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New York: Rank 50

Pension Liability - Total $146.7 billion6 - Per household $2,2501

Union Membership Density:

  • Total-24.2%
  • Private Sector-13.7%
  • Public Sector-70.5%

Right to Work:

  • Forced unionism 

Government Sector Collective Bargaining Laws:

Paycheck Protection Law:

  • No Provision

Secret Ballot Protection:

  • No Provision

Forced Card Check:

Government Sector Binding Arbitration Provisions:

Public Access to Government Bargaining Sessions:

Encourage Project Labor Agreements:

Government Employee Strike Policy:

Public Sector Unions in New York

Over the last 45 years, thanks to labor friendly legislation and increasingly powerful unions, New York’s state and local government jobs have grown at more than twice the rate of private-sector employment.  The average pay of state and local government workers is higher than that of private-sector workers in almost all regions in the state.

Public sector unions have become largely influential political contributors, the effects of which can be seen by how well they’ve been able to protect those advantages that have helped them to become so influential.

New York’s fiscal situation is as dire as many around the country. However, several obstacles to reducing spending and improving New York’s economy could be overcome by implementing policies that would continue to protect the interests of public sector workers while more aptly protecting the interests of New York’s taxpayers.

Recommendations for New York:

  1. Reaffirm the principle that public employees have no “right” to strike, preserving the no-strike penalties in the Taylor Law, including the 2-for-1 penalty for workers that go on strike.
  2. Modify the Triborough Amendment, which, among other provisions, prohibits public employers from altering an expired labor agreement until a new agreement is reached. This has the effect of giving public sector unions an unfair bargaining advantage because they can continue to receive benefits and pay increases until a new contract is reached, leaving little motivation to give into concessions and compromise.
  3. Release proposed collective bargaining agreements publicly before they are enacted, allowing for public review and comment.
  4. Modify existing regulations to ensure that compulsory arbitration takes a comprehensive look at an employer’s or community’s ability to pay.
  5. Reverse the practice of negotiating for subcontracting and reassignment of union work.  The ultimate decision should be left to elected officials who ultimately are responsible for managing costs and delivering goods.
  6. Repeal automatic dues check-off.


Why Triborough Matters

Lifting the Shroud of Secrecy

Taylor Made: The Cost and Consequences of New York’s Public-Sector Labor Laws

Why Public Sector Collective Bargaining Doesn’t Work

New York Labor News

  • NLRB Case May Test Obama's Recess Picks Posted on: February 4, 2012
    By Melanie Trottman, The Wall Street Journal A National Labor Relations Board case involving a dispute between the owner of a New York City housing complex and union workers at the site has become the latest potential test of whether President Barack Obama’s recess appointments violate the U.S. Constitution. Mr. Obama in January bypassed Congress [...]
  • Disgust with Local Teachers Union Drives One New York Parent to Run for School Board Posted on: February 1, 2012
    Education Action Group, Bill Signorile has regularly attended West Hempstead school board meetings for the past two years, in hopes of getting board members to curb the district’s spending. He says the board’s big-spending habits, particularly when it comes to union labor costs, are jeopardizing the financial futures of taxpayers and younger school employees, and threatening the [...]
  • Government + Unions : The Recipe for Corruption Posted on: January 31, 2012
    Union/Label A story by Susan Edelman in theNew York Post is getting traction with news outlets and their readers, because of the issues at stake involving millions of dollars of waste in New York’s notorious Department of Education. You may have previously heard about the infamous “rubber rooms” to which teachers were assigned pending resolution of cases, in which the teachers were accused [...]
  • After Communication Breakdown, MTA Contract Talks to Resume Posted on: January 31, 2012
    By Ted Mann, The Wall Street Journal Negotiators for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and its largest employee union will meet Thursday to resume talks on a new contract, two weeks after union officials shut off negotiations over leaks to the press. The meeting will be the first face-to-face negotiations with MTA since John Samuelsen, the [...]
  • Illinois’ woes show why we can’t afford public unions Posted on: January 30, 2012
    By Steve Stanek, Chicago Sun-Times To see the problem with government employee collective bargaining, look at Illinois. What’s happening here is happening to varying degrees in most states. One year ago, Illinois lawmakers raised the state’s corporate tax an astonishing 46 percent and the personal income tax a more astonishing 67 percent. The result? Earlier [...]

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