Cuomo signs bill that gives unions more power to recruit members despite Supreme Court Case

Gov. Cuomo signed a bill Thursday to give unions a boost even if the Supreme Court rules against them in a high-stakes case.  The legislation would make it easier for public workers’ unions to recruit members — and allow them to deny extra services to people who refuse to join.

Gov. Cuomo signed a bill Thursday to give unions a boost even if the Supreme Court rules against them in a high-stakes case.

The legislation would make it easier for public workers’ unions to recruit members — and allow them to deny extra services to people who refuse to join.

Cuomo, who is facing a primary challenge on his left from Cynthia Nixon, signed the bill at the United Federation of Teachers Manhattan headquarters after a rousing speech where he mentioned the legislation only in passing and bashed President Trump’s record on workers’ rights.

“Our people were defrauded by President Trump,” he said. “He saw the desperation in the middle class, he felt the pain of the middle class, which is real.”

Cuomo likened the pitch to a late-night TV commercial for a pill that will make you lose weight and grow hair  “Who doesn’t want to buy that pill? I need that pill. That’s what he offered,” he said. “It was a scam.”

The high court is weighing whether to stop states like New York from requiring workers to pay some union fees even if they opt out of becoming full-fledged members.

The plaintiff in the case, Janus vs. AFSCME — who many observers predict is likely to prevail — argues that requiring the fees is a violation of First Amendment rights.

Under the bill signed Thursday, which was inserted into the state budget, state and city governments will have to notify the union within 30 days after a worker is hired, and hand over their name, home address, and work location.

The union will then be allowed to meet with the employee for 30 days during work hours to pitch the benefits of joining, though the employee would be allowed to refuse the meeting.

The law also says that unions can deny extra perks aside from collective bargaining representation - like free lawyers, life or auto insurance, discount programs, or test prep for civil service exams — to people who don’t pay dues.

Cuomo said the state is prepared to have labor’s back in ongoing fights stretching beyond the Supreme Court case. Republicans, he said, have it out for unions because “it is the union movement that drives the Democratic party.”

“This is the tip of the iceberg. We are in the middle of a big, big fight nationwide,” he said.