While is has been emphasized that the TWU violated the section of the Taylor Law that bans strikes, the MTA also violated a section forbidding employers from negotiating pensions. According to the law, things like wages, salaries, and hours are amongst what employers are allowed to negotiate, while other aspects, such as retirement funds, are not to be handled through collective bargaining.

Said journalist Juan Gonzalez: "Yes, the Taylor Law does forbid public employees from striking, but it also forbids an employer, any government agency, from attempting to force pension changes onto a union contract. Pension changes are made by the state legislature only, not through the collective bargaining process."

This is what TWU president Roger Toussaint is referencing when he talks about the illegality of the MTA's last minute offer of a new two-tiered pension plan.

In the 1967 Taylor Law, officially entitled the Public Employees' Fair Employment Act, section 210 prohibits strikes; section 201 lays out the basic definitions to be used in the law. Part 4 reads as follows:

"The term 'terms and conditions of employment' means salaries, wages, hours and other terms and conditions of employment provided, however, that such term shall not include any benefits provided by or to be provided by a public retirement system, or payments to a fund or insurer to provide an income for retirees, or payment to retirees or their beneficiaries. No such retirement benefits shall be negotiated pursuant to this article, and any benefits so negotiated shall be void."

The Democracy Now article which quotes Gonzalez:
 http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=05/12/22/1521245

Full Text of the Taylor Law:
 http://www.perb.state.ny.us/stat.asp#str