Upset About the Union Ruling? New York Lawmaker Proposes 'Workaround'
New York’s most senior Democratic lawmaker is proposing an end-run around a US Supreme Court ruling that could cost the state’s powerful public-employee unions more than $100 million a year.
Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan), a longtime labor ally, plans to introduce legislation that would allow unions to include collective-bargaining costs in their contracts with government agencies to replace the mandatory fees banned under last month’s Janus v. AFSCME ruling.
“I would call it a workaround,” said Gottfried, who has served for 50 years in Albany. “I don’t think there’s a lot of logic to the Janus decision to start with, but New York state — in our Constitution and law — has long recognized that public employees have the right to collectively bargain.”
The Supreme Court declared last month that fees collected from non-union members in lieu of dues violated their First Amendment’s protections against forced speech. Unions had argued that all employees should help cover the costs of contract negotiations since all employees are covered by the contract.