Brooklyn State Supreme Court Justice Bruce Balter flatly denied the Transport Workers Union of America’s (TWU) request to resume automatic dues deductions after the union failed to renounce its right to strike.
The TWU lost “dues check-off” rights —the ability to automatically deduct dues from members’ paychecks—as punishment for the illegal 60-hour transit workers’ strike that crippled New York City in December 2005.
The TWU had plenty of incentive to make nice: Between June 2007, when it halted dues check-off, and November, when it made its plea to the court, the union lost more than $1 million in dues. Yet the TWU representative presented the court with a canned statement that the TWU “does not assert the right to strike.” Balter called the statement “patently insufficient” as it “merely parrots the statutory language.”
Surprisingly, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority pleaded on the union’s behalf, in the interest of labor harmony. The court, however, said it would not restore the dues check-off capability until the TWU submits affidavits by all 48 members of its local board unequivocally renouncing the right to strike.