New York's first online Workers' Rights Handbook covering salient updates to labor law and a comprehensive set of resources serving workers in our community has launched on the Tompkins County Workers' Center’s website, thanks in large part to ILRie Cecilia Faringer-Perez ’18.
The resource she completed alongside worker center co-founder Carl Feuer, Ph.D. ’83 is a “brilliant example of Cornell's reach beyond the confines of campus,” Faringer-Perez said.
Faringer-Perez joined the center as a worker advocate in 2020, serving the community through the Workers’ Rights Hotline. It took her and Feuer roughly two months to complete the online handbook, which the center hopes will increase language accessibility through its built-in translation tool and extend the Workers’ Center’s overall reach.
According to Faringer-Perez, the knowledge she built through her ILR coursework on labor law with Professor Kati Griffith most directly informed her work with the center.
“In our highly individualistic society, most people are forced to fight against labor law violations on their own,” Faringer-Perez said. “We receive numerous calls from folks who are grappling with wage theft, retaliation and other unfair labor practices on a daily basis. Our Workers' Rights Handbook arms workers with pertinent knowledge of current labor laws and vital resources, which bolsters their agency to fight against workplace injustice and safeguard their rights.”
Now in its fourth edition, the handbook was first published in 2003 by the Cortland Workers’ Rights Board to provide comprehensive, yet concise information about workplace rights in New York. While it is not meant to give legal advice concerning the specific conduct of an employer or the actions of any public or private agency, the handbook tries to clarify what individuals need to know to assert their rights and to be treated fairly.
The switch to an online format has paid off, as the center’s hotline has seen a 10% increase in calls this past month.
“As an organization, we are looking to maximize the hotline's impact as an organizing tool and are currently implementing some changes to our intake process,” Faringer-Perez said. “It's all hands on deck to ensure that we optimize the center's reach as much as possible.”
This story also appears on the ILR website.
Julie Greco is a communications specialist with the ILR School.