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Legislative Memo

T 518.465.7511
www.bcnys.org

BILL:

S.627 (Marcellino)

Support

SUBJECT:

UI waiting period for strikers

 

DATE:

February 5, 2007

 

This bill would amend the Labor law and waive the seven week unemployment insurance waiting period for striking workers if replacement workers are hired. The Business Council opposes enactment of this legislation.

Upsetting the balance
Employers and their unionized employees understand that there are consequences to allowing negotiations to fail leading in some cases to a strike. This is why there are so few strikes.

When there are strikes, however, both parties are pressured to settle as soon as possible. For the employers, business is disrupted and loss of business occurs even if replacement workers are hired. For employees, the economic consequences of lost wages and employment are the sacrifices that they are willing to make. It is these balanced pressures on both parties that eventually result in the settlement of the disagreement and an end to the strike.

This legislation upsets that balance. The Legislature should not take sides in these controversies and bestow benefits on one party through this type of legislation.

Actions have consequences
For employees, pre-strike planning involves an evaluation of the economic consequences of going on strike. Employees understand that New York law delays eligibility for unemployment insurance benefits for seven weeks. They understand that this is a part of the overall sacrifice that they will make. Considering all of this, they make their decision to strike or not to strike.

Since this fact is known in advance and is part of the overall decision, and employees understand the consequences of their decision, there is no justification for the Legislature to arbitrarily waive the seven week waiting period through this legislation.

Increased subsidization
Employers already subsidize strikes because New York law authorizes unemployment insurance benefits to strikers after a seven week waiting period. This legislation simply expands the current subsidy provided by New York State employers. There is no justification for this.

For these reasons, The Business Council opposes this legislation and respectfully urges that it not be enacted by the Senate.