Tinkering With the Taylor Law

The transit strike had just ended this afternoon when the Sergeant's Benevolent Association sent 'round a press release from two days ago hailing Governor Pataki for signing a bill that reforms the Taylor Law.

That's right, the very day that NYC transit shut down, the gov was tweaking the very law under which the Transit Workers Union and its striking workers are being fined. The Taylor Law requires that employers bargain in good faith, but unions have said that there's no teeth to that rule: If the Public Employee Relations Board tells the employer to cease and desist, and the employer ignores the order, nothing happens.

The revision signed by Pataki on Tuesday (it passed the legislature in June but wasn't delivered to the governor until December 8) gives the PERB "the authority to make employees whole for the loss of pay and/or benefits resulting from the violation of the cease-and-desist order." Ed Mullins, head of the SBA, says the bill "is a remarkable achievement and was no small undertaking."

The governor's office didn't note on its website the rather awkwardly timed signing of the bill, but not every signing makes the news. Speaking of timing, the bill doesn't take effect for 180 days. Hopefully, the transit talks won't last quite that long.


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