New York's Top Labor Leaders Call for 100% Smoke-Free Workplace Legslation
In a full page as appearing today in The New York Times, the city's top labor and health groups call on the City Council to make all workplaces, including small restaurants and the bar area of all restaurants, bars, and nightclubs 100% smoke-free. The Ci
The groups explain in the ad, "We are not prohibitionists. We do not want to prohibit smoking. Smokers have every right to smoke and hurt themselves. They should not, however, have the right to hurt innocent people who don't want to breathe their smoke. No one should have to inhale poison to hold a job."
Prior to the ad, Local 1199 President Dennis Rivera wrote in a letter to City Council Speaker Peter Vallone, "You have shown outstanding leadership on this issue, and we urge you to back up yourr words with legislative action." Randi Weingarten, president of the United Federation of Teachers wrote, "The powerful lobby of the tobacco industry would have us believe that strengthening this law would hurt the businesses affected. Yet, studies have shown that New York City businesses covered by the existing law have actually seen an increase in customers."
Sonny Hall, International President of the Transport Workers Union wrote, "I write this letter in full support of your effort, as the Speaker of New York City Council, to help people to have a longer and healthier life by passing laws that will end smoking in the workplace." Lee Saunders, Administrator of District Council 37 wrote, "We hope the City Council, under your leadership, will extend the smoke-free workplace law to allow all workers to work in a healthy environment."
Carroll Haynes, President of Local 237 Teamsters, wrote, "You have shown outstanding leadership on this issue, and we urge you to continue. The Environmental Protection Agency has classified eight substances as Group A carcinogens. One of them is tobacco smoke. The other seven, including abestos, benzene, arsenic, and radon, are illegal in the workplace." Arthur Cheliotes, President of Local 1180 Communication Workers, wrote, "The vast majority of people prefer to breathe clean air. The tobacco cartel and its propaganda machine will try to convine you otherwise."
Among the public health groups listed in the ad are the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association, American Heart Association, Smokefree Educational Services, and the Womenâ€™s Medical Association.
The ad was funded by the Coalition for a Smoke-Free City.