First-on-Long Island Action will Prohibit Suffolk County from Disclosing Personal Contact Information for Public Employees to Protect Against Union-Busting Tactics.
Suffolk County, NY - July 10, 2018 - Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today signed an Executive Order to safeguard union members from harassment and intimidation, marking the first municipal action taken on Long Island in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Janus v. AFSCME. Similar to action taken at the State level, the Executive Order will prohibit County entities from disclosing personal information for county employees amid widespread reports of individuals and organizations harassing union members or prospective union members.
“Day in and day out, Washington continues to put policies in place that hurt the hard working middle class families, not only in Suffolk County, but across the nation,” said Suffolk County Executive Bellone. “In Suffolk County, we are taking decisive action. This Executive Order sends a clear message, we will do whatever it takes to protect our workers and fight back against the attacks to weaken our unions.”
The Executive Order, which prohibits the County from disclosing personal contact information of a public employee -- such as a telephone number, cell phone, home address, or a personal e-mail address, takes effect immediately. In addition to protecting personal information from anti-union campaigns, the Executive Order also requires the County to notify the relevant union within 30 days of a new employee being hired, rehired or promoted into a bargaining unit represented by that union. As part of the notification, the County will provide the union with the employee's name, address, and work location.
This Executive Order will protect approximately 8,500 public sector employees in Suffolk County. The unions protected include the Suffolk Association of Municipal Employees, the Suffolk County Correction Officers Association, the Suffolk County Deputy Sheriffs PBA, the Suffolk County Superior Officers Association, the Suffolk County Probations Officers PBA, the Suffolk County Detectives Association, the Suffolk County Detectives Investigators PBA, and the Suffolk County PBA.
Last month in a 5-to-4 vote, the U.S Supreme Court ruled that government workers who choose not to join unions may not be required to help pay for collective bargaining. The Supreme Court decision reverses over 40 years of precedent, ensuring that public-sector employees around the nation will no longer have to pay fees or dues to unions to cover the costs of collective bargaining even though they themselves benefit from those efforts. The decision will negatively impact the bargaining position of labor unions and undermine the health and safety protections in place for workers. In New York State alone, this decision affects over one million workers. Experts have also predicted that the decision could lead to the reduction of union membership.
In April, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation into place to protect union membership in New York's public-sector workplaces in anticipation of an adverse ruling in the Supreme Court case. Subsequently, after the ruling, Governor Cuomo signed an Executive Order into place that protects the personal information of New York State public sector employees and their union representation. Labor Unions in New York State and across the Country seek to protect the health and wellness of workers by achieving significant health and safety protections in the workplace, in addition to financial and humanitarian benefits for workers and protecting against employer abuse.