Labor leaders went nuts last month when a group of state Senate officials announced their intention to form a union. But if Albany achieves its goal of compelling senators to follow the broad union rules it imposes on local governments and schools, the result may be more than workers bargained for.
Approximately 80out of approximately 1,000 employees in the Senate formed the New York State Legislative Union. In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart Cousins, the group called for the same bargaining privileges that New York's Taylor Act grants state and local officials and teachers.
In other words, the staff wants state regulators to negotiate with senators and force them to bind them to contract terms.
The legitimacy of the plan is highly questionable at best. Unions would face constitutional problems if they asked a judge to enforce labor contracts in Congress, an independent and independent governmental body. But if the nascent unions succeed in getting senators to the table, they will face a disrespectful awakening.
Because it doesn't just force negotiations. The law has been interpreted to make the workplace nearly all non-negotiable. And it essentially forbids employers from controlling their own workforce without union permission. We make contracts to control the length of school days, prevent state and local managers from firing employees who commit crimes in the workplace, and prioritize employee seniority. how well he or she does the job;
Eliminate vacancies, modernize performance evaluation forms Special permission from the union may be required for efficient work, such as commuting and asking employees to strike a time clock.
In many ways, the Taylor Act is the invisible policy villain of the Empire State, contributing to most of the city's and state's greatest challenges, yet always eluding scrutiny. I'm here.
The National Teachers' Federation's control of city schools, the inefficiency of New York City's subway ranks, and Long Island's disastrous property tax all trace their roots to the Taylor Act. (The maintenance nightmare New York City Housing Department residents endure and the drama of scheduling lifeguards on the city's beaches is similar to the local (related to the collective bargaining ordinance.)
But state legislators ostensibly concerned about student performance, the plight of straphangers, or the cost of living in Nassau County are at the heart of the matter: "Taylor. Law!” is rarely uttered. — so as not to anger union leaders before the next election.
The Taylor Act also makes these elections less meaningful, as union contracts often determine how governments are run rather than decisions made by voters' chosen people. .
Legislators can afford to ignore the statute's negative consequences. But nothing evaporates the flexibility enjoyed by the Senate faster than following the Taylor Act. In many senator's offices, the practice of having aides wear multiple hats, work odd schedules, and travel to and from Albany with their bosses may become less commonplace.
This experience may be disruptive enough to break down the cognitive dissonance of the Albany generation. By losing near-total discretion over the territories funded by individual taxpayers, senators could eventually come to realize how much control they have taken away from other elected officials.
Everyone, from progressives frustrated with police accountability and public transportation, to conservatives in limited governments eager for tax cuts, has a legislative agenda. If people meet the law closely and personally and decide to accept overdue reforms, they stand to win. It's like limiting the scope and duration of a union contract.
Applying all the extreme and excessive Taylor Acts to the Senate would be good for Senate staff.
Ken Girardine is a Fellow of the Empire Public Policy Center in Albany.