LAST week's state Senate approval of Gov. Paterson's proposed cap on school property taxes seems to have induced a nervous breakdown in the powerful statewide teachers' union.
Retirees' benefits are the fastest-growing part of overall health-coverage costs for New York state and local government. They're already nearly 40 percent of the state's employee-health budget, and they'll consume more than a third of the roughly $3.5 billion New York City will spend on health benefits this year.
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.
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.