But efforts to restructure costly public sector employment contracts in New York State often run into a legal wall known as the Triborough Amendment. [i] The amendment adopted in 1982 stipulates that all provisions of a public workers` union contract – including those providing for automatic annual wage increases – must remain in force after the expiry of the contract, regardless of changes in local priorities and tax conditions. The Triborough Amendment… Undermines the collective bargaining process by preventing unions from offering concessions or concessions, since the terms of the current contract remain in effect until an agreement is reached. Not only is New York the only state in the nation known to have such a requirement, but also in the private sector, where collective bargaining has existed for more than  years under the National Labor Relations Act, employers who are parties to an employment contract are not subject to a similar obligation. [xxxi] The adoption of Governor Cuomo`s 2% cap in 2011 for property tax growth in districts, municipalities, schools and special districts only reinforces the case for repealing the Triborough Act. To live within the ceiling without disrupting public services, local governments and school districts need more flexibility to stem automatic wage increases and restructure the most expensive aspects of their collective agreements. But, as I said earlier, Triborough is pushing unions to oppose such changes. One of the most important clarifications on the rights of public workers` unions under the Taylor Act came in 1972 in a PERB ruling in a contractual dispute involving employees of the Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority. [x] In this case, the board found that, at the expiry of a contract, public employers were prohibited from changing the terms of employment while negotiating an estate agreement. It became known as the Triborough Doctrine. [xi] A specific clause, the Triborough Amendment, requires that, in the absence of a contract, the terms of the previous contract be maintained indefinitely. This amendment protects workers when contracts expire before an agreement is reached, otherwise governments could simply wait for the treaties to expire and unilaterally change the terms.
The Conservative Party of New York State, which seeks to abolish the amendment, argues that the guarantee of amending an indeterminate contract eliminates any incentive for unions to negotiate in good faith.  Repealing the Triborough Amendment would leave intact the old Triborough Doctrine, which preserves the most important elements of the status quo after an agreement is adopted.