The NYS Constitution establishes the fundamental rights we enjoy as citizens of New York state, as public employees, and as retired public employees. A Constitutional Convention would become the vehicle to further the attacks on public education, unions and collective bargaining, pension security for retirees, and other basic rights and protections. VOTE NO to proposition 1 on Tuesday, November 7th!
The following are some of the basic rights and protections under attack across our state and nation. A Constitutional Convention could further threaten them.
• The right to a free public education (Article 11, §1)
• Prohibition of reductions in public pension benefits (Article 5, §7)
• Rights to workers’ compensation (Article 1, §18)
• Rights pertaining to union membership and collective bargaining (Article 1, §17)
• Social welfare rights (Article 27, §1)
• Prohibitions on the use of state monies to assist religious schools (“Blaine Amendment” Article XI, §3)
• A budget role for the state Legislature
• Adirondack “Forever Wild” protections
• State land and forest protections
A Constitutional Convention could:
—Eliminate collective bargaining rights Consider Scott Walker and Wisconsin’s “Act 10” legislation, a model for anti-union interests. It raises employee health care and pension costs, prohibits public employee unions from bargaining over anything other than wage increases based on inflation, bars automatic union dues deductions from paychecks, and requires annual union elections.
— Radically change public employee retirement systems, including but not limited to employer contributions, employee contributions, and benefits Changes to the SUNY ORP could also occur. In all likelihood, no one would be protected from changes through “grandfathering.”
— Change the defined benefits that people expect to receive from TRS or ERS
— Diminish the Legislature’s budget role, giving more power to the Executive Branch A governor could dictate the state budget without legislative approval.
— Change the role or eliminate the Board of Regents A former NYS governor proposed eliminating the Board of Regents to give the governor more direct authority over education policy. Regents are appointed by the Legislature, with public accountability.