Triborough Amendment – a law unique to our state – says that if the teachers union in any school district doesn’t like whatever new contract the school board is proposing, they can simply keep their old contract for as long as they want. This includes raises every six months (although they call them “steps” so they don’t sound like…raises). In a nutshell, it leaves school boards zero negotiating leverage.
Bob Castelli, out newly elected State Assemblyman, has followed through on two key campaign promises, one of which was made directly to our “Mad as Hell” crowd. He has introduced legislation to repeal both the Triborough Amendment, and the odious MTA tax. Way to go, Bob! Everyone should understand the guts it took to do this. The teachers union is by far the most powerful – and destructive – force in this state. Bob has now become a target, and he’s up for re-election this November. Expect money to flow into our district to beat him. He will need our support.
The 1982 Triborough Amendment to the Taylor Law prohibits a public employer from altering any provision of an expired labor agreement until a new agreement is reached. This amendment, which was originally approved with the strong support of unions, has the effect of requiring automatic pay increases where a salary step schedule or longevity schedule exists, even though the labor agreement has expired. Consequently, a public employer’s salary costs continue to rise even when labor negotiations have reached an impasse.
The Triborough Amendment also undermines the collective bargaining process by discouraging unions from offering concessions or givebacks since, as long as no agreement is reached, the terms of the current contract remain in effect. Not only is New York the only state in the nation known to have such a requirement, but in the private sector, where collective bargaining has existed for more than 60 years under the National Labor Relations Act, no similar obligation is imposed upon employers who are parties to a labor contract.
The dramatic impact that the Triborough Amendment has on collective bargaining translates into a negotiations process that discourages compromise, putting New York’s taxpayers at an extreme disadvantage.
The Triborough Amendment should be repealed so that public employers and employees can be encouraged to work together to achieve labor contracts that are both fair and affordable.