New York State Assembly, Albany, New York 12248

The NY State Assembly
Labor Committee

Catherine Nolan, Chair

Labor Alert

March 18, 2002


For the fourth consecutive year the Assembly has passed health care whistleblower protection legislation that would protect health care workers who make public instances of wrongdoing by health care facilties. The bill has also been agreed to by the Senate and the Governor.

The bill, A.9454, sponsored by Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, would prohibit health care employers from retaliating against their workers who advocate for patient care by going public with cases of institutional wrongdoing. The bill establishes a reasonable belief that a law was violated as basis for protection; uses civil action in courts instead of administrative remedy; and calls for a fine of up to $10,000 into a special fund for improving the quality of health care.

"I am grateful to Speaker Silver for his leadership and unwavering support on this issue. New Yorkers rely on their health care professionals to be qualified and conscientious," said Nolan. "These workers play a critical role in ensuring quality health care and must be afforded protections. I applaud the New York State Nurses Association for their work on this important issue."

"We're proud of New York's nurses and members of the Assembly who refused to let this issue die after the veto of a whistleblower bill last year," said Tina Gerardi, deputy executive director of the New York State Nurses Association.

"The Assembly for many years passed legislation designed to get justice for nurses who are penalized by their employers when they courageously speak up about unsafe patient care. Nurses must be able to fulfill their roles as patient advocates and have confidence that the law will support them," said Gerardi.


The Assembly's Labor Committee met for the fourth time recently and hosted guest speaker William Thompson, Comptroller of the City of New York. Comptroller Thompson discussed his agency's actions with regard to prevailing wage enforcement. The Comptroller stated that his office is concentrating on a more aggressive approach to prevailing wage enforcement by conducting field investigations and on-site visits in an effort to crack down on large violations.

In addition to the guest speaker, the Labor Committee acted on the following proposals. For further information on these or other issues, please contact Geri Reilly, Committee Counsel and Labor Liaison at (518) 455-4851.

  • A. 9876 (Nolan, M.Cohen, Colman, John) - This new bill was drafted after concerns raised by the Sheetmetal Workers concerning the safety training of certain union workers. It requires that public work contracts specify that laborers, workers and mechanics complete a ten-hour course approved by OSHA in construction safety and health, a course commonly utilized in union sponsored safety programs. REPORTED to Ways & Means
  • K1945 (Nolan, Aubry, Brennan, Canestrari, M.Cohen, Colman) - This resolution supports the Department of Labor's request for an emergency grant of $266 million to offset costs associated with the loss of jobs and revenue as a result of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks. REPORTED to the floor
  • K1860 (Nolan, Abbate, Eddington, Green, Markey, Millman, Tocci) - This resolution requests that Congress legislate that victims of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks be allowed to receive Social Security Disability benefits free from workers' compensation deductions. REPORTED to the floor


On March 14, 2002, Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan, the NYS AFL-CIO and the Task Force on Paid Family Leave sponsored a public forum at LaGuardia Community College in Queens. The goal of the forum was to educate and develop public awareness for paid family leave.

Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan has sponsored a bill, A. 7405, to amend New York's Temporary Disability Insurance Law (TDI) to allow workers to receive TDI benefits to care for newborn or newly adopted children, parents or spouses with serious health conditions; recover from your own serious health condition; take bereavement leave and leave to attend meetings with a child's teacher or school.

"The forum was a success, with individuals testifying about their need to take time off to attend to a sick parent, child or spouse and not knowing that even unpaid leave was available," said Nolan. "We have reported this important bill out of the Labor Committee and I am hopeful that it will go to the Assembly floor for passage. I would especially like to thank Ed Donnelly of the NYS AFL-CIO and Donna Dolan of CWA for their hard work on this issue."