We’ll Miss You, Marty!

On March 30, Community Affairs Officer Martin Baranski retired from the 6th Precinct after 31 years of service, six of which were served as Community Affairs Officer. Marty was well-known and well-liked in the neighborhood, and will be missed.

He was honored with a walk-out celebration, which was only slightly dampened by the pouring rain; the walk had to take place in the precinct driveway overhang. The celebration consisted of an NYPD color guard and a line of officers on one side, community friends on the other, all applauding and offering hugs and handshakes as he walked out to Charles Street, waving goodbye.

When asked what he’ll now do with his time, he said he planned on restoring a few cars he’s picked up over the years.

We wish him good luck and happy days ahead.

Photos Courtesy of 6th Precinct

Freelancers Rejoice! Historic Bill Passes City Council

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On October 27, the City Council voted unanimously to pass the Freelance Isn’t Free Bill, introduced by The Freelancers Union and Councilman Brad Lander. The bill  is the first wage theft legislation in the nation, and will encourage other cities to follow suit. (See article on City Council hearing on the bill, below).

The bill will go into effect in 180 days — April 25, 2017, if signed by Bill de Blasio.

Some of the provisions of the bill:

• Employers must pay freelancers in full 30 days after services are completed (or an   agreed upon date)
• Employers will be required to provide a written contract to freelancers working on projects for which they will be paid $800 or more.
• Freelancers who bring successful litigation against employers in breach of the law will be entitled to double damages as well as attorneys’ fees.
• Employers cannot retaliate against freelancers who seek to enforce their rights.
• The director of the Department of Consumer Affairs will be able to enforce the updated labor regulations for freelancers.
• Freelancers can file complaints against non-payment and late-payment with the NYC Department of Labor Standards.
• Delinquent clients found guilty of nonpayment in small claims court will face an escalating series of penalties.

The bill includes many more protections for freelancers and contract workers. To see the full legislation, go here:http://legistar.council.nyc.gov/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2530972&GUID=61F8754B-80AF-493E-895E-D6D17209776E

West Village Word and our entire community of freelance and contract workers give thanks to the Freelancers Union and Executive Director Sara Horowitz, Council Member Brad Lander and the entire City Council.

Conflict of Interest: Yet Another Reason to Be Frightened of a Trump Presidency

Did You Know that Federal Elected Officials are Immune to Any Laws or Regulations Regarding Conflicts of Interest?

Donald Trump shrugging_1464134140358_5738048_ver1.0_1280_720Yes, Unfortunately it’s true, and has been abused in the past, according to The Huffington Post.

But for the sake of appearances, most in these positions of power have made an effort to make appropriate efforts to appear clean by removing themselves from involvements with corporations that could profit from their federal positions of power.

A case of note is Dick Cheney. When he became Vice President, he removed himself from operations within Halliburton, and promised to donate any income he made to charity, which we’re sure he did. But how many contracts were given to Halliburton during his Vice Presidency, and how did that affect his profits and stock options once he left office?

Imagine Donald Trump as President and how he could further his TrumpPutinMuralbusiness interests while serving in that office. We can only guess as to whether or not he’d give up his position in the Trump Organization while in office, giving over management to daughter Ivanka, but we wonder about his overtures to Kim Jong Un and Vladimir Putin, and whoever else he may court in the future. Will Trump businesses expand into Russia and North Korea?

And how many other ways could a President Trump ultimately expand his business interests from his powerful position?

To read the article about past Presidents and VP’s and their conflicts of interest, go to the Huffington Post article, President Trump Won’t Have To Tell CEO Trump ‘You’re Fired’

 

 

Power to the Freelancers!!

Public Hearing on Freelance Isnt Free Bill at
City Council Chambers on February 29

By Stephanie Phelan

FU_90DaysAd_WebsiteOur economy has changed a lot of the past several years, and because of that, the United States now has nearly 54 million freelancers and New York City is home to approximately 1.3 million of them. These include people in all fields ranging from those in the creative fields to carpenters, financial advisers, consultants—anyone who is an independent contractor.

In the mid 1990’s, Sara Horowitz was practicing as a lawyer when she saw that the workforce was changing dramatically, and, following in the footsteps of both of her parents who were labor organizers,  she decided to start organizing the freelance workforce, which is now Freelancers Union. The importance of the union was publicly established when, in 2009 Mayor Bloomberg announced a partnership between the city and the union. The union now has approximately 300,000 members nationwide.

Sara Horowitz’s first priority, when she started the union, was to use the union’s bargaining power to get affordable health insurance for its members, which she did, and today her goal is to push for new laws to help freelancers get paid, and get paid on time.

Late and nonpayment for freelance work is one of the major problems that freelancers face, and labor laws, as they now stand, offer little or no protection against clients who don’t pay.

According to a survey done by Freelancers Union in 2015, The average unpaid freelance worker loses almost $6000 annually –  and 81% of those who had payment trouble in 2014 said they were paid late; 34% cited instances of not being paid at all. Late payments averaged $5,735.

The Freelancers Union now has a bill before the City Council, introduced by Councilman Brad Lander. The Freelance Isn’t Free bill, according to The Washington Post,  would “impose civil and criminal penalties for taking longer than 30 days to deliver payments, and award double damages plus attorneys fees to contractors who’ve been stiffed”.

A  majority of City Council members support the bill, including our Councilman Corey Johnson, who is strongly behind it.

REPORT ON HEARING THAT WAS HELD FEBRUARY 29

The City Council Chambers had a packed crowd, and a number of freelancers spoke about the different a horrifying ways in which they’d been stiffed by clients. The most impressive speakers, however, were representatives of major unions and professional groups, representing several million freelancers and independent workers, all in favor of the bill.

City Councilman Brad Lander, who introduced the bill, had intelligent comments and questions for the speakers, and he is certainly a great champion of the cause.

There are many hurdles to face before the bill passes and goes into effect, but if you’re a freelancer or independent worker, it’s important for you to join the Freelancers Union or any union or professional organization that represents you, and write to your City Council member, the Mayor, and the Governor about how important Freelance Isn’t Free is. The current amount of wage theft affects not only our lives, but the local and national economy.

Mini-Gallery

The JourneyOfTransformation

LovPieceChessMatch

If you’ve walked r down the uptown side of West 10th Street between Hudson and Bleecker, you’ve probably been curious about the display window at 223 West 10th.

In 2000, Time Equities established a program, Art-in-Buildings,  to showcase the works of contemporary artists in some of their building spaces. Since the first installation at 125 Maiden Lane, the program has expanded to different sites including the small street-level window on West 10th Street.

Recent displays include Cui Fei’s The Journey of Transformation (top), and Love Piece (center left) by Kirsten McIver. The current exhibit is Liliya Lifanova’s Study for L’Attentewhich (center right) which will be in the window until March 18th.

For more information on the art and artists, go to http://teiartinbuildings.com.

 

The Good…

The 6th Precinct Entry Gets a Makeover

Planters1

PrecinctPlanterShieldSmallIf you’ve passed by the 6th Precinct over the last few years, you’ve seen the disgraceful deterioration of the long horizontal planters on either side of the front door. There was a time, long ago, when a volunteer, an Auxiliary Police Officer who loved gardening, planted and maintained flowers in those planters, but that time is long past.

Luckily, a generous neighbor and local building owner, Bruce Camacho,  gave his time and efforts to having the old planters torn down and replaced with several attractive planters. And as if that weren’t enough, he had a fence built with a shield carrying the name “6th Pct” placed on the fence. The fence looks great and hopefully, will discourage people from throwing trash in the planters.

A great big thanks to Bruce Comacho!

Show us Your Favorite Tree Surround or Street Planting

TreeSurrrondCaptionAll around the neighborhood, building owners and residents are devoting time and efforts to beautifying their streets with beautiful plantings in their tree surrounds. The Charles Street Association and other Block Associations get all their neighbors out to help with plantings every year, and building owners also realize that the look of their block is much improved by beautiful flowers and plants.

Take a picture of a street planting or tree surround that you think is beautiful, and we’ll choose the best of them to publish on this site.

Please include the location, and if you’re a botanical-minded type, the names of the plants. Send your photos to westvillageword@earthlink.net.