Taylor Law Reform

Date: 2011

 

 MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT

Unshackle Upstate, a bi-partisan coalition of over 80+ business and trade organizations representing a growing group of 70,000 companies and employing more than 1.5 million people support the enactment of the aforementioned bill. This legislation would require a public arbitration panel to consider above all other factors the financial ability of the public employer to pay during contract disputes.

The Taylor Law was enacted in 1967 as a way of preventing strikes by municipal unions in New York, this law severely limits the ability of governments to negotiate fair contracts with unionized labor specifically provisions like compulsory "interest arbitration," which has tended to drive up salaries while hindering creative approaches to improving efficiency and reducing costs. Very often, cash-strapped municipalities are forced to pay unaffordable salaries to its workforce. This bill addresses the primary issue in binding arbitration, the "ability to pay" on the part of the affected community.

Last year, Unshackle Upstate released a report titled, "New York's Double Standard: How public employee pay and benefits have outpaced the private sector - and unique state laws are widening the gap." It takes issue with the Taylor Law and Triborough Amendment, which allows employee pay and benefits to increase indefinitely under the terms of an expired contract.

Moreover, the report found that across Upstate New York, salaries for state and local government employees are 10 percent higher than the private-sector average and that New York leads the nation in per-capita contributions to public-employee retirement, at $486 per taxpayer for the 2006-2007 fiscal year.

While S. 3014/A. 4197 provides a mechanism that addresses needed reforms to the public workforce and would lead to substantial savings for the state, Unshackle Upstate believes that the legislation should be amended to alter the “ability to pay” under the Taylor Law and include a repeal of the Triborough Amendment. Unshackle Upstate supports the enactment of this legislation, but strongly suggests the inclusion of the aforementioned amendment.