Labor Bureau Initiative
Every worker deserves to be paid for every hour worked – from gig workers, to freelancers, to part time employees and full-time staff. Simply put, if you work, you should be paid. Similarly, every worker is entitled to be safe at work. Whether your work is in a construction pit, a school, a bank, a hospital, a movie set, a restaurant, your home or wherever your job takes you, it is your right to have a workplace that protects you from harm. Everyone should be able to go to work knowing that at the end of their day, at the end of their shift, they will be able to return home safely to their families. Workers should not be harmed financially or physically.
About one third of minimum wages earners end up in poverty when they are the victims of wage theft. Employers must be held accountable because the worker is not the only victim – the community in general suffers because of increased stress on tax-funded programs – rent assistance, public housing, shelters, food assistance and public hospitals. Businesses that obey the law are also victimized and are at a disadvantage because the corrupt actors have lower costs of doing business.
The newly created Labor Crimes Bureau will be fully staffed with 25 lawyers, analysts and community liaisons, many of whom will be bilingual. They will investigate wage theft, prevailing wage violations, health and safety violations, payroll tax fraud, unemployment insurance fraud, union benefit fraud, worker’s compensation insurance fraud, labor trafficking, sexual misconduct in the workplace when it crosses the line into sexual assault, and other workplace abuses.
Whenever crimes happen in the workplace, the Labor Crimes Bureau will investigate and if certain abuses involve gender violence or are directed at undocumented workers, the bureau will work with other units within the office such as Sex Crimes or Immigrant Affairs to fully investigate the matter and take appropriate action. No one will be able to use their power to cheat or hurt workers or escape the consequences of their bad actions. And no case will be deemed too small, whether the wage theft affects one worker losing less than $1,000 or is a theft from hundreds of workers totaling over $1 million, an assistant district attorney will investigate the case. The loss of a week’s pay or the loss of a percentage of a week’s pay often has dire consequences for workers, their families and their communities. Every worker deserves the full protection of the law.
The Labor Crimes Bureau will conduct presentations at community boards and other community venues. The bureau will sponsor and co-sponsor OSHA training programs and help educate the workers in Manhattan about their financial and safety rights. The bureau will work with other city and state agencies, with unions and community-based organizations to insure a seamless and continuous focus on the health and safety of every worker. Workers deserve nothing less.
The Labor Crimes Bureau will continue to fight for the passage of
- Carlos’ Law
Diana will continue to work with the community, labor unions, advocates and others to pass Carlos’ Law, which would establish higher fines for corporations for endangering worker’s lives.
As an ADA, Diana Florence held powerful interests accountable by prosecuting developers and corrupt corporations for cheating workers and taxpayers. In an historic case against Harco Construction, she ultimately secured justice for the family of a 22 year-old construction worker, Carlos Moncayo, who was buried alive at work. Using the existing criminal law, Diana charged and convicted the corporations and site supervisors, who had been repeatedly warned of hazardous conditions, with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide for Moncayo’s death. As a result, she drafted legislation (A10728) named after Carlos Moncayo, known as “Carlos’ Law”.
- The Wage Theft Bill – A06795
Diana co-authored this bill with Assemblymember Catalina Cruz (D-Queens) to reclassify wage theft as the more serious crime of larceny and close other loopholes that allow wage theft to be incorporated into corrupt business models.
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