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

Written by Hunter Raines, Albany Government Law Review Member

Introduction

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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New York State’s Ethical Crisis: What Is Governor Cuomo Going To Do About It?

Emma Maceko, Albany Government Law Review Member

Introduction

New York State’s newly elected Governor, Andrew Cuomo, delivered his first State of the State address on January 5, 2011, in front of over two thousand people at Albany’s Convention Center.  During this address, he bluntly stated that “[t]his is a time of crisis for our state.”[1] No one can deny that the State of New York is in dire straits, plagued by a number of serious and controversial problems in need of immediate attention.  Although issues like the State’s current ten billion dollar budget deficit[2] and its high unemployment rate dominated Governor Cuomo’s State of the State address and have also stolen much of the media spotlight, the issue of ethical reform within the state government is one of great importance that should not be overlooked.

Ethical reform is an issue that has been getting a lot of attention all over the country, especially here in New York State.  Governor Cuomo addressed this issue in his State of the State address amid his discussion about reinventing the state government.  Governor Cuomo must approach ethical reform head on, and how he handles it will likely be critical to the success of his administration.  The people of New York State have lost confidence in their government.  Over the past few years, New York State politicians at all levels of government have made headline after headline for being at the center of high-profile political scandals, scandals that have resulted in a growing sense of distrust and disillusionment toward the government and other public institutions.[3] Governor Cuomo made cleaning up Albany a key campaign pledge, but what is it that he is proposing and how can future abuses by state politicians be prevented?

Continue reading “New York State’s Ethical Crisis: What Is Governor Cuomo Going To Do About It?”