Appellate Division Ruling on Tenure/ Seniority Case

Apr 11, 2018 by

Saving one life is like saving the whole world, it is said in various holy books. In that spirit, protecting labor unions from the single existential threat of the US Supreme Court’s upcoming Janus case decision, practically propels Governor Cuomo to the status of saint, imperfect as he is.

That SCOTUS ruling will likely pack a wallop of notoriety, in that it may support the right of public employees to withhold union dues while partaking of the fruits won through collective bargaining and funded by union membership. Nobody knows yet which of the array of union-guaranteed benefits will remain in full-force and effect or what form they may take for the grumbling opt-outers.

“If you’re not paying dues, then there’s not enough money for the unions to provide you service…Why should you be getting benefits if you don’t pay dues,” asks Peter Abbate, chair of the Governmental Employees Committee.

An impeccably logical question that would be rhetorical were we not muddling through a time when the walls of rationality have been broken down by the battering ram of extremist discourse. Much of it emanates for the “right to work” zealots for school privatization who are driven by a particularly odious blood-lust against teacher unions.

New York State’s governor and legislature is to be commended for a brilliant act of courage. In foresighted anticipation of a potentially catastrophic blow to organized labor, they have included in their recently passed budget a provision that permits public employee unions to deny certain of their products and services to workers who refuse to contribute towards their cost through union membership.

Teacher unions are quite genteel organizations that never resort to what some would deem thuggery. They would never countenance the following proposal, which is strictly my own view as an individual.

Union members at every site should not stoop to make the lives of their non-member traitors an unrelenting hell, but neither should they deign to give them the time of day. If there is an assignment dispute, overtime opportunity denial, blitz of arbitrary and unfair performance evaluations, conflicts with management over lesson plans, bulletin-board compliance, grading prerogatives, due-process advocacy, contractual enforcement, pension consultations, professional development offerings, time and attendance issues, or countless other perks and privileges, let the parasites sink or swim unaided!

It won’t be long before they discover that the tacit, unwritten and unspoken private deal they thought they had worked out with management doesn’t have the force of a contract. Under duress of circumstances,they will begrudgingly beg to rejoin the collective-bargaining fold, but they may have so estranged themselves from the colleagues they had betrayed that it will be too late.

The New York Post and the Empire Center For Public Policy and Reclaim New York are cheerleaders for the team seeking the statutory disintegration of workers’ rights. The Post, in particular, is already editorially drooling at the probable Supreme Court finding.

Their headline last week salivated: “Albany Gift to Fatten Muni-Union Coffers.”

Shock-jock” journalism.”

The Post feels that union members should pay for employees who want to share the benefits but not their cost. That gives me an idea.

Next time I see a New York Post delivery van pulling up to the curb outside a 7-11, I’ll interdict his load of papers, run off with them and save him the trouble of going inside the store. I’ll tell the judge I have just as much right to the New York Fishwrap as the paying customers.

Ron Isaac


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