Tag Archives: Make the Road New York

Community partners chosen for new SBS initiative to help immigrant-owned businesses


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Logo courtesy of the Department of Small Business Services

Immigrant business owners are getting local helping hands to help them thrive in their communities.

Five community-based partners were chosen on Oct. 20 to participate in the Department of Small Business Services’ (SBS) Immigrant Business Initiative, in partnership with Citi Community Development, which was initially announced in May and will provide free business services to immigrant business owners.

The selected community partners that will be helping owners in Queens include the Business Outreach Center Network, Make The Road New York and Renaissance Economic Development Corporation.

“Immigrant entrepreneurs are vital to the city’s identity and economy, opening businesses that create jobs and bring great diversity and energy to our most dynamic communities,” said SBS Commissioner Marie Torres-Springer.

The community partners will provide free business courses, one-on-one counseling and community-based outreach in five languages: Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Haitian-Creole and Russian. Each organization will partner with SBS and also help owners get in touch with existing services throughout the city.

“We have been able to have a great relationship with SBS and this will be able to take us to a new level and combine our roots and expertise in the neighborhood with so many other resources that SBS could offer,” said Nick Petrie, small business organizer at Make The Road NY.

Flora Vizuete, a Colombian immigrant living in Corona who is working on launching her business called Flower’s Cleaning Service, recently received help from SBS to register her company and set up a bank account.

Through getting direct help from the Business Outreach Center Network, Vizuete said she feels like everything is heading in the right direction for her business.

“It’s much easier [with their help], especially because to start you don’t know where to go. Sometimes you don’t know what to do because you are overwhelmed,” Vizuete said. “And when I went there they helped me out a lot. So far I’ve been having good luck because there are people there helping you and guiding you.”

Vizuete also added that she thinks the service will help others who are in the same situation.

“It’s going to be helpful for people because sometimes you don’t know where to find things, and so far for me it’s going [well],” Vizuete said. “And if anyone would ask me I would definitely recommend it to them.”

For more information on the services provided by the Immigrant Business Initiative, visit www.nyc.gov/immigrantbusinesses or call 311.

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Two wanted for allegedly assaulting woman videotaping anti-gay altercation on subway


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A subway ride following Gay Pride festivities last month turned from celebration to hate when two men got into an altercation with a group of LGBTQ youth.

Police are looking for those two men for allegedly assaulting a woman as she videotaped the incident on her phone.

The victim has had her own alert out for the suspects since July 2. She posted the video of the June 30 incident to YouTube in hopes of identifying and catching the two men.

According to the description that accompanies the video, the woman said she was riding on a Queens-bound F Train around 11:45 p.m. following the Gay Pride celebration when she heard the two men making loud homophobic comments.

Warning: This video contains graphic language and may be disturbing to watch.

“When a group of queer youth got on the train, the men proceeded to harass them, stating that the teens made them want to puke and that they would be killed if they were in Iran. The first assailant then threatened to rape them, at which point I took out my phone to document the incident,” she wrote.

“Seeing that he was being recorded, the first assailant lunged at me, violently grabbing my arms while trying to steal away my phone. One of the youth took the phone from me temporarily to protect it and told the assailant he shouldn’t attack a woman. When the assailant threatened to punch me, I took the phone back and ran to the other side of the train to push the emergency button and alert the authorities. At this point the second assailant got up and came towards me, grabbing my body and hands to try and get the phone to destroy the evidence. I yelled and told him I was an attorney. An onlooker then got up and stood between the assailants and myself, and another person left to get the train conductor,” she also wrote.

Durring the struggle, the victim suffered minor injuries to her hands and the suspects exited the train at the Roosevelt Avenue station, said police.

In a statement, the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP) said it was “deeply disturbed” by the video footage and encourages the community to report any LGBTQ violence.

AVP also said it is contacting the Queens District Attorney’s Office, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Councilmember Ruben Wills and community partner Make the Road New York about the incident.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477). The public can also submit their tips by logging onto Crime Stoppers website or can text their tips to CRIMES (274637), then enter TIP577. All calls are strictly confidential.

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Council enacts paid sick leave law with veto override


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

In a 47-4 vote, the City Council enacted the New York City Earned Sick Time Act Thursday, overriding Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s veto of the legislation.

The bill will eventually give paid sick leave to approximately one million New York employees who do not currently have it, and will protect them from being fired for taking a day off when they or their family members are ill.

“I was fired earlier this year when I got the flu and I took one sick day off. I have four children and it was very difficult to be out of work and have no way to support my family,” Emilio Palaguachi, a member of Make the Road New York and an Elmhurst resident said in a statement. “I’m so happy to know that, once this law goes into effect, what happened to me will not happen to any other worker in New York City.

Beginning next April, businesses with 20 or more employees will be required to give at least five paid sick days per worker. Starting in October 2015, businesses with 15 or more workers will have to do the same.

After opposing the original bill, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn helped broker a new deal and the Council passed the Earned Sick Time Act 45-3 on May 8.

“New York has traditionally been at the forefront of creating safe, fair working conditions for its people and I am proud for my colleagues to join me today in confirming this legacy,” said Councilmember Gale Brewer, the bill’s lead sponsor.

“This will greatly enhance the quality of life for the hundreds of immigrants and hard-working single mothers living and working in my district and throughout the city,” said Councilmember Julissa Ferreras.

New York joins several other cities across the country in adopting sick time policy, including Philadelphia and Portland, Oregon, according to Make the Road New York.

 

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City Council passes paid sick leave bill


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Twitter/@ChrisCQuinn

City legislators voted today to rectify the New York’s policy on paid sick leave, and now have enough support to override a veto from the mayor’s office.

Councilmembers voted 45-3 on the bill that would require businesses with 20 or more employees to give at least five paid sick days per worker beginning next April. Starting in October 2015, businesses with 15 or more workers will have to do the same.

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a mayoral candidate, helped broker the deal in its current incarnation, after opposing the parameters originally put forth.

However, Manhattan Councilmember Gale A. Brewer, who’s pushed for paid sick leave since 2010, received most of the credit during the bill’s roll call vote.

“I want to congratulate Councilmember Gale Brewer and the paid sick leave coalition,” said Councilmember Leroy Comrie. Opposed to the original standards the bill put forth, Comrie said this was a compromise that may not be ideal “but a major step forward.”

The bill also guarantees unpaid sick days to all New York workers, despite the size of their company or business.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg has repeatedly promised to veto the bill when it comes across his desk, saying it will kill small businesses across the city.

Private sector jobs were up to one of the highest numbers in the city’s history, the mayor announced during his budget address last week. In response to the bill passing, however, Bloomberg alleged the bill would back track economic development.

The bill could cost employers other employees or other benefits as they’ll have to allocate more money toward the paid sick days.

Quinn, announcing the agreement between councilmembers and labor leaders in March, said the current bill is more of a balance for workers and proprietors. The bill will also be put on hold if the city’s economy takes a downturn in the time in between.

 

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Quinn: City Council reaches deal on required paid sick leave


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Twitter/@ChrisCQuinn

Small businesses will soon be mandated to provide an allotted number of sick days, after a compromise on the much-debated legislation was struck last night.

Union leaders, advocates and city lawmakers came to a deal on the Paid Sick Leave bill, which has been opposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a mayoral candidate, for the last three years. Quinn, however, would ultimately go on to broker the deal on the bill.

It will go to the City Council, where it’s expected to pass with enough support to override a Bloomberg veto.

When the full bill kicks in a year from now, businesses with at least 20 employees will have to give workers at least five paid sick days. Companies with at least 15 or more employees must provide paid sick leave beginning October 2015.

All businesses, Quinn said when officially announcing the deal, will be required to provide unpaid sick leave beginning April 2014.

The combined paid and unpaid days would benefit more than a million New Yorkers, just under a million of which would be covered by paid sick leave, according to Quinn.

Although publically opposing the parameters of the plan for years, Quinn said she always supported the goals of the bill and striking an agreement was a matter of how and when.

But, should the economy take another downturn, the bill, expected to pass the council in late April, would be delayed until the city and small businesses can sustain it.

The effects on small business have been a concern since Manhattan Councilmember Gale A. Brewer started pushing for the bill three years ago.

This deal, Quinn said, found the balance on benefiting workers without hurting their employers.

“It’s been my goal to make sure that when we provide this important benefit to millions of people who need access to paid sick leave,” she said. “We did it without creating an administrative burden on those businesses that currently offer the benefit when they can least afford it.”

Advocacy groups and unions have reacted positively to the announcement. They have particularly applauded Brewer’s work and that workers don’t have to fear being fired to take a day off to rest, or care for another.

“No longer will a parent have to make the impossible choice whether to stay home to care for a sick child or go to work to feed their family,” said Javier Valdez, co-executive director of Make the Road New York.

32BJ SEIU President Hector Figueroa said the bill would set the bar nationwide for providing paid sick leave to workers.

“We are telling not only New York, but the nation, that the time is right. The time is right to take care of one another. The time is right to make it easy for working people to provide for their families. And the time is right to be able to reconcile the interests of business with the interests of the majority of the working population.”

The Queens business community also appreciates that the deal finds a balance between helping workers and not affecting merchants, said Jack Friedman, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce.

“We applaud her [Quinn’s] efforts and the efforts of Councilmember Gale Brewer,” Friedman said. “We appreciate the fact that she listened to us throughout the process and we’re 100-percent behind her decision.”

 

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Elmhurst worker fired for single sick day


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Alex DiBlasi

For four months, Emilio Palaguachi, 43, worked 60-hour weeks behind the counter at Superior Deli on the Lower East Side. One day, he felt ill, and with the permission of his manager, missed a day of work to visit a doctor. But when he returned to work the next day, he was handed one day’s pay and fired.

“They didn’t give me any explanation,” said Palaguachi to a translator. “I asked if I had done something wrong and nobody knew what to say. Actually, everyone [co-workers] was upset because of how I was fired.”

As New York battles through one of the worst flu seasons in recent history, the divisive issue of sick leave hits hard with many workers struggling between recuperating from illness and retaining their jobs. More than a million New York City workers lack paid sick days, most operating in the food service, retail and health care industries, according to the NYC Paid Sick Days Campaign.

In August of 2009, the Paid Sick Time Act was first introduced to the New York City Council garnering support from members of the council, residents and civil rights groups. In 2012, the bill was revisited and rewritten to require businesses with more than 20 employees to allot nine paid sick days; companies with five to 20 workers to grant five days; and small businesses with fewer than five employees designate five unpaid, but job-protected, sick days each year. The bill has yet to be voted on by the council.

Julissa Bisono of Make the Road New York, a Jackson Heights based social justice organization, said opposition to the bill comes from small businesses, fearful that paid sick days may lead to bankruptcy.

“This bill will not only give people paid sick days but protect their jobs so they don’t come in the next day and find out that they don’t have a job because they took the day off to recover,” said Bisono.

Although the bill has 37 co-sponsors, City Council Speaker and mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn remains opposed, citing the city’s current economic status.

“This issue of paid sick leave, it’s a laudable goal,” Quinn said. “But in this economy if we do it right now in the way envisioned in the bill we’re going to put people out of business and we are going to lose jobs. This is not the right time to do it.”

Postponed by Superstorm Sandy, a second hearing on the bill has yet to be set by Quinn.

Palaguachi, who supports his wife and four young children, is concerned about finding another job and providing for his family. While his search has not yet been successful, Palaguachi said he hopes his next position will include benefits, sick days and days off for Christmas and Thanksgiving.

“Workers like me should be able to go to the doctor if we feel bad, and not show up to work if we are feeling ill, especially if we handle food and see customers,” said Palaguachi. “A lot of people can’t afford to take a day off. A lot of people don’t take off because they don’t want to lose their job. If someone is sick, this law will help prevent people from getting sick. You can go to the doctor and you’re not worried about losing your job.”

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Monday: Clear in the morning, then partly cloudy. High of 77. Breezy. Winds from the West at 15 to 20 mph shifting to the NNW in the afternoon. Monday night: Partly cloudy in the evening, then clear. Low of 57. Winds from the SW at 5 to 15 mph.

EVENT of the DAY

Monday is the opening of a special retrospective exhibit of Swiss abstract artist H.A. Sigg. at the Godwin-Ternbach Museum at Queens College. The exhibit ends October 26. Free. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Career criminal surrenders in Queens shooting of highly decorated cop

A career criminal who was on the lam for about a month after shooting a highly decorated NYPD sergeant in Queens turned himself in Sunday, police said. Read more: New York Daily News 

Brooklyn, Queens locals clean up damage from two tornadoes

Cleanup efforts continued in Brooklyn and Queens on Sunday, a day after tornadoes roared through parts of both boroughs, and residents were relieved to know that no one was reported injured by the twisters. Read more: NY1

Queens carwash’s employees are first in city to join union

Workers at a carwash in Queens have overwhelmingly voted to join a union, organizers said Sunday, in the first major victory in a six-month effort in New York City to unionize workers in an industry the organizers say is rife with labor law violations. Read more: New York Times

Queens trio to launch co-working space in Astoria

A trio of Astorians are trying to entice local freelancers, entrepreneurs and stay-at-home employees out of their homes and corner coffee shops and into a communal working space. Read more: New York Daily News

Significant help reportedly on the way for those who got sick after 9/11

The 11th anniversary of 9/11 is just two days away, and now help may finally be on the way for those who got sick after the September 11th terrorist attacks. Read more: CBS New York

Obama squeaks out Aug. fundraising win over Romney

President Barack Obama squeaked out a fundraising victory over Mitt Romney in August as the candidates gear up for the final stretch of their closely contested campaign. Read more: AP