Tags Posts tagged with "Labor Day"

Labor Day

Labor leader Joseph James Ettor (1885-1948) speaks in Union Square during the Brooklyn barbers’ strike of 1913. Public domain photo
By Aramis Khosronejad

Amid Labor Day celebrations, Long Island is working through a labor shortage crisis, according to New York State Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio (R-Riverhead), a member of the Assembly’s Standing Committee on Labor.

Like much of New York state, Suffolk County is navigating through various labor challenges such as its relatively high unemployment rate, lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, high cost of living and rising inflation. 

Labor shortages

According to the 2023 Long Island Economic Survey, “We are in the midst of one of the nation’s biggest labor crises on record, with significant labor shortages affecting all industries and geographies.” 

In an interview, Giglio expressed her concerns for Long Island’s labor, suggesting “a lot of businesses [are] putting up help wanted signs and looking for somebody to fill these positions.” 

This July, according to the New York State Department of Labor’s Jobs and Labor Force press release, the unemployment rate in New York state “held constant at 3.9%. The comparable rate for the U.S. was 3.5%.” 

When asked whether she would consider the current labor shortage a crisis, Giglio replied, “Absolutely, it is a crisis.”

Post-pandemic recovery

The Long Island workforce is still feeling the long-term impacts of the pandemic, according to Giglio. She said much of the financial hardships were brought on by malfeasance.

“I think there was a lot of money that was stolen from the state by unemployment, fraud, and people [who] were finding ways to live less expensively,” Giglio said. Additionally, “Businesses are really struggling to stay afloat.”

Cost of living

Attributing a cause to growing labor shortages, Giglio offered that fewer young people are staying put. 

“It seems as though the kids that are getting out of college are finding different states to live in and different states where they can get meaningful jobs,” she said. “The high cost of living in New York and the jobs that are available are not able to sustain life here in New York, especially on Long Island.”


While the high standard of living in New York may be one factor contributing to labor shortages on Long Island, stagnating wages present yet another barrier.

The founder of Long Island Temps, Robert Graber, explained the complications of wages and inflation. 

“Wages have gone up, but inflation is outpacing the wage increase,” he said. “That makes it harder to recruit and fill positions.”

Migrant labor

Since spring 2022, a wave of migrants have entered New York state, the majority arriving in New York City. When asked if this migrant surge could help resolve the labor shortages islandwide, Giglio expressed some doubts. 

“I’ve been talking to a lot of business owners and organizations that have been trying to help migrants that are coming into the city, and some even making their way out to Long Island,” the assemblywoman said. “Some of their biggest problems are that they don’t have any documents, identification from their countries, nor do they have a passport, and they don’t have a birth certificate.” 

Giglio added that this lack of information could undermine effective integration into the Long Island labor force. “It’s really putting a strain on the government and the workload,” she said.

Martin Cantor, director of the Long Island Center for Socio-Economic Policy, says declining labor participation on Long Island gives him cause for concern. Photo of labor demonstration from Pixabay

On Monday, Sept. 5, Americans took off from work in honor of the contributions made by laborers throughout their national history. This Labor Day was an opportunity to catch up with Martin Cantor, director of the Long Island Center for Socio-Economic Policy. During an exclusive interview, he discussed some of the labor trends on Long Island, the success of remote work and the role of unions today.

How would you describe the current state of the labor force on Long Island?

First, we still haven’t recovered all of the jobs lost during the [COVID-19] pandemic. We’re about 30,000 jobs shy. However, we have a strong labor force — I think we have about 1.5 million people in it. Still, our labor participation rate is not as it once was prior to the pandemic. There are still people on the sidelines.

What labor trends on Long Island do you find most troubling? Also, which trends are most encouraging?

The most troubling is that a lot of our workforce has not come back. The economy cannot expand unless our workforce participation rate increases, and that gives me concern. The other thing that gives me concern is that the Federal Reserve is going to aggressively go after inflation by increasing interest rates. With employee productivity at record lows, that could mean layoffs in the future.

Speaking of layoffs, do you believe there is already a labor shortage on Long Island?

No, I don’t think there’s a labor shortage. I think that if there’s any kind of a shortage, it’s people not wanting to come back to work. 

How does the cost of labor factor into these growing economic concerns?

Well, the cost of labor is very important, and that’s part of what caused the inflation. Not only did we have all of that extra money that the federal government put in, but we arbitrarily increased the minimum wage. That led to higher prices in the marketplace. 

I’m not denigrating the minimum wage [$15 an hour on the Island] — it’s only $31,000 a year. It’s very difficult for one person to pay for rent, food and electricity living on the minimum wage, but it did have an economic impact.

Do you think that the gradual development of remote work will have a positive long-term effect on the labor force?

Well, it depends where you are. The quick answer is yes. Two things have happened during the pandemic. Number one: Employers learned to have a different business model that didn’t require everybody to come into the office. They were able to reduce the amount of space that they needed to rent. 

The other thing was that employees found they could have a better quality of life by working remotely. They didn’t have to commute two hours a day to get into the City. On the other side of the coin, Goldman Sachs just announced that there’s no more remote work and everybody has to come into the office in New York City.

Do you think a schism is emerging between those who work from home and those who go to the office?

I wouldn’t call it a schism, but I will tell you that how people work and how businesses operate have changed. I think that congestion pricing in the City is a big influencer on all of that. 

If people don’t want to ride the trains, they usually drive in and have to pay more money. They might insist on working remotely. They also might insist on getting higher wages from employers. Some businesses might relocate out of the City because it is too expensive and too onerous for their employees.

So I think you have several things that will impact where people work and how people work.

How has the relationship between workers and public transit evolved here on Long Island?

I will tell you this: The Long Island Rail Road is [operating] at about 50% less than its prepandemic ridership. I took the train about three weeks ago, and the train was empty. Even when I jumped on the train at Penn Station at about 4:30 — which is normally packed — the train was empty. 

What accounts for the popularity of labor unions today?

People have felt this was a very difficult time during the pandemic. Some people have taken a look at life’s choices and are saying, “Hey, I’m not getting paid enough to do this stuff.” They want better benefits, a proper workplace environment and a salary commensurate with their skills. That’s why unionization is at one of its highest points in years.

What is your long-term forecast for the regional economy on Long Island?

Our regional economy is doing well. Historically and even currently, Long Island has always been able to fend off bad economic times. I think we are doing fine and we will be doing fine. 

Smith Point County Park Facebook

Lifeguards to Stay on the Stands for an Additional Two Weekends

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today announced an extended summer season at Smith Point County Park. While Suffolk County beaches are not typically staffed with lifeguards post Labor Day, this year lifeguards will stay on the stands for an additional two weekends to ensure the safety of beachgoers.

Suffolk County beaches and parks provide cherished memories and experiences every summer for both our residents and the countless visitors who flock to our word-class shorelines. This year, more than 300,000 people visited Smith Point County Park.

“While Labor Day marks the unofficial end to summer, in Suffolk summer is not over, and the joy that summer brings will continue to brighten our days,” said Suffolk County Executive Bellone. “Lifeguards will remain on the stands for an additional two weekends, and I encourage all residents to take advantage of our world-class beaches while the warm weather is still with us.”

 “Keeping Suffolk County residents safe while they use our beaches has always been a priority and we’re happy to extend the Smith Point beach season this year,” said Suffolk County Parks Commissioner Jason Smagin.

Lifeguards will remain on the stands from 10:00 AM to 5:30 PM on Saturday, September 10th, Sunday, September 11th, Saturday, September 17th and Sunday, September 18th at Smith Point County Park.

Additionally, Suffolk County campgrounds, parks and outer beaches will continue to welcome campers and park goers beyond the holiday weekend.

Barbecued Chicken. Metro photo

By Barbara Beltrami

Labor Day is more or less the official farewell to summer. It’s a bittersweet holiday marking the end of lazy, languorous days poolside or at the beach with time being some abstract notion governed more by light than by the hands on the clock. In our reluctance to let go of all that summer connotes, we hang on, in wishful perpetuity, to whatever we can salvage despite the back-to-school, close-the-pool regimen. 

One thing that endures far beyond the season is cooking on the grill. So what better way to celebrate this holiday than with a barbecue in the great outdoors with all the traditional dishes that we love and crave. It can be anything from a clam bake to a hot dog roast but it must include barbecued chicken too, spicy and sticky and charred. Here are three different ways to do that chicken. Sauces can be thinned out with a little water if they get too thick.

All 3 versions would be great served with any one or combination of the following: tossed salad, garlic bread, corn on the cob, iceberg lettuce with blue cheese dressing, coleslaw, potato salad, sweet potato fries, corn bread, baked beans, macaroni salad.

Barbecued Chicken #1

YIELD: Makes 4 servings


Barbecued Chicken. Metro photo

3/4 cup ketchup

1 heaping tablespoon brown sugar

1 heaping tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon za’atar

1/2 teaspoon cayenne

2 garlic cloves, minced

One medium onion, minced

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 broiler -fryer chicken cut into 8 pieces


In a large bowl combine ketchup, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, za’atar, cayenne, garlic, onion, salt and pepper.  Place chicken parts in bowl and toss to thoroughly coat. Transfer contents of bowl to a large resealable bag, seal and refrigerate for two hours. Prepare a grill on medium heat and place chicken on grill over indirect heat, turning once and basting with any remaining sauce, until it is lightly charred, cooked through and an instant read thermometer reads 165 F, about 25 to 30 minutes. 

Barbecued Chicken #2

YIELD: Makes 8 servings


1 tablespoon unsalted butter

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup ketchup

1/3 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup tomato sauce

1 tablespoon cucumber relish

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon prepared mustard

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

2 generous dashes hot pepper sauce

8 chicken breast halves, bone in


In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter, then add garlic and cook, constantly stirring, 30 seconds, until it releases its aroma. Add the ketchup, brown sugar, tomato sauce, relish,Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt and pepper and hot pepper sauce; stirring constantly, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then remove from heat and set aside. Prepare grill on medium heat; season chicken with salt and pepper, then grill, covered, turning and basting frequently with sauce, until charred on both sides and cooked through, about 30 minutes. 

Barbecued Chicken #3

YIELD: Makes 8 servings


1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

8 bone in chicken thighs or half-breasts 

1 cup ketchup

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons smoked paprika

1 tablespoon chili powder

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon cayenne

Salt to taste


In a large bowl whisk together half a cup of the oil, vinegar, salt, sugar and red pepper flakes. Place chicken pieces in gallon size resealable plastic bag, then pour marinade in, seal bag and tilt and rotate to be sure chicken is thoroughly coated. Refrigerate, turning bag occasionally 4 to 8 hours. 

When ready to grill remove chicken from refrigerator and let come to room temperature. In a small saucepan combine the remaining tablespoon oil, ketchup, brown sugar, paprika, chili powder, garlic, cayenne and salt; over medium heat; stirring frequently, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Set aside to cool 10 minutes. 

Set a grill on medium-low heat to 300 F. Remove chicken from marinade and discard marinade. Place chicken pieces on grill, cover and cook for 10 minutes, turning once. During last 15 to 20 minutes or so of cooking, baste with barbecue sauce and turn frequently. When chicken is charred, sauce is thickened and sticky and a thermometer reads 165 F, it should be cooked through after a total of about 30 minutes.

Photo from Newton Shows

The Huntington YMCA, 60 Main St., Huntington will present its 28th annual Carnival on Friday, Sept. 3 from 6 to 10 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 4 from 1 to 8 p.m., Sunday, Sept, 5 from 1 to 8 p.m. and Monday, Sept. 6 from 1 to 6 p.m.  Featuring amusement rides for children and thrill seekers, free magic shows at 1:30, 3 and 4:30 p.m. Saturday through Monday, games of skill, festival food and more.

Pricing: The event will have free admission with all rides taking 4 to 6 coupons. Tickets for individual rides are available at $1.25 each 21 for $25 or 44 for $50. Presale Pay-One-Price Bracelets are $29.95
here. Walk-up, to the Carnival Ticket Booth Pay-One-Price Bracelets are $35. Individual Ride and discount book ticket sales, will be available onsite at the TICKET BOOTH DAILY.

For more information, call 631-421-4242.

Labor Day, back to school, the 19th anniversary of 9/11 — these days had consequences before. But in the midst of an ongoing pandemic, they mean that much more — they have to. They show how it’s no longer enough to be complacent and let the issues these days represent pass us by.

We can’t pass by Labor Day without thinking of the thousands upon thousands of people out of work. We have to remember just how much toil people in our local food pantries and soup kitchens are putting in to help the rising number of food insecure families across Long Island.

We bustle around and shop online for any Labor Day sales ignoring the purpose of the day is to not only celebrate organized labor’s accomplishments in gaining things as welcome as the five-day workweek, but to offer the future hope of additional compensation and relief to the millions who struggle even while working full time, too many times in more than one job.

We have to be able to come out of this pandemic with a new perspective. When those who were considered “essential” such as those who worked in supermarkets or other low-wage service industry jobs were not being compensated for the risk they put both themselves and their families in, we know there needs to be another look at allowing people to make a living wage when working full time.

On Tuesday, most of our North Shore schools reopened for in-person instruction for the first time since March. Parents walked their children to the bus stop, or more than likely drove them to school, with a great feeling of hope but likely some foreboding. Many stood at the bus stop in masks. At schools all across the North Shore, cars waited in long lines before finally letting their kids off, in some cases a faculty member waiting to take their temperature.

This is not going to be easy. Already we’re seeing the logistical issues of how tens or even hundreds of parents will drop off their students all at once. School districts need to iron out these issues, and parents, for their part, need to be patient while that is worked out. Though districts have been planning for this eventuality for months, no plan ever survives first contact, as the saying goes.

But parents must also recognize the fragility of the situation. All it takes is one slip up, one instance where the regional infection rate spikes above 9% and schools will once again shut down, as required by New York State. We can’t relax on any of our mask or distancing efforts, and this especially has to be reinforced to our children. As much as many parents don’t like what school districts have planned, even a hybrid model is better than full remote learning only. We have to think of the parents who work full time and have nobody to be home for their young children to either take care of them or make sure they’re learning properly.

As we look to commemorate 9/11, we see many events hosted by our local fire departments are not available to the public. Some have taken the option to use livestream instead, but fire departments have made the bold and correct decision to try and limit as much extra contact as possible. After all, many of the firefighters and EMTs at these departments were on the front lines not two months ago. They know better than most of us the toll the virus takes.

Let us also not forget the hundreds of people with lasting health impacts of being there when the towers fell 19 years ago. Those people are still around — folks like John Feal of the FealGood Foundation that continue to support rescue workers and other volunteers deserve our respect and backing.

This is a time that reminds us to work together in all these regards. Consequential times require conscientious action, and we believe our communities have the capability to make the right choices.

Labor Day offers a chance to consider the division of labor that makes living on Long Island and in the United States so incredible.

Police officers stand ready to protect and serve. They leave their homes with the best of intentions, providing safety, security and order to our communities.

Similarly, firefighters offer an enormous measure of protection for us individually and collectively, racing into burning buildings to save us and keeping fires from spreading to nearby homes.

Members of the military protect our interests and help residents in our communities, country and strangers around the world.

Priests, rabbis, imams and other spiritual leaders encourage us to aspire to greatness, to see beyond our frustration and anger, and to believe in a higher purpose and a grander plan. They bring out the best in us and suggest ways to give our lives meaning beyond meeting our basic needs.

Psychologists and psychiatrists act as handrails for people’s minds and emotions, helping us deal with a wide range of challenges, frustrations and difficulties.

Doctors, nurses and medical health professionals refuse to allow bacteria, viruses or injuries to get the better of us, standing ready to help us fight an infection, determining what that mysterious pain is and, at best, help treat the cause of the disorder and not just the symptoms.

Sanitation workers enable us to keep our homes and communities clean.

Supermarket workers stock the shelves, help us find gluten-free food to manage our growing list of allergies, and make sure they have the specific brand of the milk we buy.

Car mechanics allow us to reach our appointments on time and make it to our children’s concerts.

Teachers feed hungry young minds, encouraging and inspiring the next generation, coming in before school or staying late to will students across another academic finish line.

Beyond offering the welcoming smile at many companies, receptionists wear numerous hats, directing traffic through offices, sending phone calls to the right extension, and knowing how to find anything and everything.

When we maneuver through the purchase of a home, the establishment of a will or the adoption of the newest member of our family, lawyers guide us through each process, becoming advocates for our interests and close confidants.

In the wee hours of the morning, bakers start the process of creating scones, heating up coffee and mixing the batter for birthday cakes.

Truck drivers spend hours on the road, carting all manner of goods, bringing foods or marble we have to have on our kitchen counters.

Ferry workers usher us back and forth on the Long Island Sound to visit family, to take ski trips, to return to college, or to visit sites in Connecticut and farther north.

Plumbers, electricians and structural engineers make sure our homes and offices operate smoothly, preventing a leak from becoming a flood, a spark from becoming a fire or a weak wall from becoming an accident site.

Driven by the desire to inform and to beat the competition, journalists search for news that offers valuable information.

Entertainers of all stripes keep us laughing, allow us to relate to people from other places or times — or take us on fantastic journeys to places in their minds.

Politicians represent our interests, debating and hopefully instituting the best policies for the rest of us.

Numerous others, whose professions didn’t make it into this space, also help our communities function.

While Labor Day is a chance to say “goodbye” to summer, it presents an opportunity to appreciate the hard work everyone performs.

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One vehicle seized after overnight weekend patrol on Route 347 serves as warning before Labor Day

Eleven arrests are the result of a weekend sobriety checkpoint in Smithtown. File photo

Suffolk County Police collected 11 arrests and one vehicle seizure by the end of an overnight sobriety checkpoint in Smithtown this past weekend, authorities said.

The county’s police highway patrol bureau set up the sobriety checkpoint at 575 Smithtown Bypass in Smithtown around 11:37 p.m. on Friday night and stayed there until about 3:20 a.m. on Saturday with hopes of preventing injuries and fatalities associated with driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, cops said.

The checkpoint, police said, served as a prelude to the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend.

The driving while intoxicated arrests included residents across the North Shore and beyond. Arrests included Rachel Hartman, 23, of Centereach; Jorge Reina, 54, of Flushing; Brian McMahon, 32, of Nesconset; Patrick Kotowicz, 25, of Hauppauge; Russel Figueroa, 58, of Miller Place; Orrie Wolfer, 21, of Smithtown; Odys Kurek, 45, of Nesconset; Nakia Brantley, 22, of Bay Shore; Peter Evans, 22, of Smithtown; and Dennis Sposato, 39, of Lindenhurst. Frederick Panciroli, 18, of Hauppauge, was also arrested for driving while ability impaired by drugs.

A total of 988 vehicles went through the checkpoint, Suffolk County cops said.

Suffolk County Police have used checkpoints as a precursor to the upcoming Labor Day weekend, so residents are reminded not to drive while impaired by alcohol or drugs as they celebrate the holiday.