The Triborough Amendment: Necessary Protection for Public Employees or a Barrier to Reform?

Written by Hunter Raines, Albany Government Law Review Member


The Public Employees’ Fair Employment Act, popularly known as the Taylor Law, has long governed the employment relationship between the State of New York and its’ employees.  While the law has proved to be successful in improving the formerly turbulent relationship between the two parties, an important aspect of the law should be revised as a matter of public policy.  New York State currently faces a nearly $10 billion dollar budget deficit as newly-elected Governor Andrew Cuomo prepares to present his budget proposal to law makers, which will require drastic action in order to address.[1] One way which has been proposed to accomplish this task is through repealing, “suspending” or “freez[ing]” the Triborough Amendment to the Taylor Law, referred to by some as one of the “dirty little secrets in collective bargaining.”[2]

The Triborough Amendment to the Taylor Law

The Taylor Law was the product of a study commissioned by Governor Nelson Rockefeller in 1966 to address labor disruptions in the public sector.[3] One of the primary purposes of the Taylor Law was to prohibit strikes by allowing public employees to unionize.[4] The Taylor Law gave the employee a voice in determining such terms of employment by way of a union instead of one-on-one, preventing an interaction or interrelationship between the public employer and the public employee with respect to collective bargaining of terms and conditions of employment (hereinafter “TCE”).[5] To assist in resolving disputes, the Taylor Law also created the Public Employees Relations Board (hereinafter “PERB”).[6]

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