Of course Cuomo will fight union ruling

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (Enterprise photo— Glynis Hart)

The wisdom of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME will be borne out in just a few short months here in New York state.

The decision held that non-union workers cannot be forced to pay fees to public-sector unions. Unions had argued that it is unfair not to collect fees from non-union members who benefit from union bargaining actions. As we will see in a few scant months, however, union money is used for much more than bargaining. It buys a ton of political advertising in New York state, particularly in an election for governor. Let’s say, to put it nicely, not much of that money is spent in support of Republican candidates, regardless of the political makeup of the union membership.

Just hours after the Janus decision was released, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order prohibiting state entities from disclosing personal contact information for state employees amid reports of individuals and organizations harassing union members or prospective union members. Cuomo also announced he will advance legislation to prohibit the disclosure of personal information for all public sector employees, including state and municipal employees.

There are two problems with this executive order. We’ll tackle the easy one first. Why would the governor need to prohibit the disclosure of personal information for public-sector employees? It is already common practice, as anyone familiar with SeeThroughNY.net will attest, that such information isn’t available. We wonder if this “redundant” action will actually be a back door to keep information private that has until now been public.

The second problem with the order is that there should be a two-way protection for harassment of union members or prospective union members.

“In New York, we say no way, no how to union busting,” Cuomo said. “New York is a union state, and as long as I am governor of the state of New York, we will do everything in our power to protect union members and ensure the labor movement continues to deliver on the promise of the American Dream.”

That’s all well and good, but the desperate fight by unions to prevail in the Janus case makes us wonder if they will be so desperate to keep members that people who want to opt out of the union or the fair-share fees will be similarly harassed or blackballed at work. There should be no pressure to either join a union, stay in the union, leave the union, pay the fair-share fees or not. Pressure tactics on any side are wrong. Everyone should be protected, not just Cuomo’s allies.

Of course, protecting the fair-share fees is kind of important to the governor. His campaign stands to benefit quite a bit from those union-backed campaign advertisements this fall.

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