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Public Sector Labor Relations

1. Analyze the Taylor Law and the Triborough Amendment, and then the public employee labor laws of THREE other states.
2 Compare them to New York's laws.
3. Express your opinion on whether these laws are equitable, necessary, unfair, etc.
4. Answer the question: "How will further limitations on public employee bargaining, as proposed in several states, impact the growth of public employee unions, especially teachers' unions?

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Analyze the Taylor Law and the Triborough Amendment, and then the public employee labor laws of three other states

Taylor Law is shorthand for the Public Employees Fair Employment Act, passed in the late 1960s. It offers compulsory arbitration in public labor disputes through the Public Employment Relations Board, the members of which are chosen by the governor and must represent a balanced political view.

The basic structure of the law can be summarized like this: public employees retain the right to create unions of their own making. Both union and membership are required to negotiate prior to dealing with the state. More controversially, public employees may not strike. In addition, no member of the union can interfere with another employee. In short, this means that if an employee rejects the union, the union or its membership can do nothing about it.

The Triborough Amendment is quite simple: it forces public agencies to maintain an expired contract for as long as needed as a new one is being negotiated. Needless to say, public unions were in favor of the Amendment, but largely opposed the Taylor Law. Many public unions like the AFT have accepted Taylor as a fait accompli. The School Boards association of NY holds that the Amendment heads in the right direction, with the single problem of permitting wage increases even before a new contract has been agreed to. The Association holds that wages should be frozen in that interval of time to give government workers an incentive to negotiate.

Comparative Laws in Three other States:
Pennsylvania: public workers have the right to organize. The type of organization can be problematic, however. The state can veto a union if it promotes "fragmentation" or if there is no real "community of interest" among prospective members. Those who deal with public safety, "guards at prisons and mental hospitals, employees directly involved with and necessary to the functioning of the courts of this Commonwealth, or any individual employed as a guard to enforce against employees and other persons, rules to protect property of the employer or to protect the safety of persons on the employer's premises" can form unions, but not in conjunction with any other union operational that deals with state employees (sec 604, 3). This class of employee also cannot strike under any circumstances (sec 1001)

Restrictions on public unions: nothing a union does can hamper any provision of the state code. Managerial policy is not an aspect of legitimate employee demands (this includes organizational structure, use of technology, etc). 702-703

The Board that deals with conciliation is very similar to the New York version. Unlike NY, the PA law does permit strikes by employees that do not fall into the classes mentioned above in section 604. Strikes may not occur during a bargaining session. Otherwise, strikes are OK unless they ...

Solution Summary

The public sector labor relations are are examined. New York's laws are compared.