Soon after the end of the Transit Workers Union's illegal 60-hour walkout in December 2005, Local 100 President Roger Toussaint boasted that his members had made good on a "credible threat" to strike. Later today, a state judge in Brooklyn will decide if they can get away with it.
"New Yorkers have paid a steep price for labor peace" under the 40-year-old Taylor Law authorizing collective bargaining by public employee unions, says a report issued today by the Empire Center for Public Policy.
While strikes and other job actions have become rare events, municipal and school officials say the Taylor Law--in combination with other public labor statutes--now unduly favors unions at taxpayer expense. The Empire Center explored whether Taylor Law reforms are needed at a policy forum.
Eliot Spitzer's first legislative session as governor ended last week with gridlock on some of his top priorities. But while they couldn't agree on campaign-finance and public-construction reform, Assembly Democrats and Senate Republicans were firmly united in their willingness to pander to New York's public-employee unions.
With the stroke of a pen, Gov. Spitzer has cleared the way for 60,000 home-based day-care providers to join New York's growing quasi-public-sector labor cartel. And in the process, on the heels of a first-year budget that increases spending at more than three times the inflation rate, he has further undermined his ability to control the cost of government in the Empire State.
The recent enactment of sweeping changes in federal laws governing private pension plans, the issuance of a scathing auditors' report on the collapse of San Diego's pension fund, and the disclosure of potential shortfalls in New York City's pension funds all point to what should be the nation's next big target for financial reform.
Among many other things, this transit strike has been a learning experience for a whole new generation of Yorkers too young to remember issues raised by municipal labor unrest of the 1960s and the fiscal crisis of the 1970s.
A proposal by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to restructure employee pensions reportedly was the issue that this week's illegal strike by Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union.