News from the
NYS Assembly Committee on
Sheldon Silver, Speaker • Peter Abbate, Jr., Chairman • August 2006

Message from the Chairman

Assemblyman Peter J. Abbate, Jr.
My priority as Chairman of the Assembly Governmental Employees Committee has been to support legislation to provide benefits that improve the working conditions for our State and city work force and to ensure that these benefits are fiscally responsible to the taxpayers of New York.

This year our top priority was not to forget those brave men and women who lost their lives during and after the September 11th disaster. The Committee continued to: provide additional benefits for those who participated in the World Trade Center rescue, recovery and clean-up; examine the Taylor Law and its impact on contract negotiations; protect our public employee retirees; and expand the benefits of binding arbitration to additional groups of state employees.

I want to thank all the committee members and staff for their dedication and attention to the needs of our State’s public employees. Additionally, I must thank the public employee unions, their representatives and the many government officials whose input on legislation was, and is, invaluable.

My office is always open. If you have any questions or concerns about issues or legislation before the Committee, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Peter J. Abbate, Jr.

World Trade Center Updates

WTC Disability Law — In 2005, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed into law the World Trade Center (WTC) Disability Law. This law allows certain public employees who participated in the WTC rescue, recovery and clean-up operation between September 11, 2001, and September 12, 2002, to file a Notice of Participation and a sub-sequent application for disability benefits with their retirement system. Any disability resulting from specified illnesses contracted by such workers (now or in the future) will be presumed to have resulted from the performance of duty unless rebutted by competent medical evidence.

Technical Corrections — In the 2006 Legislative Session we revisited the WTC disability law and passed three bills making technical corrections to the original law. The first bill added certain New York City Corrections officers who were inadvertently omitted from the original bill (A.9962 - pending Executive action). The second bill clarified the filing for disability benefits for persons who participated in the rescue, recovery and clean-up operation and have already retired (A.10731 - pending Executive action).

The final bill provides the disability benefits to persons who repaired, cleaned or rehabilitated vehicles that were contaminated by debris from the WTC attack (A.11929 - pending Executive action).

Accidental Death Benefits — This legislation would provide a new benefit for those who participated in the WTC rescue, recovery and clean-up operation. Accidental death benefits would be provided to beneficiaries of WTC responders who, in the performance of their duties, were exposed to toxic substances in the aftermath of the terrorist attack and who otherwise met the eligibility requirements of the WTC Disability Law (A.11255 - pending Executive action).

Task Force — The original law created the September 11th Workers Protection Task Force. Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has appointed the Assembly’s three designees to the 19-member Task Force. The Assembly appointees are Peter Meringolo, President of the Correction Captain’s Association and Chairman of the Public Employee Conference (PEC); Lillian Roberts, Executive Director of District Council 37, and David Rosenzweig, President, Fire Alarm Dispatchers Benevolent Association.

Retiree Issues

Post Retirement Earning — starting in January of 2007, retirees who return to public service can earn up to $30,000 before their public pensions are affected (A.3828 - Chapter 74 of 2006). This is an increase of $2,500 from the 2005-06 post retirement earnings level. This restriction only applies to earnings from New York State public service and only until the year a member turns 65 years of age.

Retirees Health Insurance — the prohibition on the diminution of health insurance benefits for retired employees of school districts has been extended again through May 15, 2007 (A.9452 - Chapter 27 of 2006). The law provides that school districts may reduce neither the level of health insurance coverage nor their contribution toward its cost for retirees unless the reduction applies equally to active employees.

New York City’s EMTs Honored

Assemblyman Peter Abbate honored the Fire Department of New York EMS Unit upon the occasion of winning top honors at the 2006 Journal of Emergency Medical Services Games held in Baltimore, Maryland on March 24, 2006. Paramedics James Fallar and Joseph Hudak and EMT Joe Fortis, who all work at the EMS academy at Fort Totten in Queens, beat out medics from 12 other municipalities, including Reno, Nevada and London, England.

photo Assemblyman Abbate with the honorees and EMT union officers in the Assembly Chamber.

Public Employees Focus of
Chairman Abbate’s Activities

photo Chairman Abbate addresses the members of the Public Employees Federation (PEF).

photo Assemblyman Abbate checks in with some city workers repaving the roads in Brooklyn.

World Trade Center Registry

The last day to file your notice of participation with your retirement system is July 14, 2007. Forms can be obtained from your retirement system.


This year saw the resolution of a number of contracts between the State and various bargaining units representing public employees. These contracts are both fair for the employees and fiscally sound for the State. The legislature approved a series of bills to implement the contracts with the following negotiating units:

checkmark Rent Regulation Services Unit - A.11658 (Chapter 111 of 2006)


State Police Investigators - A.11781 (Chapter 112 of 2006)


Batavia School for the Blind - A.11928 (Chapter 433 of 2006)


Professional Staff Congress of the City University of New York - A.11945 (Chapter 116 of 2006)


Agency Law Enforcement Services Unit - A.12043 (Chapter 114 of 2006)


New York State Supreme Court Officers - A.11223 (Chapter 104 of 2006)


Security Services Collective Negotiating Unit of the State Department of Correctional Services - A.11890 (Chapter 113 of 2006)

Court Employees to Get Location Pay
Ad Hoc Special Committee of Differential Impasses

In 2005, the Legislature passed a joint resolution providing for the creation of an Ad Hoc Special Committee of the Legislature to conduct public hearings concerning the collective bargaining dispute between the Office of Court Administration and certain public employee unions representing the employees of the Unified Court System. Chairman Abbate was one of the members named to the Committee.

At the April 4, 2006, legislative hearing on the impasse, the parties were directed to make a further effort to negotiate a resolution within 60 days. As a result of the directive from the hearing, the parties came to a resolution on location pay.

The legislation ends the impasses in collective negotiations between the unified court system and employee organizations representing non-judicial officers and employees in the following negotiating units: New York city court clerks, New York city court officers, New York city senior court officers, Nassau County and Suffolk County. These impasses arose out of negotiations for collective bargaining agreements for the period April 1995 through March 1999 (A.11897 - chapter 155 of 2006).

We were pleased to have played a part to help both sides come to a fair and equitable conclusion.

photo Assemblyman Abbate (far right) listens to testimony at the hearing on location pay for court employees.

Assemblyman Peter Abbate, Jr., Chair
Committee on Governmental Employees
Room 839 LOB • Albany, New York 12248
518.455.3053 •

New York State Assembly
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