Union workers, legislators show support for bill expanding service worker protections

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Union workers and members of the Westchester County Board of Legislators gathered in White Plains Monday afternoon to show support for a bill that would close significant loopholes in a law intended to prevent workers from suddenly losing their jobs.

The Displaced Service Employees Protection Law, passed in 2013, and was intended to provide a brief period of job protection for maintenance workers if their building's ownership changed hands. Protesters say the law is not working and needs to be improved.

"Job protection is very important for people. Imagine what it would be like if you came to work one day and all of a sudden, there was a new company and you didn't know who the company was and that was the end of your employment. So the purpose of this is to provide continuity and job security and give the incumbent employees a chance to prove their worth to the new company," said Lenore Friedlaender, of 32BJ SEIU.

County Legislator Catherine Borgia says the amendments are basically to tighten up that law so that the intention of the law is honored.

One loophole included that the current law only applies to companies that employ 15 workers or more, which means any worker a part of a company that's smaller than that could lose their job without warning.

The amendments to the Displaced Service Employees protection law include a longer period of job protection while employees find new work and shrinking the company size requirement. The law will now apply to companies with at least five employees as opposed to the previous 15. It will also include more transparency between the companies and its workers.

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