Today, Council Member Tiffany Cabán, Comptroller Brad Lander, and a large coalition of labor unions, community-based organizations, and more launched a campaign to pass INT 0837-2022, the “Secure Jobs Act,” which would ban employers from terminating employees without just cause.
The bill would require employers to give workers advance notice of termination and a written explanation of their firing and give workers fired without a good reason the opportunity to appeal the decision and be reinstated.
Ahead of the campaign launch, Data For Progress, in conjunction with Make the Road NY and the National Employment Law Project, released a brand study on the need for the bill. “Fired Without Warning or Reason: Why New Yorkers Need Just Cause Protections” contains several startling findings, including:
- 60% of fired workers in New York City say their bosses gave them either no reason or an unfair or inaccurate reason for firing them.
- Nearly 90% of fired workers in New York City were given no warming.
- 79% of workers in New York City support the adoption of the key provisions of the Secure Jobs Act.
The “Secure Jobs NYC” coalition includes a wide array of groups, from labor unions (Amazon Labor Union, Teamsters Local 804 and UAW Region 9A) to worker associations (National Domestic Worker Alliance, Laundry Workers Center, Brandworkers, and more) to community organizations (Make The Road NY, Coalition for Asian American Children and Families, African Communities Together, and more), to employer groups like Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network, to political organizations like Democratic Socialists of America’s NYC Chapter.
The bill has the vocal support of Comptroller Brad Lander, who, when he was a Council Member, introduced and passed legislation granting “just cause” protections to fast food workers, as well as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who was unable to join the launch in person.. Co-sponsors of the bill include Council Members Sandy Nurse, Shahana Hanif, Lincoln Restler, Charles Barron, Alexa Avilés, Jen Gutiérrez, Christopher Marte, Chi Ossé, and Farah Louis.
Footage of the launch can be viewed here.
“Workers are not widgets, inanimate objects to be extracted from and then disposed of at a moment’s notice,” said Council Member Tiffany Cabán, the bill’s lead sponsor. “They are people, and people deserve stability, security, and the peace of mind that comes from knowing that they won’t be fired on the spot, without a reason or means of redress. This bill is about treating workers with dignity and respect.”
“It is disgraceful that working New Yorkers are forced to live under the constant threat of being fired for any reason, or no reason at all, with no warning, no explanation, and no recourse,” said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. “Arbitrary firings mean taking it all away, at a moment’s notice: the ability to make rent, car payments, to afford medicine, food, childcare, and more. Workers keep our city afloat, and they deserve better. The fight for the Secure Jobs Act is a fight for peace of mind, for freedom from fear, for a New York City that works for all of us.”
“Protections against arbitrary firings will give New York City Workers the job security they deserve,” said Comptroller Brad Lander. “Whether you are a fast food worker or a UPS driver, whether you work as an editor or an adjunct, this legislation will ensure that you cannot be dismissed without reason or cause. I’m grateful to Council Member Tiffany Cabán and the Secure Jobs NYC coalition for fighting to expand these protections to all New York City workers.”
“Secure jobs means secure communities,” said Amy Pinilla of Make The Road NY. “Workers depend on their jobs to put food on their table, support their families, and keep a roof over their heads. Almost half of all working New Yorkers (43 percent) — including majorities of women, Latinx workers, and Black workers — are only one or two paychecks away from not being able to pay their bills. In a society where your livelihood depends on your employment, unjust firings have a devastating impact on our communities – but that ends now.”