A federal judge granted local labor unions a preliminary injunction on the Nassau County Executive Powers Expansion Law (Local Law No. 315-12) Monday.
The law, if enacted, would have given Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano the authority to open up collective bargaining agreements and extract $41 million or more in drastic labor cuts to pay for the county's backlog of property tax judgments.
Judge Arthur Spatt granted the plaintiffs -- the Correction Officers Benevolent Association (COBA), Civil Service Employees Association, Police Benevolent Association (PBA), Detectives Association Inc. and Superior Officers Association -- the preliminary injunction, barring the county executive from unilaterally modifying any terms or conditions of employment for any unions that are set forth in contracts, according to a release from the COBA.
No changes can be made pending the final determination at the conclusion of the case.
"When you enter into an agreement with somebody, you should keep your word on that agreement," Nassau PBA President Jim Carver told Patch Tuesday, "and that’s what this is about -- keeping your word, your promise on a deal."
Carver made a point of saying that the various union members are already under a wage freeze set forth by the Nassau Interim Finance Authority (NIFA).
"[This law] would have gone beyond just freezing our salaries, it would have gone into diminishing benefits," he said. "... This is a big win."
Also denied was the county’s argument that Spatt didn't have the jurisdiction to decide the federal issue since COBA has introduced a motion in state court contesting the manner in which this local law was adopted. The COBA is still proceeding in state court on this matter.
Lastly, the county asked the judge to have the plaintiff’s post a $41 million bond to put in escrow pending the final determination. Judge Spatt denied the county's motion on that request as well.
"This is a major victory for COBA and all of the other county labor unions," said John Jaronczyk, President of the Nassau County Sheriff’s Correction Officers Benevolent Association, in a release. "... We believe that Local Law 315-12 is unconstitutional and that this law was illegally approved by the legislature. We are very confident that we will prevail in these matters in the coming months."
Carver echoed Jaronczyk’s sentiments, saying that by looking at the judge’s language, he feels the unions will win in the long run.