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the working class keeps our city running.

New York is a union town, but workers suffer from poor working conditions, wages that do not support the soaring cost of living, and inadequate protections from workplace harassment. It’s essential that our working class have dignity in the workplace.

As the son of working-class immigrants, I know what it’s like to stretch a paycheck and suffer exploitative working conditions. Many politicians refer to the working class as essential, but they continue to legislate in favor of the same companies that exploit us. That’s why our campaign doesn’t accept any money from corporations or corporate PACs. As your representative, I will fight for labor standards that enable working class people to live dignified lives.

New York is a union town

As a proud member of the working class, and son of immigrants, I feel called to stand with the working-class immigrant community that powers this district. 

The union movement is what pulled my family out of poverty and why I am here today. When my parents first moved here from Peru, they spoke very little English and were frequent targets of exploitation and labor abuses. Today, my dad is a proud member of PSC CUNY and my mother was a member of Danbury Nurses Union AFT for 26 years. 

From grad workers and adjunct faculty at Columbia and NYU to the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, I have always stood in solidarity with workers in organizing drives, contract campaigns, and strikes – and I always will.

Equal rights for all workers

All workers deserve the right to the same benefits, regardless of immigration status. But in Albany, the needs of the working class have continued to go unmet, and hundreds of thousands of undocumented workers have been excluded from this year’s budget. 

I supported the Excluded Worker Unemployment Program Act, which created a program to provide compensation for low-paid and unemployed workers, including undocumented workers. While the creation of the Excluded Workers Fund was historic, this year’s budget failed to replenish the Fund. I will fight for an additional $3 billion for excluded workers because all workers deserve equal access to the same essential benefits. 

A Living Wage for all workers

Amidst the soaring cost of living in New York, minimum wage is simply not enough to survive on. I support the passage of a minimum living wage for tipped and service industry workers. This will abolish the sub-minimum wage for restaurant workers, ensuring that the roughly 288,000 employees working for tips will get a minimum living wage. 

I support the SWEAT bill to stop wage theft. This bill previously passed both houses of the legislature, but was vetoed by Governor Cuomo. We need to pass SWEAT now so that workers can get the wages owed to them.

Home care work is one of the fastest-growing professions in our state. But our politicians and leaders have spent more time preaching about how vital these workers are than passing legislation that materially benefits them. I support the full repayment of all back wages to home care workers, as well as the Fair Pay for Home Care Act, which will raise the pay floor going forward.

Workplace Conditions

Every worker deserves safe and dignified working conditions. The pandemic highlighted the need for enhanced workplace safety protections. 

We must fully fund the NY HERO Act, allocating an additional $50 million to the Department of Labor. This will empower the agency to comprehensively investigate workplace complaints, enforce laws and regulations, and fund educational outreach programs so workers know their rights. It will also fully fund the Hazard Abatement Board. This Board sponsors workplace health and safety initiatives and provides grants for small businesses to upgrade their ventilation. 

Additionally, I support a ban on the 24-hour workday. We cannot have justice for the working class while allowing organizations like the CPCHAP to run their employees into the ground. The only way to achieve true justice is to abolish the 24-hour workday, which is why I support legislation that places a cap on the amount of time a home care aide can work. As mentioned above, I also support the full repayment of all back wages — many home care workers worked 24-hour shifts in the past but were only paid for 13-hour shifts. This is wage theft, plain and simple, and these workers deserve their back pay.

Ending the “independent contractor” scam

Companies like Uber and Lyft exploit their workers by classifying them as independent contractors rather than employees. This allows them to avoid paying workers adequate compensation and unemployment insurance. But under current New York State law, this is legal. I will fight to pass a labor standard that accurately categorizes these workers as employees.

Consequences for employer misconduct

Despite New York having some of the strongest labor laws in place, crimes like wage theft, workplace harassment and firing workers without just cause are still common. Companies use forced arbitration to shield themselves from consequences and get off scot-free. This is why I will be a strong advocate for the Empire Act, which will empower whistleblowers to sue their employer on behalf of the state, and raise funds for Department of Labor enforcement.