To All Directors/Legislative Directors:
Many of our member units are encountering mandates with respect to masks, vaccinations, testing, etc., from their employers. Inevitably, there will be litigation regarding these issues.
It is NYSPEC's position that a union representing members upon whom such a mandate is unilaterally imposed should file an improper practice charge against their employer. We maintain that such mandates impact terms and conditions of employment, and therefore must be bargained.
Of great import related to this subject is what has occurred to two of our member unit presidents, NYSPEC Trustee Dennis Quirk, president of the New York State Court Officers Association, and NYSPEC Director Ed Mullins, president of the New York City Sergeants Benevolent Association. Both these leaders are facing discipline (Dennis is currently suspended and Ed is proceeding to a departmental trial on September 8) essentially for exercising their right as elected union leaders to represent their members.
We view this as yet another attack on unions, and management attempts to muzzle the voices of elected union leaders. Let us not forget that what is allowed to happen to one of us will be the start of what they will attempt to do to all of us. What needs to be set in stone is that union officials have the absolute right to defend their membership.
I have spoken with Senator Diane Savino (who is, as you know, a former elected union official herself) and Assemblyman Peter Abbate, who chairs the Governmental Employees Committee. They are proposing legislation to amend civil service law to prohibit public employers from dismissing public employees, or taking disciplinary action or other adverse personnel action, in these types of situations, and to provide for an affirmative defense in any disciplinary process or employer action against any similarly situated public employee.
We must support union leaders who are under attack, knowing full well that we cannot allow management to stifle their voices.
Reproduced below is the aforementioned legislation; this is a bill that we all need to get behind 100%!
Peter D. Meringolo
STATE OF NEW YORK
2021-2022 Regular Sessions
August 30, 2021
Introduced by Sen. SAVINO -- read twice and ordered printed, and when
printed to be committed to the Committee on Rules
AN ACT to amend the civil service law, in relation to prohibiting public
employers from taking disciplinary action against public employees in
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-
bly, do enact as follows:
1- 1 Section 1. Subdivision 2 of section 75-b of the civil service law is
1- 2 amended by adding a new paragraph (b) to read as follows:
1- 3 (b) A public employer shall not dismiss or take other disciplinary or
1- 4 other adverse personnel action against a public employee if such public
1- 5 employee is elected or appointed to represent the employee organization
1- 6 or its members or communicates or offers commentary on matters of public
1- 7 concern or matters affecting the employee organization or its members.
1- 8 § 2. Section 75-b of the civil service law is amended by adding a new
1- 9 subdivision 3-a to read as follows:
1-10 3-a. It shall be an affirmative defense in any disciplinary or other
1-11 adverse personnel action against a public employee if such public
1-12 employee is elected or appointed to represent the employee organization
1-13 or its members, communicates or offers commentary on matters of public
1-14 concern or matters affecting the employee organization or its members.
1-15 § 3. This act shall take effect immediately.
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
[ ] is old law to be omitted.
Peter D. Meringolo