Gov. Cuomo signs Utility Worker Assault Bill

Friday, August 19, 2016

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation that will strengthen protections for employees who are prone to assault.

The measure elevates assaults on utility workers (S2251-A / A4738-A), station and terminal cleaners (S8104 / A10048-B), and process servers (S2991-A / A6772-A) from a misdemeanor to a D felony.

"These workers perform tasks that are vital to the operation of New York institutions and have increasingly become the targets of aggression and assaults," Governor Cuomo said. "Signing these measures into law will help better protect these employees from harm and I thank the sponsors for their work to get them passed."

Several laws have previously been enacted to extend protections to employee classes similarly prone to attacks, including other MTA employees, emergency medical service providers and emergency medical
service technicians.

Senator William Larkin said, "I sponsored this legislation after hearing from a utility worker in my district who was violently attacked while simply doing his job. His story is unfortunately not unique. I applaud the Governor for signing this legislation to improve worksite safety for utility workers."

Assemblyman Francisco Moya said, "After years of hard work, I am ecstatic to have seen the passage of A4738 this legislative session and now the signing of the bill by Governor Cuomo. By making the assault of a utility worker a felony, this law will provide critical protections to workers that enter into private homes daily and put themselves at risk. This bill brought together labor and industry to fight to keep workers safe. I applaud all of my brothers and sisters in labor, the industry, my colleagues, and the Governor for making this crucial bill a law."

Senator Kevin Parker said, "I enthusiastically applaud Governor Cuomo for signing my legislation, Senate Bill S. 8104-A, into law as the passage of this bill increases the penalty for assaulting our MTA station and
terminal workers to a class D felony. Although laws were enacted in 2002 to protect and deter assaults on transit employees while performing their duties, the law did not include station and terminal workers. Today, thanks to Governor Cuomo and my colleagues in the State Legislature, station and terminal workers will be added to the list of covered MTA employees. I am extremely proud to be a part of this milestone achievement and I stand eager to continue working with the Governor and Legislature to pass laws that improve the quality of life of New York State residents."

Assemblywoman Diana C. Richardson said, "I thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership in protecting the rights of our hardworking brothers and sisters in New York State. No employee should have to work facing the threat of assault and this legislation will help ensure a hardworking and dedicated part of our workforce is properly protected under the law. I am proud to stand with the Governor on this issue and thank him for signing this important piece of legislation."

Senator Catharine Young said, "Process servers play an important role in our justice system. It is reprehensible that someone would intentionally injure a process server simply for conducting the business of the courts and citizens of New York State. This new protection will elevate repercussions for those who harm process servers, keeping more New Yorkers safe."

Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow said, "Process servers are considered the legal system's delivery agents and should be given the same laws of protection as we do law enforcement agents. This legislation will give
process servers the protection they need and deserve and I thank Governor Cuomo for signing it into law."

The above text was a Press Release from Governor Andrew Cuomo, below is a statement from the NYS AFL-CIO;

Statement of New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento on Worker Safety Legislation

We are pleased Governor Cuomo has signed into law important safety bills that will help deter violence against workers providing public services.

Utility workers must often enter private residences alone, deliver unwelcome news and as such, are routinely subject to threats, harassment or worse.

And, cleaners at various subway, train and other transportation facilities are exposed to many of the same potential dangerous situations as they often work alone during all hours of the day and night.

We thank the Governor for recognizing the importance of workplace safety by signing into law S2251-A/A4738-A for utility workers and S8104/A10048-B for station and terminal cleaners, elevating assaults on these workers from a misdemeanor to a Class D felony.

We also thank Senators William Larkin, Kevin Parker, and Catharine Young and Assembly Members Francisco Moya, Diane Richardson and Gary Pretlow for their support on this critical legislation. 

The New York State AFL-CIO is a federation of 3,000 affiliated public sector, private sector, and building trades unions throughout the state representing 2.5 million members, retirees and their families. Our State Federation, which is the largest and most diverse in the country, is committed to helping working families achieve a better life. For more information on the Labor Movement in New York, visit www.nysaflcio.org.