Hochul Signs Legislative Package to Strengthen Worker Rights in New York

Hochul Signs Legislative Package to Strengthen Worker Rights in New York

By Forum Staff

Governor Kathy Hochul recently signed a legislative package to strengthen the rights of public sector workers in New York State.

The legislation builds on already nation-leading protections for public sector workers. This package builds upon changes announced earlier this year to rebuild and modernize the state and local public sector workforce as part of the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget.

“Workers in New York deserve strong protections and good benefits,” Hochul said. “These new laws will ensure that workers are treated fairly and labor remains strong in New York.”

Legislation S.5495/A.6806 ensures un-remarried spouses and dependents have access to health insurance after the death of a former state or political subdivision employee who retired with an accidental disability or a performance of duty disability pension. There are certain scenarios where the New York State Health Insurance Plan only allows for this in cases where the employee had at least ten years of service prior to their death. This law will now allow those spouses and dependents of such retirees with less than ten years of service to carry such insurance.

Legislation S.5487/A.6856 provides rights to employees outside of the competitive class in the case of a reduction in the workforce that are consistent with what is provided to employees in the competitive class. This new law will provide equal reduction and recall provisions in civil service law to permanently appointed employees in competitive, non-competitive, and labor jurisdictional classifications at all levels of state and local government.

S.6477/A.7157 clarifies information that public sector employers are required to provide to employee organizations. This eliminates any confusion with the current law’s reference to addresses and clarifies that a union is entitled the home address of an employee in its bargaining unit to enable the union to contact that employee outside of the workplace.

Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Howard Beach) said, “The amazing public employees who keep our State running deserve the absolute best – and with these new laws we solidify that commitment. Whether that’s by continuing healthcare for spouses, guaranteeing opportunities for those with abolished roles, or ensuring unions have the correct contact information – we are taking care of our workers and their families! I thank the governor for seeing the benefit in these pieces of legislation and signing them into law.”

Legislation S.6491/A.6866 closes this loophole for arbitrations between public employers and employees by requiring a party to make an application to modify or vacate an award within 90 days after delivery of the award. This change will ensure that there is a more timely final resolution to matters subject to arbitration, requiring an unsuccessful party to determine whether it intends to comply with an award or will move to vacate or modify an award within the 90-day period. While a motion to vacate/modify must be brought within 90 days currently, there is a separate right specifically mentioned in the law and only applicable when the other party seeks to confirm the award, meaning the previous law specifically provided the right to challenge on grounds outside of 90 days.


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