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PR- 407-07
November 8, 2007


Judge Denies Motion for Reinstatement of Dues Check-Off; Says Union’s Submission “Lacks Credibility”

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today praised the decision by a Brooklyn Supreme Court justice to deny the Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100’s request to have its “dues check-off” privilege restored. The judge found that the union’s motion “lacked credibility” and agreed with the City’s position that Local 100 and the other unions failed to make the requisite showing of good faith compliance with the Public Employees Fair Employment Act – known as the Taylor Law – as required by the court’s orders of April 19, 2006. Local 100 uses the privilege of receiving automatic dues payments from employee paychecks as a way to collect funds; the Taylor Law prohibits New York state public employees from striking.

“The 2005 transit strike harmed our City at the height of the busy holiday season,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “The decision reflects the City’s concerns that the unions’ statements failed to guarantee that there would never again be a transit strike against the people of this City, who depend on mass transit to get to the jobs that feed their families and pay their bills.”
“The judge accepted the City’s contention that any future submissions from the unions ‘require assurances that [they] will not engage in a future strike’ and that such assurances state in unequivocal terms that Local 100 lacks the right to strike against any government or to assist or participate in any such strike,” said Corporation Counsel Michael A. Cardozo of the New York City Law Department , which litigated the issue.  “We are extremely gratified that the judge also required that any future submission by the union ‘come not simply from its president,’ but from ‘each individual member of the Executive Board.’”
The City’s position was argued by Corporation Counsel Cardozo before Justice Bruce Balter of the Brooklyn Supreme Court.  Corporation Counsel Cardozo argued – and the Court agreed – that Local 100’s previous papers to the Court failed to assert, in no uncertain terms, that it no longer claimed a right to strike.  He also argued that the union failed to renounce its periodic practice of engaging in illegal strikes. 
Justice Balter noted in his ruling that, “The Court finds the papers submitted by defendants in support of the motion to be patently insufficient to support the reinstatement of its dues check off rights....” The ruling continued, “The Court finds that the affidavit submitted by Mr. Toussaint merely parrots the statutory language in order to comply verbatim with Justice Jones’ order.  Thus, taken as a whole, Mr. Toussaint’s statement is nothing more than a general acknowledgement that the Taylor Law prohibits Local 100 from striking; as such, the Court finds that the submission lacks credibility and renders the motion inadequate.”
In the last 40 years, Local 100 has struck three times – in 1966, 1980 and 2005 – and made frequent illegal strike threats.  On several occasions, the court has entered injunctions against these actions.  No other public union has struck, or threatened to strike, anywhere near as frequently. Local 100’s last strike, at the height of the 2005 holiday season, prevented the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) and its related entities from providing public transportation to their approximately 7 million daily riders.  In addition to Cardozo, Senior Counsel William Fraenkel of the Law Department's Labor & Employment Law Division worked on this case.


Stu Loeser / Jason Post   (212) 788-2958


Kate Ahlers   (Law Department)
(212) 788-0400

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