Neetu Chandak, DCNF
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone will sign an executive order to protect labor union participants from harassment on Monday.
“Suffolk is ready to fight back against the latest assault by Washington to dismantle the middle class,” Bellone, a Democrat from New York, told the New York Daily News.
Although the public will have access to public employee titles, salaries, and dates of hire, the order blocks county officers from releasing personal information like addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses. The idea is to prevent anti-union activists from intimidating employees into resigning their union memberships.
This is the first order of its kind at the local and county levels on Long Island, according to the New York Daily News.
Bellone’s order is similar to an executive order New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed on June 27, following Janus v. AFSCME. In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that public sector employees cannot be forced to pay labor union dues unless they sign up to be part of the labor organization.
Cuomo justified the order. “While the Janus decision attempts to undermines worker safety and privacy, we will step in to prevent this from happening,” Cuomo wrote in an op-ed on June 27. However, the Empire Center for Public Policy disagreed.
“The first to benefit from the ruling will be the 200,000 New York public employees who chose not to join unions but nonetheless have been forced to pay ‘agency fees’ in lieu of union dues,” said the non-partisan think tank on June 27. “They are now in the position to immediately stop paying those fees, saving them $110 million a year.”
Orders that resist the Supreme Court ruling are “calculated distractions” that aim to put “economic interests of government unions” over “First Amendment constitutional rights of workers,” according to a June 29 commentary by the policy center’s Executive Director Tim Hoefner.
New York boasts the highest labor union participation rate in the country, according to Cuomo’s executive order.
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