Negotiations between a New York union and an employer are not always smooth. In fact, they can sometimes get a little rough with rhetoric emanating from both sides. This can be viewed as a negotiating tactic to garner improved employee benefits via the collective bargaining process. One strategy that is used is to take to the airwaves with advertising to show how a union’s position differs from the employer’s position.
The union representing New York State corrections officers has launched an advertising campaign that accuses New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo of putting prisoners ahead of law abiding citizens. The campaign asserts that children and schools are not receiving the proper funding while criminals are granted lucrative benefits. The issues between the governor and the unions representing corrections officers and police officers have sparked this chasm as they are embroiled in an ongoing contract dispute.
For its part, a spokesperson for the governor says that this is an attempt to use ancillary issues in the negotiations for the contract. Corrections officers claim that the governor has tried to make it easier to dismiss corrections officers and to soften the discipline meted out to prisoners who are combative.
When unions are seeking to improve the conditions and benefits for their workers, it can be a difficult process. This is especially true in city and state jobs where there is significant oversight and claims of limited funds to give the workers what they need and want in terms of benefits, protections and safety. While using collateral attacks can be effective as part of the negotiation, it is important to know what is legal and what is not; what is appropriate and what is not; and if there can be blowback from the strategy. When trying to ensure that union members are protected and every legal tool at the union’s disposal is deployed effectively, it is important to have the advice needed to ensure all laws are being followed.