The Taylor Law was designed to create a comprehensive framework for orderly resolution of labor-management disputes in state and local government. After a rocky start, it succeeded.
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.
New York’s 40-year-old Public Employees Fair Employment Act—best known as the Taylor Law—was intended to protect the public from strikes while extending collective-bargaining rights to government workers. But while public-sector work stoppages have become rare, municipal and school officials fear the Taylor Law unduly favors public-employee unions at taxpayer expense.
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.
As the $121 billion state budget was heading toward passage late last week, some observers jumped to the conclusion that Gov. Spitzer had conceded too much, too soon in his first negotiations with the Legislature.
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.