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New York state acts to reduce plant closings.

New York State acts to reduce plant closings

The governor of New York and leaders from business and labor signed an agreement intended to "help secure the economic future of the State's citizens' by reducing the number of plant closings and the resulting job losses. The New York Compact sets the following goals:

Target government resources to help avert plant closedowns and employment cutbacks and, if that is not possible, to aid the affected community, company, and employees.

Ask business to voluntarily give advance notice of plant closings and major layoffs.

Provide extended health insurance to employees who lose coverage as a result of plant closings or major layoffs.

Require companies applying for public development assistance to give advance notice of plant closings and major layoffs.

To achieve these goals, the Compact calls for the State to develop a system to monitor local economic activity and give the earliest possible warning of plant shutdowns or employment cutbacks. The State also will allocate funds, both grants and loans, to be ued to provide 4 months of health insurance to employees displaced because of plant closings and, if necessary, include funds in the 1987 State budget to continue this program. In another fiscal action, the governor agreed to support a $10 million allocation in the 1987 budget to be used for aiding companies in distress.

To facilitate the program, the Compact calls for action by government, labor, and business to cut work stoppages and layoffs by "improving the climate for business and labor.'

For its part, labor agreed that work stoppages are an economic weapon of last resort; mediation services should be used to avert work stoppages; and that binding arbitration may be a viable alternative for ending contract disputes, but other forms of dispute resolution should be considered.

For its part, business agreed that layoffs are a management action of last resort, except in industries that have a history of seasonal or cyclical fluctuations in employment; management should be aware of and utilize alternatives to layoffs, such as work sharing, uniform reductions in hours of management and labor, furlough programs, early retirement incentives, and joint committees to improve efficiency and create demand for a company's product; negotiations to avert layoffs are a desirable labor-management goal; management should confer with any government units established to help companies design and adopt "no-layoff' policies; and, in the event of layoffs, management should consider using "inverse-reverse' seniority procedures.

For its part, the State agreed to establish a network of consultants and contacts, such as educational institutions, to aid employers and unions in averting layoffs; to sponsor projects demonstrating union-management cooperation; and to publicize existing statutory benefits and protections available to labor and business.

Government, management, and labor officials on the existing Industrial Cooperation Council will conduct a 1-year campaign to educate their constituencies regarding the Compact and seek endorsement of its principles, goals, and techniques. Participation in the Compact by local government units, individual unions, and companies is voluntary.

The Compact was signed by Mario M. Cuomo, Governor of New York; Edward J. Cleary, President of the New York State AFL-CIO; and William C. Ferguson, Chairman of The Business Council of New York State, Inc.
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Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Feb 1, 1987
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