National Lawyers Guild
November 22, 2011
In a victory for workers' human rights, the International Labor Organization ruled on November 16, 2011 that New York's ban on and penalties for public sector strikes, as carried out during the 2005 NYC transit strike, violates workers' fundamental human rights.
During the strike, NY courts jailed transportation workers' leader Roger Toussaint, fined the union, its members and leaders millions, and took away dues checkoff as punishment for a two and a half day strike which the City admitted endangered no one's health or safety.
The decision states that the "Taylor Law," which prohibits public worker strikes, is contrary to the right to freedom of association, and urges the US government to "take measures without delay to ensure that the union is fully compensated in respect of the sanctions and the withdrawal of check-off and to take steps for the compensation of Mr Toussaint for his ten-day detention and the additional sanctions imposed against the striking workers."
A number of human rights and labor lawyers participated in the ILO complaing, including Jeanne Mirer (NLG International Committee co-chair) and Ashwini Sukthankar of the International Commission for Labor Rights, Dean Hubbard of the International Labor Justice Working Group, Angela Cornell of the Cornell Law School Labor Law Clinic, many people at the AFL-CIO, Daniel Blackburn of the International Centre for Trade Union Rights, and Peter Rosenblum of the Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic.
James Little, president of the Transport Workers Union, said that "This ruling from the ILO, which pertains to the critical New York City transit sector, could become a spearhead for the American labor movement's defense of the rights of public sector workers, and eventually spur re-shaping of U.S. law in this area." The TWU discusses the victory here.
November 16, 2011
Size: 303.7K (kilobytes)
November 10, 2009
Size: 2.33M (megabytes)
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