Can you imagine if an Administration can impose their own idea of a contract once the previous contract expired and tell the union "take it or leave it", without the union's ability to strike? That is what happened after 1968 when the State of New York passed the "Taylor Law" that prohibited strikes by union workers and imposed severe economic penalties to the workers by fining them two days of pay for every day they strike and eliminate the union's right to collect dues from its members. Even today, the TWU is still requesting that one third of its members pay up their dues that were not paid after the 2006 Christmas strike that shut down the NYC transit system. From 1968 to 1982 the unions were essentially powerless to stop the imposition of employer friendly requirements. Only political pressure stopped many of the more onerous requirements that the Administration wanted to impose but didn't.
In 1982, the unions succeeded in getting the State to pass the "Triborough Amendment" which leveled the playing field for the unions. Now the union workers kept the previous contract provisions in force until a new contract was negotiated. With the "Triborough Amendment" the Administration cannot impose new working requirements without a new contract. while the union cannot strike to force a new contract. Of late there are calls to eliminate the "Triborough Amendment" but interestingly, the very same people are not calling for the elimination of the "Taylor Law" which prohibits employee strikes. If you want to eliminate one without the other, it smacks of hypocrisy if you ask me.
Just imagine if Mayor Bloomberg had no "Triborough Amendment" to stop him from imposing conditions on the teachers, what would it look like? I can be reasonably assured it would have the following requirements.
- Longer school day and year,
- No teacher due process rights - Arbitrary & capricious standards.
- No seniority rights.
- All ATRs would be fired.
- No cashing in sick days when a teacher retires.
- No class size limits.
- Merit pay.
- Elimination of defined benefit pensions.
- Pay scale that has higher beginning salaries and lower salaries at the end.
- Elimination of retiree health benefits.
- Current teachers would pay private sector health benefit contributions.