigration to intimidate workers,” James said. “Our office is committed to defending all workers. To protect the rights and improve the lives of working families.”
James said her office is using “every tool at our disposal” to achieve “equal justice for all.”
“As a union member, I stand with you to preserve the union in America,” she said. “When labor stands together, when we fight together, we win. We are union strong. This will never be a right-to-work state. Not as long as I’m attorney general.”
The Janus decision “overturned decades of established law and practice,” James said. Even so, James said, “we know union membership will prevail.”
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