The state’s largest public union is alleging that recent layoffs in the state’s Thruway Authority violated the law.
Following the elimination of 231 positions last week at the Thruway Authority and Canal Corp., a division of the authority, the Civil Service Employees Association filed improper practice charges with the Public Employment Relations Board. The union alleges the state unfairly tried to manipulate contract negotiations by threatening these layoffs, which ended up costing 217 employees their jobs when an agreement wasn’t reached.
CSEA represented some of the employees laid off at the Thruway Authority and Canal Corp.
“It is unfortunate that the Cuomo Administration continues to resort to intimidation, threats and bullying to get what it wants at the expense of Thruway and Canal operations,” said CSEA President Danny Donohue in a news release. “The administration doesn’t seem to care that it is hurting people and communities across this state.”
The allegations, according to CSEA, stem from an email sent by Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas Madison to workers in CSEA. In the email, he allegedly threatened layoffs unless the union agreed to management’s contract demands.
“Instead of laying off workers who did nothing to deserve it, the administration should lay off its union busting tactics,” Donohue added.
Officials from the Thruway Authority didn’t offer a response Wednesday night.
CSEA claims they made numerous attempts at finding common ground with the state to avoid layoffs. Thruway Authority officials have not publicly commented on the negotiations, but have noted that management confidential employees have made significant concessions in recent years and that the authority has been tightening its spending for years.
The complaint alleges, “The layoffs announced by the Executive Director are intended to retaliate against unionized workers, including those represented by CSEA, for having exercised their contractual and legal rights to negotiate agreements.”
CSEA has repeatedly argued that the layoffs would affect services and potentially endanger New Yorkers. Last week, they highlighted an email by Canal Corp. Director Brian Stratton, which said their resources would be strained and their operating schedule would be reduced to one last used in 1991.
The union’s complaint, which was filed April 4, the day after the layoffs went into effect, requests that all affected employees be reinstated with back pay.