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Stephon Johnson

Stories by Stephon

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Comptroller audit points to vacant NYCHA units

An audit has confirmed what many have suspected—plenty of public housing vacancies are available that aren’t being filled.

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Ex-offenders sue for discrimination

Last Thursday, the NAACP New York State Conference Metropolitan Council of Branches filed a class action lawsuit against employers who use the job sites Monster, ZipRecruiter and Indeed to illegally post job listings in New York with bans on applicants with felony convictions.

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Local legislators weigh in on marriage equality

Last Friday marked the beginning of a historic Pride Week in New York City and around the country, when the U.S. Supreme Court voted 5-4 in favor of marriage equality.

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A tentative deal has been reached on rent regulation, but many feel as if Albany simply kicked the can down the road

According to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the renewed rent laws include an increase in the decontrol threshold for vacant rent stabilized units.

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Report: How ‘Unheard Third’ deals with poverty

A new report from the Community Service Society chronicles how a group of New Yorkers who are constantly discussed, but never heard from feel about their situation.

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Landscape company caught not paying overtime, defrauding state on unemployment

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman caught a landscaping company red-handed and is asking them to pay up.

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De Blasio pulling a boulder uphill with charter mess

Some New Yorkers might wonder aloud who’s exactly in charge of education in New York City.

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32BJ, 1199 union members shine in art exhibit

Art exhibits tend to be associated with the upper class and sophistication.

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Firefighters, officers to de Blasio: ‘We need a better disability plan’

Wednesday afternoon, over 1,000 New York City firefighters and police officers made their way to Albany, N.Y., to rally in front of the New York Capitol.

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Musician’s union & 54 Below reach new agreement

Monday, the Associated Musicians of Greater New York Local 802 AFM announced a new collective bargaining agreement with the New York venue, 54 Below.

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Mayor de Blasio: How's he doing?

On Tuesday night’s episode of “The Daily Show,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke with host Jon Stewart about his increased national profile.

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McDonald’s workers march to corporate headquarters

Last week, 5,000 McDonald’s workers made their way to the company’s headquarters in the largest ever protest at the annual shareholder meeting.

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Activists react to Bratton’s ‘offensive’ comments

New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton used a recent event to remind the public that they’re just as responsible for the current situation between them and cops.

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Tamir Rice investigation wrapping up, maybe

Tamir Rice’s body still hasn’t been buried. His mother has moved into a homeless shelter because she can’t bear to be near the park where he was shot by police, and six months after the events occurred, police say they still need more time to investigate Rice’s death.

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Educators, activists denounce Cuomo’s Education Investment Tax Credit proposal

Last week, educators and educational activists called for New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to ax plans for an Education Investment Tax Credit, which they call a “scheme” to divert money from public education.

Unions strike for right to organize

Earlier this month, Environmental Service Systems employees walked off the job, demanding that their employer respect their right to be represented by their union, Local 32BJ.

Unions express concerns during ‘Evalpalooza’

Last Thursday in Albany, educators and legislators voiced displeasure with the teacher evaluation process and suggested a change of pace in its implementation.

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Cuomo earns praise for minimum wage

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo plans to impanel a board to examine minimum wage in the fast-food industry.

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Family members of New Yorkers killed by police meet with Cuomo

The surviving family of New Yorkers slain by members of the New York Police Department met with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week. Family members have called on the governor to implement police reform and re-established their opposition to an “independent monitor.”

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Donovan heads to DC, Richardson to Albany

Tuesday night was “special” for both Democrats and Republicans in New York City.

IBO study details income levels of specialized high school students

For almost a decade, the talk around New York City’s specialized high schools has been about access, opportunity and how money affects both. New Yorkers now have some numbers to confirm their beliefs.

DC 37 calls on extension of city beach/pool season on lifeguards’ behalf

District Council 37 and City Council Parks Committee Chair Mark Levine voiced support for expansion of city beach and pool season. They want it to end the last week of September instead of Labor Day.

Rekia Boyd’s killer acquitted

A legal point, a very fine one, has helped free a Chicago detective in the shooting death of Rekia Boyd. Cook Country Judge Dennis Porter ruled that prosecutors did not prove that officer Dante Servin had acted recklessly

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Fight for $15 & 'Black Lives Matter' take over NYC

Several studies have been done showing that an increase in the wages of these employees would help boost the economy and lower the burden on tax payers since workers wouldn’t have to rely on public assistance and food stamps in order to survive.

Workers sue federal contractors

Contracted workers at the U.S. Department of Education, the National Park Service and the National Zoo have filed a complaint seeking $1.6 million in unpaid wages under the U.S. Service Contract Act.

To test or not to test: The saga of Common Core

Tuesday marked the beginning of Common Core testing for many elementary and middle school students across New York, but the arrival of Common Core hasn’t come without its detractors.

Federal EEOC: NYC discriminated against minority/women employees

Monday, the Federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission determined that the city of New York had systematically discriminated against its employees on the basis of race and gender, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act of 1963.

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McDonald’s workers offended by company’s wage ‘stunt’

One day after workers announced a planned strike on tax day, April 15, McDonald’s engaged in an act many workers have labeled as cynical.

Teachers, parents respond to Cuomo’s budget

The education plans slipped into New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s $142 billion budget have left several parties either unresponsive or outright displeased.

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Workers prepare for national strike

The largest rally of underpaid workers is set to take place April 15—tax day.

DC 37 joins equal pay campaign push

Last week, DC 37 kicked off its pay equity campaign with an event at the union’s offices, co-sponsored by the union’s Latino Heritage and Women’s committees.

Wage increase left off state budget

It was reported Sunday that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders had agreed on a new deal concerning the upcoming budget that would not include an increase in the state’s minimum wage.

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Student indicted for putting noose on James Meredith statue

One might expect the statue honoring the first Black student at Ole Miss to be treated well.But no. Last week, the U.S. Justice Department indicted a former University of Mississippi student on federal charges for putting a noose on the statue of James Meredith at the Ole Miss campus in Oxford.

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Dwight School B-ball team capitalizes on new home

It’s been two years since the Dwight School opened its athletic center in East Harlem, and the investment has already paid off.

Teachers’ unions not happy with Cuomo administration’s Dream Act stance

A potential bill that would allow New York undocumented high school graduates to apply for state financial aid for college might be taken out of the governor’s budget.

McDonald’s workers refuse to get burned again

Growing weary of low pay and bad conditions, McDonald’s workers have filed 28 health and safety complaints against their employer in 19 different cities.

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Blacks, Hispanics a third of New York’s low-income working families

Something that passes the eye test for many continues to have statistics backing it up.A new report published by the Working Poor Families Project reveals that out of the 584,829 working families in New York that were considered low income in 2013, 381,000 (65 percent) were ethnic minorities. Thirty-five percent (203,000) were white.

State Assembly passes Paid Family Leave Act

Last week, New York Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Assembly Members Cathy Nolan and Michele Titus announced the passage of the Paid Family Leave Act.

Groups, officials want Cuomo to strengthen criminal justice proposal

Some New York state senators and Assembly members have linked up with civil rights advocates and community groups.

NY teachers continue crusade against Cuomo’s reform proposals

With New York’s teachers and education activists fighting against the governor’s proposals, one group has come back with a proposal of their own.

CUNY union releases radio ad talking contract situation

In a new ad titled “Model,” CUNY’s teacher union takes aim at the governor once again regarding their contract situation.

Study: Desired criteria for specialized high schools means fewer Blacks, Latinos

The call to consider more than the Specialized High School Admissions Test as criteria for admission has reached a fever pitch in New York City. But a new report suggests that if activists get what they want, the results might not be what they expect.

Report says subways have gotten worse

If you regularly take the subway, you have heard complaints about trains seemingly getting worse, with more delays and longer waits. Now there’s evidence to back up the complaints.

New Yorkers, Cuomo make moves on ‘fair pay’

The fight for an increase in the minimum wage nationwide has heated up in New York, with the governor adding his voice.

Albert Maysles, auteur of American cinema verite, dead at 88

Albert Maysles made intense, oft-discussed and legendary films with his brother David, including “Grey Gardens” and “Gimme Shelter,” that pushed the boundaries of fantasy and reality. Last week, Albert Maysles passed away in his Manhattan home. He was 88.

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Poverty, hope, working class clash at Bronx exhibit

An exhibit called “Three Photographers from the Bronx: Jules Aarons, Morton Broffman and Joe Conzo” seeks to capture the Bronx and American societal unrest at its peak.

NELP reports benefits of raising home care industry wages

According to a new report by the National Employment Law Project, paying workers in the home care industry $15 an hour would add $6.6 billion in activity to the economy—not to mention adding $16.5 billion in the pockets of workers.

CUNY professors call on Albany to ‘keep its promise’

The City University of New York’s teachers’ union wants New York’s government to keep its promise. In a radio ad titled “Legacy,” sponsored by the Professional Staff Congress, the union and CUNY’s faculty and staff, the union calls on Albany legislators to replace the millions that CUNY would lose because of the latest budget proposal.

Families of New Yorkers slain by officers ask for special prosecutor

A group of New Yorkers who share an unfortunate bond want New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to make sure justice is served in cases involving deadly use of police force.

Report says $125 million in wages were stolen from NYC workers

A new report by the Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center, the Employment Law Unit at the Legal Aid Society and the National Center for Law and Economic Justice suggests that employers were able to evade labor laws even after courts ordered them to pay $25 million in stolen wages to workers.

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