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For immediate release: July 20, 2016
Contact: Craig Smith
Email: press@ocfs.ny.gov
Phone: 518-402-3130

Governor Cuomo Announces Employers to Repay Nearly $4 Million in Back Wages and Damages to More Than 7,500 Workers

Exploited Workers Task Force Launches Investigation into the Exploitation of Workers in the Dry Cleaning Industry; Places State on a Path to Ban Use of PERC

Governor to Award $5 Million in Grants to Improve Worker Health and Safety Across New York

Governor Signs Executive Order to Establish Permanent Task Force on Employee Exploitation and Misclassification

Task Force Releases One-Year Report, Recommendations to Protect Workers Against Predatory Practices

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the Task Force to Combat Worker Exploitation has directed 1,547 businesses to pay nearly $4 million in back wages and damages to more than 7,500 workers since its inception in July 2015. The Governor also announced several initiatives to improve worker health and safety, including a multi-agency investigation into the exploitation of dry cleaning workers and a coordinated effort to ban harmful chemicals, such as perchlorethylene (PERC), that are commonly used in the industry.

The State will also launch a new $5 million grant program and RFP for non-profit organizations to expand services to help exploited workers. The Governor marked the one-year anniversary of the task force at an event in Manhattan where he signed Executive Order No. 159 to establish a permanent, statewide task force on employee exploitation and misclassification. The announcements follow the release of the Task Force’s one-year report, which includes recommendations to protect workers against predatory practices.

“In New York, we believe that anyone who seeks to build a better future for themselves can do so in the Empire State – and we will not allow the unscrupulous practices of businesses to stand in the way,” Governor Cuomo said. “From creating the first-of-its kind Task Force, to enacting unprecedented protections for nail salon workers, our administration has made great strides to root out injustices in industries where employees are routinely victimized – and today’s announcement is proof that our efforts are working. Through these actions, we are continuing our progress to revive the American Dream and ultimately chart a better future for the hardworking men and women of New York.”