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CWA District 1, Senate Majority Leader, Electeds Call for the Inclusion of Strong Labor Standards for Broadband Funding in Budget

29 Mar, 2022

For Immediate Release: March 29, 2022
Contact: Rendy Desamours, 

CWA District 1, Senate Majority Leader, Electeds Call for the Inclusion of Strong Labor Standards for Broadband Funding in Budget

Public Funding for Broadband Should Require Providers Who Are Committed to High Quality Networks, Good Jobs and Safe Deployment that Guarantees Universal Access to Broadband for All New Yorkers

Demands Come As FY23 Budget Approaches on April 1

Albany, NY - As the state budget deadline rapidly approaches, the Communications Workers of America District 1, Senator Sean Ryan, Assemblymembers Nily Rozic and Amy Paulin, and Citizen Action New York, held a press conference today at West Capitol Park demanding the state legislature and Governor attach labor standards language to the state’s Fiscal Year 2023 broadband funding to require experienced workers to build high quality networks and ensure New Yorkers get the internet access they deserve.

Speakers highlighted the importance of using local, trained workers to build this historic investment in broadband infrastructure. They also expressed concern over the potential hiring of out-of-state contractors who lack a connection to the communities which they serve and could result in low-quality internet service for many New Yorkers already suffering from the digital divide. 

In her executive budget, Governor Hochul proposed her $1.4 billion ConnectAll plan which would expand the state's broadband and digital infrastructure and increase access to high speed internet for New Yorkers statewide. The State Senate, in their one house budget resolution, included labor standards language for the funding allocated to broadband expansion.

“In just a matter of days, New York will invest over a billion dollars into expanding broadband in all corners of the state,” said CWA District One Vice President Dennis Trainor. “This tremendous investment is crucial to ending the digital divide in our state but we must get it right from the start. The final state budget must include labor standards attached to public funding for broadband. With standards in place from the get-go, New York can ensure it will have high-quality broadband safely and expertly built by experienced union workers.”

"For our state to continue economic development and growth, we must invest in reliable high-speed internet service. The “ConnectALL” program our conference is supporting in this year's budget will help close the digital divide and reach our underserved areas. As we work to expand broadband access across our state it is crucial the state partners with providers who are committed to high safety standards. I'm proud to support CWA and our telecom labor force by calling for the use of high-road employers and use of fiber technology to build these high-quality networks. By using our best workers we are ensuring that this investment in infrastructure is done in a responsible way that will stand the test of time," said Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins

"As we work to map broadband coverage across New York and deploy more high-speed internet to every corner of our state, we have a unique opportunity to ensure that good-paying union jobs are created in our communities,” said Senator Ryan. “Access to broadband is essential in the 21st century, and I'm proud to join with my colleagues and CWA as we advocate for transformative policy in this year's state budget."

"If the pandemic has taught us anything, it's that high-speed, reliable broadband is essential to daily life in New York," said Assemblywoman Rozic. "With over $1.5 billion in federal funding for broadband infrastructure, New York needs to ensure that projects are funded effectively and transparently. Adding labor and quality standards are essential in providing broadband service to all consumers."

“Access to high-speed broadband is essential. The last two years of remote work and school have shown us that there are still very large gaps in access across New York State. This proposed $1.6 billion investment in broadband will go a long way towards closing these gaps, but any new program created must be designed to ensure that the infrastructure work is of high-quality and that telecom jobs are protected,” said Assemblywoman Paulin.

"Thanks to the Federal Infrastructure Package, we finally have the resources to make sure that all New Yorkers have access to high speed broadband which is necessary for work and school," said Rebecca Garrard, Legislative Director for Citizen Action of New York. "Now we have to make sure that we invest this money in building the highest quality fiber networks and safeguard good jobs for telecom workers."




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