March for Farmworker Justice!

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The road to fairness for farmworkers starts in Suffolk County.

REGISTER TO PARTICIPATE 

“Farmworkers are the most important workers in every country because they’re the ones producing the food for the country.”

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This May 15 through June 1, a coalition of farmworkers and allies in New York is marching to draw attention to the unequal standing of farmworkers under labor law. While workers in all industries currently face more barriers than ever in realizing their labor rights, farmworkers have less recourse under the law. In the 1930s when the Fair Labor Standards Act passed into Law, farmworkers and domestic workers were left behind. Their exclusion was not an accident. Senators and Congressmen, mostly Democrats from the South, spoke openly on the floor about not wanting the two industries primarily composed of the children and grandchildren of slaves to have the same rights as white workers. To this day, the majority of states have not passed laws to remove exclusions, which include the rights for overtime pay, a day of rest, and collective bargaining.

REGISTER TO PARTICIPATE

The 200-mile March for Farmworker Justice from the east end of Long Island to Albany supports the passage of the Farmworker Fair Labor Practices Act (A4762/S1291) in New York State. The March will amplify the voices of farmworkers who want equal treatment under the law.JFFW-Logo

“The owners of the farm are the landlords — the owners of the housing,” Boris Martinez, a farmworker from a nursery in Patchogue, said through translator Katia Chapman in a phone interview Tuesday. Martinez is from El Salvador and has worked at the nursery for about two years, he said. “The owners only care that the housing is okay when inspection is going to come. They don’t care what state the housing is in, what condition the housing is in. It’s most likely that there will be at least 10 people living there.

“None of the workers are paid overtime pay. None of us have health insurance and if we get sick we don’t have the resources to pay for basic medical care. I know a lot of other workers in the area and none of them are paid overtime pay. Many of us don’t have a day of rest either. I’m right now working about 60 hours a week but when the weather warms up I’ll probably be working 67 or 68 hours.”

“Those in power, they don’t care how we’re doing as workers, what they care about is the money that we’re producing for them.”

“I’m participating in the march because even though, as I said, I like my job, I also see my friends, my companions that they are not always treated well,” Jose Ventura, a farmworker from Guatemala, said in a phone interview Tuesday through Chapman as a translator. “On their farms they’re not always paid fairly. There’s a lot of Guatemalan farmworkers and some of them are mistreated in the job and while I feel that this march is for the benefit of my people, therefore I feel motivated to be a part of the movement.”

REGISTER TO PARTICIPATE

 

 

Stand with Striking Verizon Workers

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Verizon workers are taking a stand to make sure the needs of working families are met, instead of standing by as a handful of individuals get richer and richer. They’re fighting to stop the company from sending jobs overseas and to get Verizon to end its continued intimidation of working people at Verizon Wireless who are trying to create a better future for themselves and their families.

Sign the petition to let Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam know that you stand with workers.

Providing Support-CWA/IBEW On Strike

Verizon has averaged made $1.8 billion a month in profits over the first three months of 2016– and $39 billion over the last three years. This greedy corporation is still insisting on givebacks that would devastate decent jobs for 39,000 working people up and down the east coast, a portion of which are your brothers and sister here on Long Island.

The company wants to gut job security protections, contract out more work, do away with local call centers and offshore the jobs to Mexico and the Philippines. If the Unions don’t accept all of these changes, they will require technicians to work away from home for as long as two months at a time, anywhere in the Verizon footprint, without seeing their families. Verizon has remained immovable and has ultimately attempted to get the unions to negotiate against themselves, which they will not do.

To learn more about this strike and the unions involved follow the links below:

To learn more about how you can join striking workers, contact Aaron Watkins-Lopez at awlopez.lijwj@gmail.com

If you can’t make it to a picket line, please remember to sign the petition.

Touro Law School Students and Advocates Push for NY DREAM Act

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Press Release Press Contact:

 Victoria Daza

Organizer

vdaza.lijwj@Gmail.com

516-459-8877

Touro-Based Student and Advocacy Organization Urge Senator Flanagan to Support NY DREAM Act

 

Central Islip, NY.   Soon after Governor Cuomo announced the inclusion of the New York DREAM Act into the state budget, seven organization  at Touro Law School signed on to a letter urging Senator Flanagan to support  the NY DREAM Act.

 

“I am happy to have Touro Law Students supporting this effort because it teaches them the importance of community advocacy in making a difference in the lives of others.” said Tom Maligno of the Public Advocacy Center

 

The New York DREAM Act would allow undocumented children who graduate from New York State high schools to access  state-funded financial aid alongside their peers. Senator Flanagan, as  Senate Majority Leader, will be joining Governor Cuomo and House Speaker Heastie in decidING the New York State Budget for this year.  The  New York Civil Liberties Union, Tom Maligno from the Public Advocacy Center, Empire Justice, the Empowerment Collaborative, the Latin American Law Student’s Association, The Immigration Law Society, and Long Island Language Advocates Coalition have all signed  the letter urging Senator Flanagan to  support the New York DREAM Act.

 

The letter to the Senator states, “As part of the Touro Law Center, we stand with our founder’s commitment to social justice. You are in a position to help make history by eliminating the rules that stratify educational access in our region. As a Touro Alumni, we urge you to support the NY DREAM Act, so that New York can join states like Texas, New Mexico, and California, in allowing equal educational opportunity to all children.”

 

Long Island currently holds 22% of the political power in New York State making support from Senator Flanagan is crucial to the passing of the bill.

 

“It is imperative to come out and support the NYDA right now since the bill has once again landed in the draft budget, but this time without being tied to anything. Long Island Senators have been opposed to this bill for five years claiming that their “constituents do not want the NYDA”, but today we join together at Touro Law to counter that argument. Professors, faculty, staff, students, advocates and non-profit organizations based at Touro have come together to publicly voice their support for the NYDA. We cannot let another year slip by without allowing all students, regardless of status, to access financial aid for higher education.”, said Laura Lemus of Long Island Wins

The New York DREAM Act would allot 27 million dollars  for the TAP budget and would impact thousands of youth across New York State.

 

“”We believe that all young people in this country, regardless of citizenship, should have access to the tools provided by a quality education.  ECLI passionately supports The Dream Act and its role in breaking the cycle of poverty in New York State.”  said Feride Castillo, co-founder of the Empowerment Collaborative

 

“We are urging Senator Flanagan to help New York make history, and allow all students living in New York state equal access to education.” said Victoria Daza, organizer of Long Island Jobs with Justice.

 

The New York DREAM Act would cost 87 cents per median taxpayer if added to the New York State budget. According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, the undocumented workforce has contributed over 1 million dollars in state and local taxes.

 

“Having access to a college education is essential to the future of our young people.  The NY DREAM Act will help immigrant youth  gain the skills, knowledge and experience they need  to contribute to our society and our economy. We urge Majority Leader Flanagan to support this initiative.” said Cheryl Keshner of the Empire Justice Center.

 

New York State has the 2nd highest immigrant population in  United State. California, whose population surpasses New York’s, already has a version of the NY DREAM Act.
“What is the United States but a land of opportunity? This country has been a haven for those who have suffered in their homelands and those who are seeking a place where they can grow and give back to make this country greater. The passing of the NY Dream Act gives thousands of young minds the opportunity to make their dreams a reality. It makes this country greater by nurturing these young minds who are willing to push this nation forward and advance progress.”said Jose Rojas of the Latin American Law Students Association

Long Island DREAM Coalition Statement on NYDA in the 2016 Budget

Long Island DREAM Act Coalition Statement on NYDA in the 2016 Budget

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The Long Island DREAM Act Coalition would like to commend Governor Cuomo for adding the New York DREAM Act into the 2016 draft budget. The New York State DREAM Act provides tuition assistance to undocumented students, a benefit already available in Texas, California and New Mexico. As a coalition made up of DREAMers, educators, and union members, we are also pleased to see that this year’s inclusion of the New York DREAM Act is as a stand alone bill.

However, more needs to be done. Each year that the New York DREAM Act fails pass in the final budget, thousands of students will continue to watch their peers go to the college of their choice while they face overwhelming financial barriers to achieve the same goals.  As the leader of the state with 2nd highest immigrant population, we expect Governor Cuomo to show his commitment to passing the DREAM Act, and to show this is indeed genuine through his voice, and actions in the upcoming months.

According to the Office of the State Comptroller (OSC), the cost of extending eligibility for State financial aid to undocumented students is less than two percent of the total TAP budget – a small price to pay for giving more than 8,000 undocumented students a chance to go to college, graduate and continue contributing to the betterment of our state.

The Fiscal Policy Institute found that the New York State DREAM Act will cost typical taxpayers less than the price of a doughnut, and that the tax revenue alone generated by undocumented immigrants would cover more than the increase in TAP costs. According to the Institute of Taxation and Economic Policy, the state earned more than $662 million in revenue from undocumented immigrants in 2010, proving that undocumented immigrants truly are an important source of economic growth for the state.

We remind Governor Cuomo that the NY DREAM Act is not only a smart investment, but that education is a human right and no student should be marginalized because he or she is unable to obtain economic opportunity for higher education.

Governor Cuomo, we urge you follow through on your commitment and include the NY DREAM Act in the final 2016 budget come April.

 

Sincerely,

The Long island DREAM Act Coalition

#GivingTuesday: We Are More Powerful When We Stand Together

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Today is Giving Tuesday – the day when people give back to the causes they care about most.

With the biggest shopping season of the year upon us, corporate CEOs are doing everything they can to finance holiday bargains on the backs of hardworking people. Together we can change that.

Donate this Giving Tuesday and support Long Island Jobs with Justice as we lead a movement of activists to demand fair wages, just hours and decent lives for working families across Long Island.

We’ve already made huge strides so far this year:

  • Through community organizing, we pressured the New York Wage Board to raise the minimum wage for fast-food employees in the state to $15.
  • In March, we took on NICE Bus and successfully prevented a fare increase on some of Nassau’s most disenfranchised.
  • We provided information and resources to 740 immigrant parents and students on their educational and employment opportunities.
  • We helped support the organizing efforts of UFCW Local 2013 in their fight to win wage increases for their members working for Quality King, and Teamsters Local 1205 in their fight to win a good contract with improved worker protections for their members working for Baumann/Acme buses. Both locals were victorious!

Giving Tuesday is a great example of something we see every day in our work: we are more powerful when we stand together. So for those who care about workers’ rights, now is when our voices can have the most impact.

Donate TODAY and help us win more victories for working people across Long Island this holiday season and into the New Year.

We thank you for your ongoing support and hope that you will join us on this national day of giving, and thousands of others across the world, who are fighting for what’s right by giving back – and giving generously.

Thank you for joining us in the fight for working people everywhere.

In solidarity,

From all of us at Long Island Jobs with Justice

PS: After you give back, please spread the word on social media with the hashtag #GivingTuesday to inspire others to support Long Island Jobs with Justice!

Rally for Fairness at Verizon!

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Verizon is trying to take away job and retirement security from its workers – all the while the CEO makes over 200 times as much money as the average Verizon employee.

Verizon makes $1.5 billion each month in profits, but wants to take about job security, raise healthcare costs by thousands of dollars, slash retirement security and even eliminate benefits for workers injured on the job.

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Fighting for a Dream: 2015 Labor-Faith Prayer Brunch

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On December 10th, 1948, the United Nations adopted what has been called the Magna Carta of the Human Race, the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” guaranteeing all peoples of the world such fundamental rights as shelter, food and education. These guarantees draw from the Declaration’s Preamble recognizing the “inherent dignity and the equal and alienable rights of all members of the human family” as the foundation of “freedom, justice and peace in the world.”

Long Island Jobs with Justice will commemorate the anniversary of the Universal Declaration by holding our annual Human Rights Day Labor-Faith Prayer Brunch. This year’s brunch title is FIGHTING FOR A DREAM: Honoring Undocumented Children and Those Who Serve Them.”


Article 26 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “everyone has the right to education,” yet too many young people are still denied access. This year, we will reflect on the challenges undocumented young people face and lift up the remarkable work of Dreamers and allies across Long Island.

We are proud to honor Patrick Young, Esq., Program Director at the Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) and Jackeline Saavedra, Staff Attorney at Empire Justice Center at this year’s event.

Join us on Thursday, December 10th, from 10am12pm, as we celebrate and honor the remarkable humanitarian work of Patrick and Jackeline.

The keynote speaker for the afternoon will be Rev. Richard Ryscavage, Director of Fairfield University’s Center for the Study of Faith and Public Life.

The event will be held at IBEW Local 25 (370 Motor Parkway, Hauppauge)

Registration ($25) is open and you can register here today!

If you would like to RSVP by email, please contact Kimberly Saget at ksaget.lijwj@gmail.com.Please RSVP by December 3rd.

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor please contact Anita Halasz atahalasz.lijwj@gmail.com or (631) 348-1170 ext. 304.

Looking forward to seeing you on December 10th!

“Education is not a way to escape poverty – it is a way of fighting it.”
Julius Nyerere, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania


Prayer Brunch 2015

Films for Justice: Special Screening of “The Hand That Feeds”

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This year marks a great year for workers and the labor movement. We’ve witnessed hundreds of thousands of workers fighting for their rights to dignity and justice at their jobs. And they are winning!

Quality King Repack members ratified their new contract that brought historic raises for 220 women workers on Long Island! Read more >>

Fast-food workers win $15 minimum wage and inspire broader wage fight in New York! Read more >>

New York’s nail salon workers win landmark legislation that beefs up workplace protections! Read more >>

First union contract won for Carwasheros in the Northeast! Read more >>

JFK and LaGuardia airport workers win right to join a union and negotiate a contract! Read more >>

These victories did not happen overnight – they came out of the unwavering organizing, solidarity, and determination of workers and their allies.

To keep with the spirit of worker solidarity, we invite you to join us at a special one-time screening of The Hand that Feeds, an award-winning documentary that follows the story of shy sandwich-maker Mahoma López as he unites his undocumented immigrant coworkers to fight abusive conditions at a popular New York restaurant chain. The film will be followed by a panel of local worker leaders. 

Visit our Facebook event page (click here) and RSVP by visiting: http://bit.ly/1Fyh4zN

We hope to see you there!

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Start Spreading the News, We Are Winning Today! $15 in New York!

Yesterday,  we reached a turning point in the fight to end income inequality in New York. The Labor Commissioner approved the Wage Board’s recommendation to raise the minimum wage for fast food workers to $15 an hour.

This victory will set the tone for improving wage standards for all New Yorkers – and it could not have happened without the courage and strength of workers and allies like you!

Today is a day to celebrate how far we have come. When we unite and organize, we win!

The fight is not over though. Yesterday, Governor Cuomo pledged to fight for a statewide minimum wage of $15 an hour for all workers. It will take all of us continuing to organize and advocate in order to make New York’s minimum wage a living wage for all workers.

We won in Seattle.

We won in San Francisco.

We won in Los Angeles.

And yesterday, we won in New York.

Onward!

And just for fun —

WE FOUGHT FOR $15 AND WON!

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Two and a half years ago, 200 people who worked at fast-food restaurants in New York took a chance and went out on strike. By demanding a living wage of $15 and hour, they inspired a movement that has spread across the country and around the world.

Now, because of the bravery of these workers and the support of allies like you, fast-food employees in New York just won a $15 an hour minimum wage!! Big thanks to all of our faith, community and labor allies who waited 5 hours to deliver testimony at the Long Island wage board hearing. Your powerful messages were all recorded and considered, and weighed heavily on the success of this historical decision!

Will you chip in $15 today to make sure we can continue our work to ensure better wages and better lives across Long Island?

This wage raise will change the lives of nearly 25,000 fast food workers on Long Island, and more than 180,000 people across New York!

We know that profitable corporations like McDonald’s, Burger King and Wendy’s can provide the quality jobs that working Americans need to thrive, but they would rather invest in government lobbyists to keep wages low than pay their workers higher wages. THIS STOPS NOW!

We proved that we can win, but only by speaking up together and standing for fair wages, decent and predictable hours, paid sick leave and the right to negotiate with your boss.

We need your help to continue the momentum to ensure more working families have what they need to survive. Retail workers, nurses, airport workers, adjunct professors, and many more, have continued with the call for $15 and a union! Just yesterday, the power of over 1,000 airport workers at LaGuardia and JFK airports helped secure an agreement between Aviation Safeguards and 32BJ SEIU. The movement is strong and growing! 

Can we count on your to stick with Long Island Jobs with Justice as we continue to fight for $15 for ALL workers? Donate $15 today to sustain the movement for workers’ rights!

P.S. Don’t forget to check us out in The Nation here and Al Jazeera here!

2015 Reception and Awards Dinner – put it on your calendar!

Join us on Tuesday, August 4th in celebrating leaders who have been instrumental in building a movement for workers’ rights and economic justice on Long Island at our 2015 Reception and Awards Dinner!

This year’s honorees will be:

Building and Construction Trades Council of Nassau and Suffolk

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Legislator Jay Schneiderman – Suffolk County Legislator

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Rev. Dennis Walker – Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Commack

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Long Island Bus Riders’ Union

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Tickets are $105. We have discounted tickets available for those who need them – please inquire with Anita (ahalasz.lijwj@gmail.com // 631-348-1170 ext. 304).

RSVP HERE TODAY: Reception Response Form
If you are unable to attend, but would like to make a donation, please still visit the response form

If you would like to become an event sponsor, or purchase an ad, please contact Anita @ ahalasz.lijwj@gmail.com or 631-348-1170 ext. 304

We look forward to celebrating with you!
2015 LIJwJ Reception Flyer

Rally Against Backdoor Trade Deals! // Protect People Not Profits!

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Most of what we eat, drink, wear, drive, and watch is the product of companies that are global in their operations. Their power over our lives, our planet, and our democratic institutions has never been greater, and with Congress’ current attempt to ram through the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal by way of Fast-Track legislation, corporate-led pursuits of globalization are more imminent than ever before.

Fast-Track would diminish the ability of Congress to amend harmful trade agreements, like TPP, and would enhance the ability of coporations to move their products, money, and factories around the globe more quickly and with less regulations. Again and again we have been promised that these trade agreements “create jobs” and grow the economy, but history tells us otherwise:

Since the 1994 signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA):

  • NAFTA was said to increase high-quality U.S. jobs through expanding exports. The opposite occured: Imports from NAFTA partners grew faster than U.S. exports and some 700,000 U.S. jobs were lost as production moved to Mexico
  • Heavily subsidized U.S. corn, and other staples, that poured into Mexico displaced an estimated two million small farmers

TPP is like NAFTA on steroids!

We cannot allow another job-killing trade deal to pass! JOIN US on April 1st at 4:30pm at Congressman Zeldin’s district office (31 Oak Street, Patchogue) as we rally against the TPP and Fast-Track and say NO to coporate profits and YES to protecting working people!

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Advocates Urge New York State to Pay Their Share Too!

This morning Long Island Jobs with Justice and the Long Island Bus Riders’ Union were joined by Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Vision Long Island, TWU 252, Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) and other transportation advocates in a call for New York State to increase it’s contribution to non-MTA transit systems all across the state, especially on Long Island. Non-MTA transit systems, both up-and-down state, will once again see little or no additional state assistance if the proposed budget goes through; due to rising operations costs, pensions and healthcare Long Island buses cannot survive at the current state funding levels, we NEED more funding!

A big “thank you” to everyone who came out today!
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BREAKING NEWS: Walmart announces it will raise wages!

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Friends,

Today is a big day for Walmart workers! Walmart, the largest employer in the world, made an announcement that they plan to raise the baseline wage for current employees to $10/hour. This wage increase will impact nearly 40% of Walmart workers in the US, or an estimated 500,000 Walmart workers!

This is not only a HUGE victory for Walmart workers and their allies, but also for the retail industry and the labor movement as a whole. Today, we celebrate the effectiveness of our organizing and lift up the strength and energy of all Walmart Associates who risked their jobs by striking and demonstrating.

This is what worker power looks like!

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The fight must go on though. This announcement still falls short of what US workers need to support their families, and we will continue to call for $15 an hour and respect on the job! Will you join us in this fight?

In Solidarity!

NYS DREAM Act One Step Closer to Becoming a Reality!

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Friends,

After years of fighting for the passage of the New York State DREAM Act, yesterday we came one step closer to victory. In his State of the State address, Governor Cuomo finally called for its passage! This is definitely a positive first step to making DREAM legislation a reality for thousands of hardworking undocumented youth in New York; however, we remain wary of its packaging with the Education Tax Credit bill that can divert millions from public education.

This announcement came days after our rally at the Governor’s office in Hicksville.

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We believe the DREAM Act will have a tremendous impact on Long Island’s immigrant families and the educators who have worked tirelessly to ensure that all opportunities, despite their limitations, are available to their undocumented students. And, when thinking about the long-term economic impact, Peggy, a retired Long Island teacher, said it perfectly: “Allowing our NY State Dreamers who are full of courage, creativity and intellect to access funding for higher education is a way of insuring the future of NY State.”

We would like to commend all of the Dreamers, workers, faith leaders, educators, and allies who came together to push for the inclusion of the NY DREAM Act into the the state budget. Thank you for coming to marches, organizing, calling in, providing meeting spaces, and otherwise showing support.

In order to keep growing our movement, we must continue to stand for education and dignity for all our young people!!

Onward!

 

HUGE VICTORY FOR LONG ISLAND BUS RIDERS!

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Members of the Long Island Bus Riders’ Union celebrate a HUGE VICTORY after presenting a list of rider demands to Nassau County and NICE Bus in early September. A bus rider will be added to the Transit Advisory Committee, which oversees the NICE bus system, adding a level of representation that was not there before. This gives bus riders the opportunity to advocate for the kind of service THEY need!

Additionally, after countless efforts to get the County to invest more in public transportation, they have bumped up their contribution by $2M! While the operational needs of the bus system are well over the $4.6M that is in the 2015 budget, this is another victory for bus riders across Nassau County!

THE RIDERS UNITED WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED!

Check out today’s Newsday article:

NICE bus gets $2M bump in 2015 Nassau budget

Updated October 30, 2014 8:40 PM
By ALFONSO A. CASTILLO  alfonso.castillo@newsday.com

A bipartisan agreement by Nassau lawmakers will boost the county’s subsidy to its bus system by $2 million, freeze fares for some customers in 2015, and give NICE riders more say on issues that affect them.

The plan, included in Nassau’s newly adopted 2015 budget, increases the county’s subsidy to the Nassau Inter-County Express to $4.6 million from the previous $2.6 million. It promises to hold a ride to $2.50 for customers who pay in cash or with NICE’s mobile application, and will add four new members to the county’s Bus Transit Committee, which governs NICE.

The four new members will include two appointed by County Executive Edward Mangano, one by the Republican majority, and one by the Democratic minority. Democratic lawmakers said they plan to make their pick a riders’ representative, chosen in conjunction with the nonprofit Long Island Bus Riders Union.

“NICE Bus continues to save taxpayers millions of dollars while protecting riders from a fare hike or service cut,” Mangano said in a statement Thursday.

But the new county budget was not all good news for riders. Even with the increased subsidy, NICE still runs a deficit of about $6 million, according to figures in Mangano’s originally proposed executive budget. And Nassau’s vow to not raise fares outside of any hikes on the MTA-controlled MetroCard removes one of the county’s options to help fill the deficit.

Officials with Veolia Transportation, NICE’s parent, declined to comment Thursday.

Long Island Bus Riders Union spokeswoman Anita Halasz said she fears that, without further government subsidies, Veolia may be forced to cut service to fill a budget gap, as it has before.

“Can we not come up with a better plan?” Halasz said. “We need to be prioritizing public transportation.”

Halasz added that she was grateful that riders will soon be able to voice their concerns on the county Bus Transit Committee, even if that voice may be “diluted” by the addition of three additional Republican appointees. In total, seven of the panel’s nine members will be appointed by Mangano or the GOP majority.

“I think no rider representation is worse than some rider representation,” Halasz said. “For us, this is a victory.”

 

Martins’ Voting Record Contradicts His Immigrant Values

The Long Island DREAM Coalition:

As Election Day gets closer and closer, many immigrants and our allies are crossing our fingers. The stakes are certainly high this year, and Jack Martins-, current senator for the 7th senatorial district and candidate for the 3rd congressional district on Long Island-  is well aware of how important this election is to the immigrant community. In Alexandre Soares’ piece “For Republican Jack Martins, an Immigrant Story Worth Telling”  Martin’s aligns himself with the immigrant community- as the son of immigrants, someone with strong ties to the Portuguese community in Mineola, and as someone who shares immigrant values. Martin’s states, “ I think personal initiative has always been part of the American dream, and of the immigrant’s’ journey as well. That you allow anyone who comes from anywhere to set his priorities on education, hard work, and to succeed – it’s an issue fundamental to the Republican Party.”

However, his voting record shows opposition to educational initiatives for the immigrant community.  Senator Martin’s district includes Westbury High School, Mineola High School, and Port Washington High school, all schools with a large populations of immigrant students. Despite his responsibility to represent the best interest for these students, Senator Martins voted against the NY DREAM Act in 2014 when it was brought to the floor. If passed, this legislation would have allowed all students, regardless of immigration status, who have graduated from a New York high school to be eligible for financial aid for higher education. It failed by two votes.

In 2015, after  Governor Cuomo added the NY DREAM Act to the state budget, Senator Martin’s  further voiced his opposition to the New York DREAM Act,  stating” how can we justify providing additional college benefits to illegal, non taxpaying persons when a full 70% of legal New York college students do not qualify for it themselves?”

This statement is not only factually inaccurate, immigrants do pay taxes and the New York DREAM Act does not take away financial aid from citizens, but it serves to reinforce the current anti-immigrant climate by perpetuating the myth that immigrants are stealing opportunities from US citizens. Martin’s has also contributed to this anti-immigrant climate by co-sponsoring Senate Bill S6032b, a legislation that would take away funding from local police departments that have a non-cooperation policy with Immigration Enforcement.

On Long Island, the immigrant community has been fighting an uphill battle- limited  amount of non profit legal service providers, limited funding for programs for refugee central american children, ICE presence separating our families, and resistance form our Long Island senators to support the NY DREAM Act.  We wish we could have an ally to immigrants, someone who shares our values, representing us.  Senator Martins has not only been unavailable to meet with us for the past two years, but has actively opposed initiatives that would make education more accessible to the immigrant community.

The 3rd congressional district has a large and growing immigrant community in Eastern Queens, Hicksville, Huntington and Glen Cove. Their support will be crucial in the congressional elections. As such, it is important for candidates not only to bond with their constituents over shared values, but also to honor those values in Albany.

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