The Business Council of New York State OPPOSES S.4746 /A.5303 which would amend the Civil Service Law to require that all unresolvable contract negotiation be submitted to binding arbitration for all four upstate transportation authorities (Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority, Central New York Regional Transportation Authority and the Capital District Transportation Authority). Specific concerns include the following:
- The current State Taylor Law impasse procedures used by these upstate transportation authorities have worked well to protect the interests of both public employers and employees;
- Recently reported binding arbitration awards have resulted in undue and unexpected financial hardship for public employers;
- Many public employers presently subject to binding arbitration are counties, cities, towns and villages, which have the power to raise taxes to fund binding arbitration awards. The upstate transportation authorities do not have any power of taxation;
- Existing law provides little recourse for a public employe to challenge an arbitrator’s award;
- Incentives to voluntarily settle contracts would be considerably reduced by this law as bargaining units would perceive themselves in a better position to achieve their objectives through an arbitrator’s award rather than as the result of voluntary settlement;
- The Courts have noted the significant public policy concerns presented by binding arbitration including that it “contravenes public policy, both by compelling a public entity, which has broad responsibilities to the entire population of the State, to be bound forever to non-mandatory subjects of bargaining, i.e. interest arbitration, and by encumbering its ability to negotiate an entirely new collective bargaining agreement which reflects the changing requirements and mandates of the public interest.” Matter of Niagara Frontier Tr. Metro Sys., Inc. v. Amalgamated Tr. Union Local Union 1342, 103 A.D. 3d 1146 (4th Dept. 2013).
- Similar legislation for NFTA Police Officers and Aircraft Rescue Firefighters has been vetoed ten times since 1998.
For these reasons, The Business Council strongly OPPOSES the passage of S.4746 /A.5303.