September 20, 2010

Retirees are not employees within the meaning of the Taylor Law

Retirees are not employees within the meaning of the Taylor Law
New Action and United Federation of Teachers, 30 PERB 3048

New Action, a retiree group, asked the United Federation of Teachers [UFT] for a list of the names and addresses of its retired members. When UFT refused, New Action complained to PERB, contending UFT violated Section 209-a.2(a) of the Taylor Law. Section 209-a.2(a) prohibits an employee organization from interfering with the rights given public employees under the Act.

PERB affirmed the Director of Public Employment Practices and Representation's dismissal of New Action's claims. It agreed with the Director that UFT was permitted to refuse to provide New Action with the names of its retired members because:

1. New Action was not an employee organization within the meaning of the Taylor Law;

2. New Action's demand was not related to the terms and conditions of employment; and

3. The information sought by New Action concerned matters internal to UFT.

While PERB noted that an employee organization has a "general duty" to provide information to the employees it represents concerning their terms and conditions of employment when asked, retirees are not public employees, have no terms and conditions of employment and are not in the UFT bargaining unit.

PERB also rejected New Action's theory that it was entitled to the names and address of UFT retirees because UFT supposedly "allows retirees to vote on ratification of collective bargaining agreements and in elections for union officers." Even if true, PERB ruled, this would not matter as such participation concerns internal union affairs falling outside the scope of the Taylor Law.

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