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Public Employee Press

Cuomo signs pro-union bill


Gov. Andrew Cuomo on April 12 signs pro-union legislation as state and city labor leaders, including DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido, second from right, look on. The law is a response to a decades-long campaign by the right to destroy unions.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on April 12 signed landmark legislation to strengthen the rights of working men and women in New York State. This new law increases access to and protects union membership in New York’s public-sector workplaces in anticipation of an adverse ruling in the pending Supreme Court case Janus v. AFSCME.

Additionally, the law provides safeguards against the deliberate actions taken by the federal government that continue to undermine the efforts of organized labor across this country.

Moving labor forward

Cuomo described the new law as a response to a long-term campaign by the extreme right to destroy unions.

“This action sends a clear message to the rest of the nation,” Cuomo said. “We will not let this federal administration silence New York’s working class,” he said. “We will support every voice in every community and in every industry, and we will do everything in our power to protect the right to achieve the American Dream.”

New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento, DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido and UFT President Michael Mulgrew were among the labor leaders who attended the signing at the headquarters of the United Federation of Teachers.

“We see a federal government that continues to attack working men and women,” Garrido said. But, he noted, there is a growing resistance to President Donald Trump’s anti-labor administration. The teacher uprising across the country is a sign that workers are starting to stand up to the rightwing campaign against workers. A ruling against labor in Janus v. AFSCME would essentially impose right-to-work laws on public sector workers throughout the entire country.

The legislation strengthens unions by requiring public employers to:
• Notify the relevant union within 30 days of a new employee being hired, rehired or promoted into a bargaining unit represented by that union;
• Provide the new employee’s name, address, work location to the union; and
• Permit union representatives to meet with new employees within 30 days, for a reasonable amount of time, and without charge to leave credits.

The law also:
• Ensures union membership is maintained so workers’ benefits are protected if they take leave;
• Enables unions to send dues deductions to employers electronically, which makes it easier and faster for unions to receive dues; and
• Requires dues to be reinstated automatically if a union member employee leaves service, but is reinstated to a position with the same employer and covered by the same bargaining unit within one year.