In New York, unions are a critical part of ensuring that workers receive all the benefits they are entitled. That includes health care, a fair wage, coverage if there are injuries on the job, retirement benefits and much more. This can be problematic if there is an employer who is seeking to save money or deprive workers of their rights under labor law. When issues arise, there are certain steps that a union can take, such as grievance mediation, arbitration proceedings and other strategies related to collective bargaining. Having a law firm that is experienced in union representation is essential in these and other matters related to labor law.
Across the state, emergency responders and law enforcement are some of the most important workers for keeping people safe. While their presence is expected as part of the landscape, there have been numerous historical instances in which contract problems have arisen.
For example, after seeking a new contract with the city, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association (PBA) -- the largest union in the New York City Police Department -- stated that they are seeking arbitration proceedings to settle the dispute. The PBA complains of significant givebacks, including costlier health care and changes to annuities.
The president of the union stated the intention to seek arbitration. The contract has been a topic for dispute since August of 2017. It runs through the end of July 2019. The city has arbitrators specifically for public employees. If it grants arbitration, it is expected to take around a year for the decision. There was a previous case in which arbitration was used to settle a labor dispute. The PBA was displeased with what it considered a minimal raise of 1 percent in 2015.
For workers who are tasked with putting their lives on the line, benefits are a key part of the protections they have as part of their job. When there is a belief, they are not compensated sufficiently in ways that go beyond a paycheck, it can be the foundation for a dispute. Even unions as strong as the PBA need legal advice from a law firm that has experience in labor cases. When the cases are heading to grievance mediation and arbitration, this need is greater. All unions should have legal assistance from a qualified law firm before, during and after contract negotiations.
Source: The New York Daily News, "PBA blames de Blasio administration's 'draconian givebacks' for stalled contract talks," Esha Ray, March 25, 2018