The squabble over public union benefits and collective bargaining has captured the nation’s attention– and was the subject of last Sunday’s column, titled “The Triborough Amendment: Not a Bridge Addition.
I heard from a number of union and members officials, including Pat Puleo, president of the Yonkers Federation of Teachers. Puleo will be my guest on “High Noon” Thursday at 12 noon; WVOX radio, 1460 AM and www.wvox.com. She will talk about various labor issues affecting teachers in Westchester County’s largest school district as well as the Triborough Amendment.
Listener calls will be taken at 914-636-0110.
In the meantime, here are a couple of sample e-mails in reaction to the last column.
Dear Mr. Reisman,
Regarding your column on public employee unions (3/6/11):
Please note that under the Taylor Law, public employee unions are prevented from going on strike. In 2005, when the NYC Transit Workers Union violated the Taylor Law by striking, the union was fined 1,000,000 dollars per day and the chief of the union was jailed. The Taylor Law limits the power of public employee unions by removing one of any union’s most potent tools, the ability to go on strike.
The Triborough Amendment helps to maintain the balance the power between employers and the public employee unions. With the Triborough Amendment, the terms of the previous contract are kept in place until a new contract is agreed upon. Since unions cannot strike by law, there needs to be an incentive for the employer to negotiate in good faith.
Regarding the “vast, unprotected middle class,” do you think the average (non-unionized) worker will benefit if unions are rendered powerless? If all union workers take a pay cut, receive less benefits, and some get laid-off, will non-union workers reap the benefits? Or will the powers-that-be, the bosses and corporate leaders take the opportunity to lower everyone’s wages and benefits? Do you think corporations want to pay American workers less, in general, so their corporate profits can increase? Is our standard of living in jeopardy? Are we becoming Third World America?
Too many people think that all public employees are retiring with six-digit pensions.
Thank you for explaining the differences between public employees (uniformed services, teachers and school district workers, CSEA, etc.).