Fighting for our Freedom in Western New York
An in depth look into the politics of Erie County, Albany and Western New York.
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This is part of the 1.7 Billion dollar gift to the unions.
The governor needs to Veto all of it.
Thanks to FreeBuffalo's Jim Ostrowski for acquiring this valuable information.

Labor/Management legislation that has passed
both houses of the legislature—2006

S3178 Robach/A6222 Abbate—a bill to amend the Civil Service Law which provides for an expedited review by the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB).

This bill provides that if an employee organization files a complaint to PERB of an improper practice for failure to bargain in good faith, PERB has to make a determination on the complaint within 10 days.

If the improper practice for failure to negotiate in good faith is upheld. PERB must order a 1% salary increase to all members of the bargaining unit.

PERB is also required to appoint a 3rd party mediator to assist the parties in resolving the dispute. If no agreement is reached within 90 days, the mediator can impose an additional ½ of one percent salary increase to all members of the bargaining unit for each 90 day period the contract dispute is not resolved.

If a union goes on strike due to “extreme provocation” from the employer found to be engaging in improper labor practices, the strike penalty is reduced to one day’s pay for each day they are on strike rather than the 2 days for each day on strike as is current law.

Dues check-off rights are maintained by the union, if the employer has been found to be engaging in an improper practice of failing to bargain in good faith. Under current law, this right is suspended during a strike.

The employer cannot use the costs of the contract in contention as a means of bargaining with other unions, or the employer shall again be cited for improper practice.

Under the terms of this bill, the terms of the expired contract are maintained until a settlement is reached.
Senate Aye 61 Nay 0
Assembly Aye 133 Nay 1 (Fitzpatrick)
Current Status: Awaiting Delivery to the Governor by the Senate

S3177 Robach/A6223 Abbate—a bill to amend the civil service law in regards to employer improper practices.

This bill mandates that if PERB rules that an employer has engaged in the improper practice for not negotiating in good faith, the last contract offer presented by the union representative will become the new contract and will be in effect until the contract is amended or a new contract is ratified.

This bill contradicts some of the provisions of S3178/A6222 the bill described in the section preceding this one which was also introduced by Senator Robach and Member of Assembly Abbate. The bill passed as S7188/ A6222 states that the existing contract between the employer and the union remains in effect, this one says the last offer of the union is in effect. The bills and their terms are contradictory.

The conflicting clauses in these bills, will tie up PERB and the Courts for years if these bills are signed into law.
Senate Aye 60 Nay 0
Assembly Aye 133 Nay 7 (Bacalles, Fitzpatrick, Hawley, Kolb,
Oakes, O’Mara, Schimminger)
Current Status: Awaiting Delivery to the Governor by the Senate

S8244 Trunzo/A11841 Rules (Abbate)—a bill amending the civil service law in relation to impasses in collective bargaining involving certain deputy sheriffs.

This bill amends the civil service law, as amended in 2004, in regards to deputy sheriffs’ binding arbitration authority. Chapter 63 of 2004 grants deputy sheriffs, who spent greater than 50% of their time in law enforcement activities (road patrol officers), the ability to go to mandatory binding arbitration in contract impasse situations.

The chapter adopted in 2004, provided that a contract would have to be expired for at least one year, and that all other impasse resolution provisions under the law including fact finding, legislative hearing, and mediation had been completed for binding arbitration to be compelled. The law further required that only compensation related issues could be considered for resolution through binding arbitration.

This bill amends the law enacted only 2 years ago. This bill opens up mandatory binding arbitration to any deputy sheriff, including those serving in the capacity of correction officers, and does not limit the mandate to just road patrol officers as in current statute. The bill further makes any issue subject to binding arbitration, including employee discipline, overtime provisions, scheduling, job security, and other issues concerning officer/supervisor relations.

The bill also removes all of the requirements concerning expiration dates of contracts and requirements that all impasse resolution provisions (mediation, fact finding, and legislative hearing) under current law are exhausted before mandatory binding arbitration can be imposed.

The bill further stipulates that the employee organization can declare an impasse at any time, on any issue, for the mandatory binding arbitration provisions to be implemented.
Senate Aye 62 Nay 0
Assembly Aye 143 Nay 1 (Fitzpatrick)
Current Status: Awaiting Delivery to the Governor by the Senate

A 5427 Abbate/S4414 Robach—a bill to amend the retirement and social security law in regards to an optional 25 year retirement plan for sheriffs, under sheriffs deputy sheriffs or correction officers for counties electing to provide such benefit.

This bill will amend the retirement and social security law to give counties the option to provide a 25 year retirement plan under which any sheriff deputy who elects to can retire after 25 years of service. The county is also given the option to provide an additional one-sixtieth of final average salary for each year in excess of 25 years, up to a maximum of 15 years as additional pension benefits.

The fiscal note indicates that the cost of this benefit will be an additional .4% of the participating member’s salary in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2007. A past service charge of approximately 10% of salary for each member will also be assessed as a one time cost.

Under current law, and the bills passed by the legislature, there will be no such thing as an optional benefit, in reality. A ruling by PERB (Case U-2580, Ulster County and the Ulster County Sheriff v. Ulster County Deputy Sheriff’s Benevolent Association) this past year found that participation in an optional retirement system was a compensation issue and therefore subject to negotiation and mandatory binding arbitration.

The passage of S8244 Trunzo / A11841 Rules (Abbate) as described in the previous bill description, gives all sheriff deputies access to mandatory binding arbitration, at any time, if the employee organization declares an impasse. Failure of a county legislature to adopt an “optional” 25 year retirement plan, could trigger a declaration of impasse taking the decision out of the hands of county elected leaders and placing it in the hands of a third party arbitrator not answerable to the voting public. The action of PERB and the passage of the binding arbitration amendments, effectively takes away any local control or option on the adoption of this enhanced benefit.
Assembly Aye 141 Nay 0
Senate Aye 60 Nay 0
Current Status: Awaiting Delivery to the Governor by the Assembly

A11674 Abbate/S3813 Robach—an act to amend the civil service law as amended by chapter 103 of 2004 regarding situations where a contract has expired.

This bill amends the civil service law to protect existing employee organizations from decertification petitions by their membership during periods when a contract has expired. Under current law, an employee organization is entitled to unchallenged representational status during a contract’s term until 7 months prior to expiration of the contract agreement.

Under this bill, the “7 months prior” language is deleted and the period of unchallenged representational status is extended until the existing contract expires. If no decertification petition is filed with PERB within the 30 days following the expiration date of the contract, the period of unchallenged representational status is extended for an additional year. PERB is not allowed to entertain any decertification petition until the expiration of the new unchallenged representational status period upon expiration of the successor agreement.

This bill confines the ability of members to file a petition to decertify a union not believed to be representing their interests to a 30 day period following expiration of a contract only, limiting their options to choose their employee representatives.
Assembly Aye 140 Nay 1 (Fitzpatrick)
Senate Aye 60 Nay 0
Current Status: Awaiting Delivery to the Governor by the Assembly

S6758 Spano/A10060 Espaillat—an act to amend the civil service law and the labor law in relation to inclusion of certain home based day care providers under the provisions of the Public Employees Fair Employment Act and the State Labor Relations Act.

This bill would make an estimated 52,000 home-based day care providers state employees covered under the provisions of the Taylor Law for union representational purposes. This bill would require that all home-based day providers, both licensed and unlicensed, paid in whole or in part from funds from the state, county or the City of New York to be covered under the bill’s provisions.

This bill would establish home day care providers, who are predominantly independent contractors, as single employer/employee bargaining units. The sponsors indicate that this bill will allow home-based to have union representation to help them with administrative paperwork and to negotiate for better wages and working conditions.

Under current federal law, rates for reimbursement of day-care expenses are established by determining market rates for day care services through surveys of providers in multi-county areas. The Public Welfare Association has warned that enactment of this bill could place federal reimbursement for child care in jeopardy.

Unresolved in this bill are if all of the estimated 52,000 home-based day care providers would be required to pay union dues under agency shop provisions included under the Taylor Law. If they are in fact required to pay union dues under agency shop provisions, responsibility for collection of dues check off would also have to be determined.

Questions have also arisen if the creation of this new class of “employees” would bring about requirements for payment of employer costs of FICA, employer withholding of federal and state tax payments, employer disability and liability insurance coverage, unemployment insurance and possible inclusion under state retirement systems. None of these are currently the responsibility of the state or county government because the providers are independent contractors, responsible for their own benefit and tax payments. The bill will only result in increased costs for child care and an added burden for state and local taxpayers.
Senate Aye 61 Nay 0
Assembly Aye 108 Nay 34 (Bacalles, Barclay, Boyle, Brown, Burling
Butler, Clark, Conte, Crouch, Errigo, Finch Fitzpatrick, Giglio, Hawley, Hayes, Ignizio,
Ignizio, Kirwin, Kolb, Manning, McDonald
McKevitt, Mirones, Oaks, O’Mara, Ortloff
Quinn, Rabbitt, Raia, Reilich, Saladino,
Sayward, Schimminger, Stephens, Tedisco)
Current Status: Vetoed by the Governor - Veto No. 215 of 2006
Veto Override Vote
Senate Aye 57 Nay 4 (Meier, Paterson, Rath, Saland)
Assembly Tabled

A11805 Rules (Abbate)/S8408 Robach—An act to establish a temporary 2 year early retirement incentive for certain employees.

The bill establishes a 2 year, mandatory 25/55 retirement program for the New York State and Local Employees Retirement System (NYSLERS), State Teachers Retirement System, the City of New York, the State University of New York (including community colleges), the University Construction Fund, the City University of New York (including community colleges), Cooperative Extension Association, the Unified Courts System, the Senate, Assembly and joint legislative employees. This is a mandatory benefit for all employers with no discretion on whether to participate or not. Elected officials are not included in the bill’s provisions.

Under the terms of this bill a 90 day open period must be adopted by local employers by local law during each of the next two years, with only one “90 day window period” available in each year.

Any employee in tiers 2, 3, and 4 can elect to retire if they have 25 years of service and are at least 55 years old without reduction in pension benefits. Employees in Tier 1 are already entitled to this benefit. An application for retirement must be filed by an employee at least 14 days prior to the effective date of retirement.

An employer can reject the application if the retirement of the individual would harm the public health or safety. A rejection of an application for retirement by the local employer can be appealed by the employee under the provisions of article 78 of the civil practice law and rules

The cost of the benefit is estimated at $20-$25 million dollars in each of the next 2 years. Costs will be shared by all members of the NYSLERS spread over the future working life of the members. There will be no special assessment on local governments to pay the cost of this benefit. If this temporary incentive is enacted again through new legislation in the next few years, it will be funded as a permanent benefit at the annual cost of approximately $150 million.
Assembly Aye 138 Nay 6 (Bacalles, Burling, Fitzpatrick, Kolb, Oaks,
Senate Aye 61 Nay 0
Current Status Awaiting Delivery to the Governor by the Assembly

S6397 Farley/A9722 Abbate—a bill prohibiting the diminution of retiree health insurance benefits or contributions unless a similar reduction is enacted for active employees.

This bill will prohibit the state and local governments from reducing the health insurance benefits or the contributions they make towards such benefits, to retirees unless a corresponding reduction is made for active employees.

County governments have consistently provided medical benefits for their retired public employees. The language contained in this bill is so restrictive as to prohibit any cost containment or adoption of less expensive health care alternatives, even if the benefits are the same as existing plans. It further inhibits state and local ability to package federal benefits such as Medicare and Medicare prescription drug coverage with state and other local insurance programs to reduce costs while maintaining the level of retiree benefits.

The bill further interferes with local collectively bargained efforts to reduce costs since the bill restricts counties from reducing contributions for retiree health care. NYSAC has opposed and the Governor has vetoed this legislation in 1999 and in 2004.
Senate Aye 57 Nay 0
Assembly Aye 137 Nay 0
Current Status - Governor Veto No. 218
Returned to Senate

S4508 Robach/A8556 Abbate—an act to amend the civil service law in relation to the representation of public employees during questioning which may lead to disciplinary action.

This bill will amend section 209-a of the civil service law to make it an improper employer practice to fail to afford a public employee the right, upon demand, for representation by an attorney or representative of an employee organization during questioning by an employer, when it appears that the employee may be subject to a potential disciplinary action.

The right of an employee to have union representation present during disciplinary questioning is guaranteed to certain employees under the provisions of section 75 of the civil service law. The section also allows disciplinary procedures above and beyond the scope of those specifically delineated in statute to be the subject of negotiation during the normal collective bargaining process between public employers and their collective bargaining units.

This bill will amend section 209-a, creating the potential for conflict between the procedures outlined in section 75 of the civil service law and those collective bargaining agreements negotiated in accordance with that section which may have established jointly agreed upon disciplinary procedures which differ from those in section 209-a.

This potential conflict could bring about confusion as to the disciplinary procedures to be followed, and potentially different outcomes under separate sections of civil service law.

The bill also requires that representation be provided upon demand, but does not indicate who actually has to make the request for representation. Under the terms of this bill, an employee organization could demand to represent an employee during questioning and file an improper practice complaint if they were not allowed to, even if the individual employee did not request to be represented during questioning.

This proposed amendment will bring about confusion and create additional costly and disruptive litigation over which sections of civil service law apply.
Senate Aye 61 Nay 1 (Meier)
Assembly Aye 143 Nay 0
Current Status: Awaiting Delivery to the Governor by the Senate

S7387 Robach/A11087 Abbate – an act to amend the civil service law in relation to reduction in force and recall provisions to permanently appointed employees in competitive, non-competitive and labor jurisdictional classes

This bill amends the civil service law to mandate that all local governments institute the same procedures during a reduction in force situation, for employees in non-competitive and labor classes, as those currently delineated in statute as applying only to employees in the competitive class. This includes a mandate that reduction in force occur based upon inverse order by date of appointment, and that recall rights be provided based upon seniority to individuals holding the same or similar positions.

Terms and conditions of employment, including layoff and recall rights, are mandatory subjects of negotiation under the Taylor Law. This bill interferes with local collective bargaining, by mandating the implementation of similar procedures for all classes of employees, regardless if whether layoff and recall provisions for these classes of employees have been included in existing collective bargaining agreements. This bill supersedes all existing agreements that have these provisions, replacing them with a mandated seniority system of layoff and recall.

This bill will also have unforeseen impacts in many counties where collective bargaining agreements on recall provisions have been negotiated because of the special circumstances involved. In one NYSAC member county, a generic title of staff nurse in the non-competitive class applies to all nurses in the county hospital regardless of medical specialty. Because medical specialties differ from department to department in a hospital, the county and its union negotiated layoff and recall provisions in the event of a reduction in force that takes these differences into account.

This bill would abrogate that union agreement and require layoffs and recalls to be based on seniority, alone. This could result in a situation where a nurse on layoff from pediatrics, for example, would have the ability to fill a vacancy in surgery because of seniority provisions of this bill, even though the nurse had no experience, training or specialization in the surgical theatre.

By mandating procedures, this bill could result in this particular county having to chose from one of 2 options: rehire based on seniority alone and endanger the public health; or go through the laborious, costly and time consuming process of reclassifying all of the nursing positions in the hospital requiring the approval of hundreds of new positions by the State Civil Service Commission.

This undue interference in local collective bargaining will cost counties and the taxpayers they serve, millions of dollars in new unwarranted costs.
Senate Aye 61 Nay 0
Assembly Aye 135 Nay 1 (Fitzpatrick)
Current Status: Awaiting Delivery to the Governor by the Senate

S7903 Spano/A10082 Lentol—an act to amend the civil service law, in relation to independent hearing officers in disciplinary hearings.

This bill amends section 75 of the civil service law to prohibit public employers from dismissing a public employee for cause, unless the determination is made by an independent hearing officer. The bill further provides that if a hearing officer cannot be agreed to by the union and the employer, one will be chosen from a list of 7 provided by PERB with each side alternately striking names until a selection is made.

Under existing law, enhancements to disciplinary procedures under section 75 are subject to the collective bargaining process. This bill, again unduly interferes with local collective bargaining by imposing a state mandate.

This bill furthers tilts the balance between the interests of employers and employees through a significant flaw in its provisions. Under section 76 of the existing civil service law, an employee may appeal the decision of a hearing officer. This section is not amended by this bill to give the employer a similar right to appeal an independent hearing officer’s decision and thus only provides for the employee’s right of appeal.

This amendment to the civil service law has been opposed by NYSAC and vetoed by the Governor in 1994, 1997, 2004, and 2005. There are no new provisions in this bill which address the concerns raised by NYSAC or the Governor in his prior 4 veto messages.
Senate Aye 61 Nay 0
Assembly Aye 142 Nay 2 (Bacalles, Fitzpatrick)
Current Status: Awaiting Delivery to the Governor by the Senate

S6854 Maziarz/A9846 Abbate—an act extending the period of leaves of absence by reason of disability resulting from occupational injury or disease for public employees.

This bill will amend the civil service law to extend the period of leaves of absence by reason of disability resulting from an occupational injury or disease, by an additional 6 months from its current one year period.

Under current law, a municipality may refill a position if an employee’s leave of absence granted for an occupational injury or disease continues for a cumulative period of one year. If the employee is injured as a result of an on the job assault, the employee is entitled to a leave of absence of at least 2 years. The injured civil servant is granted notice of and an opportunity for a hearing on any disputes regarding their ability to work.

If the person recovers and applies for reinstatement within one year of the termination of such disability, or after 2 years if injured because of an assault on the job and is found physically and mentally fit to perform the duties of their former position, they are reinstated if a vacancy exists, or can be appointed to a position in a lower grade of the occupational field or in a vacant position for which they are eligible for transfer. If no vacancy exists, they are eligible for placement on a preferred list for up to four years.

This proposed amendment will effectively render a municipality incapable of recruiting and retaining qualified individuals to provide essential services. If a municipality is able to interest a candidate in a position made vacant due to disability, but is required to inform the candidate that they may be bumped out of that job by a former employee for up to one and one half years, it is highly likely that this essential position will remain vacant for the entire 18 month period.

Existing civil service law, workers compensation law, disability retirement law and applicable federal statutes provide ample benefits and protections to insure that proper treatment is afforded to the injured worker.
Senate Aye 60 Nay 0
Assembly Aye 136 Nay 1 (Fitzpatrick)
Current Status - Awaiting Delivery to the Governor by the Senate

S7842 Robach/A 11261 Abbate—an act to amend the civil service law in relation to injunctive relief incidental to employer and employee organization improper practices

This bill amends section 209 of the civil service law to remove the requirement that the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) find irreparable injury resulting from an improper practice when a party petitions PERB for injunctive relief.

The irreparable injury standard is the same standard utilized by the federal courts in determining whether injunctive relief should be granted in situations governing private sector labor relations disputes under the National Labor Relations Act.

Under the terms of this bill, PERB must simply find that injunctive relief is necessary to provide a “meaningful remedy” to an improper practice charge. The bill further establishes this lesser standard for the courts to issue an injunction.

This bill merely establishes a process to circumvent the current procedures of PERB in resolving an improper practice charge. The bill also fails to adequately define “meaningful remedy” undoubtedly leading to litigation to define its intent.

Under current law, a public employer may obtain a stay while appealing the improper charge finding under section 5519 of the civil practice law and rules. This bill will eliminate the ability of a public employer to obtain a stay of injunctive relief granted for improper practices.

Since 1994 when injunctive relief was first adopted, over 200 petitions have been filed for injunctive relief and few have been granted because they were unable to achieve an irreparable injury standard. PERB as a result has been able to develop appropriate remedies in the cases where improper practices have been found. This bill will only make it easier to invoke injunctive relief, and will do nothing to resolve the underlying reasons for the dispute.
Senate Aye 60 Nay 1 (Saland)
Assembly Aye 128 Nay 1 (Fitzpatrick)
Current Status Awaiting Delivery to the Governor by the Senate

S1696B Johnson/A3221B Sweeney—provides that military service credit granted to members of retirement systems may increase retirement benefits beyond benefit limitations.

This bill amends the retirement and social security law to allow a member of the common retirement system to claim military service credit of up to 3 additional years of credit beyond the current benefit ceiling levels.

The bill is also retroactive to 1998, providing additional credit to current retirees. The cost of this benefit enhancement is 60% of the individual’s final average salary, payable by all members of the NYSLERS who are eligible. This is an expensive benefit, although the true number it actually affects could not be determined by the actuary in the fiscal note. No matter the size of the number, this will mean increased pension costs to local government.
Senate Aye 60 Nay 0
Assembly Aye 127 Nay 0
Current Status Awaiting Delivery to the Governor by the Senate

S3741A Spano/A5006a Gantt—a bill to provide for an optional 25 year retirement plan for state, county, and municipal 911 operators.

This bill will provide for an optional 25 year retirement program for state, county and municipal 911 operators. Under the terms of this bill if the public employer elects to provide this option, any employee working as a public safety dispatcher, public safety telecommunicator or communications officer in a state or municipal 911 center will be able to retire after 25 years of service regardless of age,

This benefit will result in an increase in public employer contributions of approximately 2.1% of the employee’s annual salary.

This increased cost will have to be paid by public employers, already straining under the increased cost of public employee pensions.
Senate Aye 60 Nay 0
Assembly Aye 141 Nay 1 (Fitzpatrick).
Current Status: Awaiting Delivery to the Governor by the Senate

S4295 Robach/A9845 Abbate—amends the civil service law in relation to appointments to the Public Employment Relations Board.

This bill will amend Subdivision 1 of Section 205 of the civil service law, to provide that those individuals appointed by the Governor to serve on the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) must have served in a neutral capacity for not less than 3 years prior to such appointment.

In the almost 40 years that PERB has been in existence, NYSAC is hard pressed to identify a member of the board who has met this requirement. Prior appointments to the board by numerous governors have all been experienced in labor relations either on behalf of an employer or a union.

Upon appointment to the board, all other labor relations activities conducted in their prior capacity by the new member must cease. Prior appointees over the years have all served in the neutral capacity required by law. Under existing statute anyone nominated by the Governor to PERB must be confirmed by the Senate, giving anyone who believes a nominee is unqualified, ample opportunity to raise their objections.

The only individuals who would be eligible for appointment to PERB under this bill’s provisions would be arbitrators.
Senate Aye 58 Nay 0
Assembly Aye 141 Nay 2 (Fitzpatrick, Ignizio)
Current Status: Awaiting Delivery to the Governor by the Senate

S6961 Morahan/A10270 Zebrowski—amends the retirement and social security law in relation to certain medical presumptions applicable to member of the New York State and Local Employee Retirement System (NYSLERS) and the New York State and Local Police and Fire Retirement System ( NYSLPFRS).

This bill will expand the “heart provisions” for members of the NYSLERS and NYSLPFRS. This bill expands the provisions of presumptive cause; that deaths and disabilities for police officers and sheriff deputies from heart related illnesses are presumed to be job related, occurred in the performance and discharge of duties and were “the natural and proximate result of an accident”.

This bill was written to overturn court rulings that accidental disability heart benefits require the claimant to submit proof of a work-related accident, and submit proof that a notice of accident was filed with the employer. This bill would eliminate these requirements making all heart related disabilities job related, regardless of whether an accident or incident actually occurred and without regard to the current medical condition of the claimant. The claimant merely has to show that there was no evidence of a heart related condition at time of the pre-hire physical, even if that occurred 20 years prior.

This bill will increase the number of awards for accidental disabilities related to heart diseases. The enactment would increase the annual state and local costs under NYSLPFRS by $15.8 million and the annual costs to counties for sheriff’s deputies under NYSLERS by between .3% and .4 % depending upon the retirement option selected by the county.
Senate Aye 58 Nay 0
Assembly Aye 141 Nay 2 (Fitzpatrick, Glick)
Current Status: Awaiting Delivery to the Governor by the Senate