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Governor Cuomo Launches Task Force to Combat Employee...

Governor Cuomo announces the new task force in front of union workers at the Javits Center. July 20, 2016

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One year after Governor Andrew Cuomo launched the Task Force to Combat Worker Exploitation, he revealed 1,547 businesses will be required to pay nearly $4 million in back wages and damages to more than 7,500 workers due to the findings of the task force.

Because of this report, the governor signed an executive order today to establish a permanent Task Force on Employee Exploitation and Misclassification.  The new task force merges the Exploited Worker Task Force, the Nail Salon Industry Enforcement Task Force and the Joint Enforcement Task Force on Employee Misclassification.  

The task force will launch an investigation on the safety of workers in the dry cleaning industry who are exposed to tetrachloroethylene, a dangerous chemical that is considered a possible carcinogen by the EPA.

The new executive order will examine how workers are exploited through unpaid wages, unpaid overtime, and health and safety violations. The order will span 15 industries, including airports, car washes, cleaning, construction, child care, farming, dry cleaning, nail salons and retail.

Cuomo said he hopes these new initiative will help workers, especially those who are immigrants, speak out against employers who take advantage of them.

“As the immigrants come, they tend to take entry-level jobs, and they tend to be subject to abuse. That has been going on for decades; that is nothing new,” he said. “Immigrants are the most vulnerable to society. They don’t have the resources to make the fight; they’re afraid to go to the authorities. So they can be abused. And they are abused.”

Governor Cuomo will also award $5 million in grants to nonprofits that work to improve the health and safety of workers throughout New York.