–Unions have been an integral part of American society for the past century. Unfortunately, well- connected elites have often used state power to simultaneously suppress workers’ movements and enrich organized crime as they have climbed the union leadership ladder. The Libertarian Party believes that individuals have a right to freedom of speech and assembly, and it encourages mutual aid to alleviate the struggles of the working class. Unions can be critical to managing the intersection of those three concepts.
–Larry favors union bargaining rights and membership, including within public sector unions, as long as it is voluntary and not a condition of employment. Unions must be more transparent to expose the corruption that has endowed top union executives at the expense of their working class membership. They need to be more responsive to their membership, instead of focusing most of their time on cover-ups. Although it will be painful in the short-term, the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Janus v. AFSCME will introduce healthy competition into labor organizing which can be a tool to help union membership pressure their leadership into representing them more robustly.
–There are many reforms necessary to prevent the insolvency of union benefits. In the next four years, we must negotiate any pensions currently allocated within the state budget for transfer to 403(b)s or other options that guarantee perpetual sustainability. Failure to do so will lead New York to an eventual default on existing agreements which could cut pension payments by as much as 50%. Additionally, state healthcare plans will be converted to HealthCare debit accounts (HCDAs) or traditional HSAs. Both of these options will prevent out of pocket payments and will be supplemented by their existing insurance plan, which will pick up the tab once the the debit or savings account runs out. This means employees can expect the same level of coverage they currently have as well as the ability to visit virtually any doctor they choose.
–Larry supports prevailing wage laws as unions encourage their members to produce high quality goods and services for their employers. He also supports these laws because attacks on prevailing wage lowers wages in the short term and has a negative long-term impact on New Yorkers’ quality of life. Employers must be transparent and honest in their negotiations with unions and union members must recognize that their fate is ultimately tied the financial health of their employer. Larry Sharpe would negotiate fairly with unions to meet the needs of the worker, including the Corrections Officers Union, with whom Cuomo has failed to negotiate a contract for in the past three years.