NEW YORK, Jan. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --The New York State Court Officers Association ("Association") filed suit today in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York to protect the constitutional rights of the Association and its current and retired members.
New legislation - Chapter 491 of the N.Y. Laws of 2011 - improperly permits the State to unilaterally change the Association's collective-bargaining agreement and to implement one-sided cuts to health-insurance and prescription drug benefits that Association members and their families have been receiving for nearly 28 years. The State has used this new law to reduce its share of the payments towards health-insurance premiums in direct violation of the rights of the Association and its members. The lawsuit filed today, which the Association brought under the Contracts Clause and Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution, seeks to stop the State from employing this law to make changes that should be the subject of collective bargaining with the union.
Dennis Quirk, President of the Association, explained, "The consequences of the State's reduction of its share of these premiums should not be underestimated -- the recruitment of new court officers could be adversely affected while existing court officers may need to consider other employment options. We are therefore deeply concerned about the chilling effect that these cuts likely will have upon the access to and use of the Courts by all New Yorkers. We are simply seeking for the State to honor its commitments and make any changes through the collective bargaining process."
James E. Tyrrell, Jr., a partner at Patton Boggs LLP and the lead attorney for the Association in this case, added, "The Contracts Clause exists in the U.S. Constitution to protect against just this type of self-interested State action. If States had free reign to enact legislation impairing and redefining the terms of their own contracts, public employees' rights to collective bargaining would be rendered meaningless."
New York State Court Officers Association
The New York State Court Officers Association is an employee organization under the Public Employees' Fair Employment Act. For the past several decades, it has served as the sole, exclusive and recognized bargaining representative for collective negotiations on behalf of non-judicial employees of the State of New York Unified Court System, within the City of New York.
SOURCENew York State Court Officers Association