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Unions Convince Judge to Stop Furloughs

Some guardedly good news in the face of state budget chaos. From NYSUT:

Good news came late Wednesday as a federal court in Albany issued a temporary injunction to stop until May 26 the governor’s abitrarily imposed plan to furlough many state employees for one day a week until the state’s multi-billion dollar deficit is closed. NYSUT recently filed legal actions seeking injunctions on behalf of its higher education affiliates. Keep it pointed to NYSUT.org for additional info.

From The New York Times:

A federal judge on Wednesday temporarily blocked a one-day furlough of state workers scheduled by Gov. David A. Paterson for next week, reversing a plan that the governor has said is necessary to keep the state from running out of money at the end of the month.

The judge, Lawrence E. Kahn of the United States District Court for the Northern District of New York, issued a temporary restraining order after unions representing state employees and public university teachers filed a lawsuit alleging that the furloughs, which the Legislature approved on Monday, were illegal.

The unions said that forcing workers to take a day off without pay would violate collective bargaining agreements.

Judge Kahn’s ruling also bars Mr. Paterson from seeking any further furloughs until a hearing, which he scheduled for May 26.

Public employees understand better than anyone the urgency with which the state budget crisis needs to be addressed. Labor unions are not the problem, as the Governor would have people believe.

The “tough choices” that the Governor talks about need to be ones that allow for the adequate funding, not the threatening, of the public goods on which our basic security and our state’s economic health depends.