Under the Taylor Law
RAYMOND D. HORTON
Enactment in 1967 of the Public Employees' Fair Employment Act, or the Taylor Law, created a formal labor relations system in New York State built around the principles of employee organization and representation, collective bargaining, and neutral administration. The purpose of this study is to describe and evaluate New York's experience with this law over the past six years. What important changes in the relations between public employees and state and local government have occurred as a result of the Taylor Law? What are the major strengths and weaknesses of the state's program? Finally, how well has the Taylor Law served public employees, governmental units, and the New York public?
No formal labor relations program existed for state and local employees prior to 1967 except in New York City. In earlier years, however, an informal and intensely political system did exist. Public employees, like other political interest groups, were forced to seek their goals by employing political tactics, including lobbying, lawsuits, and political alliances with elected politicians.
The parameters of public employee labor relations before the passage of the Taylor Law were defined largely by the politics of the state's civil service system and, to a lesser extent, by the common law (later statutory) ban on public employee strikes. The civil service or merit system was introduced by state legislation in 1883. In 1894 the merit principle was incorporated in the state constitution. Vesting the civil service system with a cloak of state statutory and constitutional authority proved important, because it helped direct the attention of civil servants and civil service reformers toward Albany, the