NCLEJ supports individuals and families secure a meaningful safety net and protections they deserve. Examples of our work include:
- RESEARCH AND ADVOCACY:
- Our report, Designed to Exclude: New York’s Failure to Provide Compensation and Language Access to Unemployed Workers, details the New York State Department of Labor’s failure during the COVID-19 pandemic to make unemployment insurance accessible to workers who have limited English proficiency. As unemployment skyrocketed, many were denied benefits, turned to food banks, resorted to homeless shelters, and went hungry. Community organizations became the only access point to unemployment benefits for New York’s 2.5 million workers with limited English proficiency. Read the report in English and Spanish.
- Together with the Legal Aid Society and the Urban Justice Center, we released a report showing the difficulties low-wage workers face in collecting their stolen wages and advocating for the passage of the SWEAT bill (A5501) to create a wage lien in New York State. “Empty Judgments: The Wage Collection Crisis in New York” details how unscrupulous employers often evade paying wage judgments, even when they have been ordered to by a court or the Department of Labor. Read the report.
- OUTREACH AND EDUCATION: In Kentucky, Georgia, Washington, and California, we have delivered state-specific webinars to advocates in legal services and disability rights to inform them on the basic coverages of the Americans with Disabilities Act and other laws, and how they can be used on behalf of clients who are navigating the public benefits system.
- EXPANDING ACCESS TO PUBLIC BENEFITS: The Ulster County, New York Sheriff’s Office began running criminal warrant checks on all visitors to the County Department of Social Services in October 2014. Along with the New York Civil Liberties Union, we wrote to county officials demanding that they rescind this unlawful policy, which discourages people from seeking assistance. In November 2014, the Sheriff agreed to suspend the warrant check practice in response to our demands. Read more.
- DEMANDING ACCOUNTABILITY FROM GOVERNMENT AGENCIES: On behalf of the National Mobilization Against Sweatshops, we sent a demand letter to the New York State Department of Labor to thoroughly and promptly investigate its unacceptable backlog of cases. Since then, backlog has been reduced dramatically and the DOL has implemented monthly meetings with advocates to address their concerns. Read the press release.