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Letter: Governor should sign bill to protect utility workers

Governor should sign bill to protect utility workers

The Utility Worker Assault Bill, which elevates assault of a utility worker in the second degree to a class D felony, was delivered to Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Aug. 8 for a signature.

Utility workers perform vital services and are, with increasing frequency, the victims of assault and aggression. In particular, employees who read meters or are involved in collections are most vulnerable. Often they must enter a premises alone to conduct their work in circumstances that are potentially hostile. These workers have been threatened, attacked, molested and in some cases robbed simply for doing their job.

It is currently a felony to cause injury to peace officers, police officers, firefighters or EMS workers with the intent to prevent them from performing their duties. In light of utility workers ever-demanding levels of responsibility, particularly in storm restoration or as emergency first responders, this bill is necessary.

The Utility Worker Assault Bill is already law in New Jersey, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. We urge Cuomo to sign this bill to curtail any future acts of aggression against hardworking utility workers.

Eric J. Hauser

Business Manager/Financial Secretary

IBEW Local 2154, Orchard Park

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