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Workers Press Cuomo to Sign SWEAT Bill

Workers rallying at Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Manhattan office say some employers still get away with wage theft. (NMAS)
Workers rallying at Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Manhattan office say some employers still get away with wage theft. (NMAS)
December 23, 2019

NEW YORK - Workers are rallying outside Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office Monday to say they still are being ripped off by employers who steal their wages, and Cuomo can stop it with the stroke of a pen.

A bill that could aid workers who are the victims of wage theft passed both the state Assembly and Senate in June but the governor still hasn't signed it.

Carlos Rodriguez Herrera, a restaurant worker, says the Securing Wages Earned Against Theft, or SWEAT, bill would ensure that employers don't hide their assets as soon as a wage theft claim is filed.

"They declare bankruptcy, shut down the restaurant, change the name, transfer the assets,
Herrera states. "That's very easy to do right now because we don't have any law to prevent that."

Responding to a protest last month, a representative for the governor said the SWEAT bill was still under review. The governor has until Dec. 31 to sign it into law.

The National Mobilization Against Sweatshops says an estimated $1 billion are stolen from New York workers every year.

Herrera says workers will keep their rallies going through the rest of the year.

"If he don't sign, we're going to tell everybody how he's bad," Herrera states. "He's not really supporting the workers, he's supporting the criminal bosses."

The workers plan to be back outside the governor's office Tuesday and every weekday after Christmas through the end of the month unless the bill is signed.

Andrea Sears, Public News Service - NY