Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tools for Contacting Speaker Christine Quinn

Write Speaker Christine Quinn 

Email Speaker Christine Quinn through her page on the NYC City Council websiteand ask that she make sure F.R.E.S.H. includes labor standards

Sample letter:

Dear Speaker Quinn,

New York City is becoming increasingly unaffordable, and many New Yorkers lack access to basic rights like the right to healthy food and the right to a dignified job with a living wage and benefits. Thank you for your leadership and all that you have done to tackle these issues. 

A coalition of labor, community and faith leaders are calling for labor standards to be included F.R.E.S.H. We believe that F.R.E.S.H. is a strong step toward developing better food access. Taxpayer dollars, however, should not subsidize stores that pay poverty-level wages. F.R.E.S.H. must not contribute to poverty and gentrification—especially since the community districts affected by F.R.E.S.H. already suffer from the highest rates of poverty. Subsidies should only go to stores that pay living wages, provide decent benefits, and have clear promotional policies.

F.R.E.S.H. needs standards to guarantee that participating stores will empower communities, provide good food, and incentivize the development of living-wage jobs. We hope that City Council will amend the F.R.E.S.H. program, so that F.R.E.S.H. will alleviate rather than exacerbate poverty. Council support for the zoning incentives should be contingent on the inclusion of standards in the EDC financial subsidies. 

We will support the F.R.E.S.H. zoning changes if community, environmental, and good job standards are attached to the financial subsidies included in the program. Only by guaranteeing good food and good jobs to all New Yorkers can we alleviate poverty and improve health. Thank you for your support.


Call Speaker Christine Quinn

Dial: (212) 788-7210

Introduce yourself and ask to speak with her legislative director or leave a message.

Say why you are calling

I am calling to make sure that the Food Retail Expansion to Support Health Initiative, to be voted on by the City Council includes labor standards.

Ask for a specific action: 

Use the following sentence or your own words: 

I am calling to ask that the Speaker continue to make progress in attaching labor standards to the financial subsidies triggered by participation in F.R.E.S.H.

Give reasons why:

- Without good jobs standards, taxpayer money may subsidize unscrupulous stores that exploit workers and take advantage of communities.


Good Jobs: The supermarket should be required to commit, in order to be eligible for the program, that all jobs at the store will meet minimum good jobs standards, defined as providing wages and contributions for benefits that are no lower than those prevailing in the New York City supermarket industry (taking into account a differential between full-time and part-time employees).  

Job Creation: Because the public should see maximum return from public investments, priority should be given to supermarkets that will create the most jobs per public dollar spent with a preference for supermarkets with more than 25 employees.

Local Hiring: The supermarket should participate in a "First Source" hiring system that links employers with community residents and low-income New Yorkers.

Good Food: Stores should participate in the Pride of New York Program.

Transparency: The participating supermarket should be required to report publicly on a bi-annual or annual basis with information necessary to evaluate the food quality and employment standards (e.g. job and wage data) at the supermarkets participating in the loan program. All information should be available online.

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