In the face of severe attacks on public sector unions headed our way this summer with a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court expected in the Janus v AFSCME case as early as June - a case that will, if ruled in favor of the plaintiff, strip unions of the right to collect "Fair Share Fees" from non-dues paying members even as those members benefit from the union contract and representation, as an attempt to starve unions of funding - New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed new legislation last week to help unions stand up against these kinds of attacks.
"We will not let this federal administration silence New York's working class, 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." -- Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Local 1180 President Gloria Middleton was on hand along with a dozen other 1180 members - all public sector workers, who will feel the most immediate impact of a negative outcome in the Janus case - to be a part of the signing. The new law aims to increase access to and protect union membership, while also setting up safeguards against attempts by the federal government to weaken unions.
CWA Local 1180 President Gloria Middleton alongside fellow union leaders and Gov. Cuomo at the signing ceremony
In addition to making it so that unions are no longer forced to represent workers who don't pay dues, the legislation also makes it easier for workers to become union members by requiring public sector employers to:
- Notify the union within 30 days of a new employee being hired, rehired or promoted into a bargaining unit represented by that union
- Provide contact info to the union for the new employee
- Allow union reps to meet with new employees within 30 days for union orientation
"This action sends a clear message to the rest of the nation," said Governor Cuomo. "We will not let this federal administration silence New York's working class, 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."