Taken verbatim from the Long Beach Professional Fire Fighters website and their Facebook page in a post titled “City Manager Charles Theofan violates Taylor Law. Found guilty of anti-union animus.” I’ve not seen information about this posted anywhere else.
City of Long Beach Violates New York State Public Employer’s Fair Employment Act (Taylor Law)
Over the course of this administration’s time in charge of the City, it has repeatedly battled this Union, it’s leadership, and it’s members. The Union has had multiple Court actions, multiple internal administrative hearings, and multiple “Improper Practice” charges it has been forced to fight against the City.
An Improper Practice charge, or IP for short, is an allegation, made by the Union, to the NYS Public Employee Relations Board, or PERB for short, that the City has violated certain aspects of Civil Service Law.
While the Union has settled it’s past IP’s with the City prior to their being decided by a PERB Judge, our most recent charge was unable to be settled, and consequently went to a full evidentiary hearing for its resolution. The result of that hearing was a determination that the City, and particularly City Manager Charles Theofan, were guilty of violating Civil Service Law in that they interfered with the internal operations of the Union, and otherwise engaged in a course of action designed to undermine its leadership in the performance of its duties to the members.
They’ve posted the September 22nd decision here.
The Taylor Law is all about what unions can and cannot do and what the government can and cannot do. You’ll often hear it mentioned when workers threaten strikes – like the 2005 transit strike, but generally it covers the basic relationship that unions and the government have and provide a way to mediate disagreements.
Page 8 of the above decision includes the “memo” issued by Mr. Theofan to “all members of the uniformed force” – which is at the heart of the matter. Page 10 of the decision above spells out exactly what the City now had to do because of the violation. Page 20 includes the actual notice that was required to be posted across the Fire Department.
I’d love if some of the legal experts out there could put this in context: are these sorts of violations common between the cities and their workers? I’ve done a fairly extensive news search, but really only see the Taylor Law being mentioned in bits on Teachers’ contract negotiations, and nothing about violations.
To clarify one point: The Taylor Law is an informal name for the Public Employer’s Fair Employment Act (a state law). This should not be confused with the Fair Labor Standards Act which is a comprehensive set of federal laws.