Perdido 03

Perdido 03

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Governor Cuomo Seeks To Weaken Union

The Public Employees Federation (PEF) endorsed Zephyr Teachout during the Democratic primary.

Given that endorsement of Teachout, you can't be surprised about this latest Cuomo gambit:

In a move that has sent shock waves through the state's unionized workforce, the Cuomo administration on Monday sent notices to about 1,000 members of the Public Employees Federation telling them the state is seeking to reclassify the recipients as non-union workers.

The notices went to people in more than three dozen state agencies, including the departments of Environmental Conservation, Labor, Health, Housing and Motor Vehicles, the Office of General Services, the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities and more.

Affected job titles range from attorneys to auditors, program specialists, parole hearing officers and tax law judges.

The notices said that the state has filed with the Public Employment Relations Board to reclassify the jobs as managerial/confidential rather than unionized positions.

Employees who were handed the notices were asked to sign them on the spot to acknowledge that they received them, although not everyone complied.

"We were just handed this," one union member said of the notices.


The scope and number of positions that would be affected by this request was unusually large.


The Cuomo administration and PEF had been disputing the status of those jobs since March 2013, and PERB eventually ruled for unionization. The state then sued but lost in trial court. The state could appeal and if that happens the status of those employees may not be decided until next year. Some on Monday wondered if the move was in retaliation for that battle.

Another theory about the latest move centered on whether the state is simply trying to weaken PEF by reducing the union's approximately 54,000 members by 1,000.

Others wondered if the governor is angry at PEF's endorsement in September of Zephyr Teachout, the Fordham Law school professor who challenged Cuomo in the Democratic gubernatorial primary.

It's probably a combination of all three.

I don't think anybody who's watched Cuomo would be surprised to hear he wants to weaken a state workers a union nor that he would want to retaliate against them for fighting him on job reclassification in the past.

But the clincher had to be the Teachout endorsement.

This ought to be a little sign to union leaders and unionized workers of what is to come in the next four years of the Cuomo administration.


  1. Why? I just want to know the true answer as to why this man did this? power-play or sticking it?

    1. Both, I think. Payback for 2014 endorsement and making power play over PEF for fighting previous reclassification efforts.