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CSEA/UCS Settle Court Reporter Improper Practice Charge Callen June 9, 2011 04:10 PM

(June 6, 2006, Bob Dillon, CSEA Contract Administration Specialist)

CSEA and the UCS have settled an Improper Practice Charge filed by CSEA when the Courts unilaterally changed the Court Reporters Manual in relation to what material must be turned over when a Reporter leaves state service.

In a 2003 revision to the Manual, UCS stated that reporters, when leaving court service, may be required to turn over electronic notes and CAT (computer aided transcription) personal dictionaries to their supervisor for storage. This was a change from the previous practice, which required reporters to give to the UCS only the paper tapes of court proceedings transcribed by the reporter, since the tapes were the only material that the UCS supplied reporters with.

The modification unilaterally changed the terms and conditions of employment for court reporters, without notice or negotiation with CSEA.

CSEA immediately filed an Improper Practice Charge with the Public Employment Relations Board.

The settlement calls for reporters leaving State service to sign an affidavit agreeing to produce all transcripts requested after separation from service or, alternatively, to provide, on UCS-provided disks, a copy of electronic stenographic note files and CAT dictionary to UCS.

CSEA/UCS Sick Leave Bank, Its Origin & Purpose Callen June 9, 2011 04:10 PM

(June 8, 2006, Robert Lorenc, Local 332 President and CSEA Statewide Board Judiciary Representative)

The CSEA/UCS Sick Leave Bank exists pursuant to an agreement between the parties dating back to February 8, 1994. The agreement was negotiated by a subcommittee appointed by CSEA, comprised of Tom Jefferson and Robert Lorenc, and a designee appointed by UCS, Robert Herrick. That agreement outlined in specific detail the intent, benefits, guidelines, and operational aspects of the Sick Bank. The agreement remained unchanged until the contract negotiations and collective bargaining agreement between UCS and CSEA agreed to on August 4, 2004 covering the contract period 2003-2007. The newly agreed to agreement, only slightly modified from the original, is printed in its entirety in the current contract as Appendix C, pages 99 thru 104. That printed agreement represents the proverbial "bible"governing the operational aspects of the bank.

In broad terms, the bank is administered by one representative each from UCS and CSEA. Each designee has veto power relating to any particular application, that is, an application requires two "yes" votes to be approved. The representatives are in more than frequent contact with each other reviewing applications. On occasion, the applicant is asked to submit additional medical documentation. All information in the application is strictly confidential, discussed neither with local management or local union representatives. Coverage to an applicant can be awarded for up to a year at either full- or half-time rate. Given the fact that medical conditions are not static and, hopefully, subject to improvement and change, grants are not made for extended periods of time. Rather, a grant of a mutually agreed to reasonable period of time is made and the applicant is encouraged to reapply as needed.

When reviewing an application, five criteria are utilized for evaluation purposes. Said criteria are: 1) length of service, 2) nature of the disability, 3) reasonable expectation of return to work, 4) attendance history record, and, 5)the maximum number of days that can or have been granted.

The bank cannot make retroactive grants to cover any lapsed periods wherein the employee is on off-payroll status. Thus, it is vitally important to have completed applications submitted well in advance of the expiration of total leave credits.

Employees transferring in from another union who were members of the former union's sick bank may apply to join the CSEA/UCS bank within sixty days of transfer. They must pay the initial full contribution charge. It is analogous to changing insurance carriers. Carrier B will not give you credit or a refund for what you paid to Carrier A. One would be expected to pay Carrier B's full charges for coverage.

The bank functions to serve in a fair and equitable fashion to applicants "in need." It also has an equally important mission, to shepherd and protect that precious commodity, the time paid into the bank by all of the members that have joined the bank. Since its inception and to date, the bank has been a huge joint labor/management success. Countless members /employees have been permitted to utilize the grants to get well and return to work, thus benefiting both labor and management.

NYSHIP Lawsuit Callen June 9, 2011 04:10 PM

(November 22, 2006, James Hennerty, Dep. Director of Contract Administration)

CSEA began a lawsuit earlier this year disputing New York State's decision to make our members pay for the cost of Medicare Part B premiums for retired employees. Previously, the State and local governments (for those in the NYS Health Insurance Plan) paid for the cost of the Part B premiums. CSEA contends that the change violates the Civil Service Law and is a change in terms of employment without negotiations, and a violation of the Health Insurance articles of the various CSEA-NYS Contracts.

State Supreme Court in Albany County ruled that CSEA was wrong and NYS right. We appealed.

The Appellate Division of Supreme Court, Third Department, has UNANIMOUSLY overruled Supreme Court and agreed with CSEA 100%! We expect the State to request the highest court, the Court of Appeals, to reconsider the matter. In the meantime, it looks like NYS may not get away with this cost-shifting through a back door.

Appellate Division Kills Lawsuit on Court Clerks Callen June 9, 2011 04:10 PM

(December 18, 2006, James Hennerty, Dep. Director of Contract Administration)

The Appellate Division, Third Department, effectively killed the CSEA lawsuit disputing UCS's decision to change its mind and not reclassify Court Clerks to Senior Court Clerks when Court Officers provide security. The Justices insist that the peace officer status of Clerk titles in the downstate area does provide a "back-up security" force that makes them different from upstate Clerks. The fact that that belief is completely untrue does not seem to have penetrated the judicial mindset.

The Court also pooh-poohed the Civil Service Law mandate that the State give equal pay for equal work, questioning the ability to enforce it, and saying that the State can violate the policy in some cases. This is the kind of "reasoning" that makes the public think judges are irrational, arbitrary, and capricious!

There will probably not be an appeal of the decision. We would need Court of Appeals permission to appeal, and they are not going to find against the Chief Judge and Chief Administrative Judge, their bosses. CSEA will work on new strategies to address this ongoing problem.

2008 Empire Plan Changes Callen June 9, 2011 04:10 PM

Click on the following link to review the Empire Plan changes that will begin in 2008 and beyond.
View 2008 Empire Plan Changes

Negotiations Update Callen June 9, 2011 04:10 PM

(James Hennerty, Dep. Director of Contract Administration, May 7, 2008)

CSEA and UCS have made a tentative agreement on a new contract for 2007-2011. The deal includes increases in compensation, location pay, and other benefits. More details will follow once final wording is agreed upon.

Contract Update Callen June 9, 2011 04:10 PM

(As posted on the CSEA Web Site, www.csealocal1000.org, May 8, 2008)

"CSEA Reaches Contract Settlement for 6,000 Court Employees Across New York"

CSEA - New York's Leading Union - has reached a tentative agreement with the New York State Office of Court Administration on a new contract covering more than 6,000 non-judicial employees in the state's Unified Court System.

"CSEA and the Unified Court System have reached a fair and responsible agreement that recognizes the value and importance of the court employees who make the system work every day," said CSEA President Danny Donohue. "These were challenging negotiations and I am extremely proud of the focus and commitment of the CSEA bargaining team."

The four-year agreement retroactive to April 1, 2007 includes salary increases in every year of the agreement, improved downstate and Mid-Hudson Valley location pay, enhancements in longevity bonuses for long-term employees, improved payments to the Employee Benefit Fund and Labor-Management programs and increased funding for body armor for security personnel. There were no significant changes to health insurance provisions.

Across-the-board cost of living adjustments are as follows: 
* April 1 2007 - 3 percent or $950, whichever is greater (retroactive); 
* April 1, 2008 - 3 percent or $975, whichever is greater (retroactive); 
* April 1, 2009 - 3 percent or $1,000, whichever is greater; and 
* April 1, 2010 - 4 percent or $1,025, whichever is greater.

CSEA also agreed to a salary increase deferral for employees earning more than $115,000 annually until a judicial pay raise is enacted. Employees at or above that level will have their salaries held harmless but will receive the contract provisions once the judicial pay raise issue is resolved. If it is not resolved by the end of the contract, the employees will receive all of the contract cost of living adjustments retroactively. This issue would affect about 500 individuals out of the bargaining unit's 6,000 members.

CSEA-represented court employees work in a range of non-judicial jobs, from court clerks to clerical and administrative staff to security officers in the court system in every part of New York.

Additional details about the agreement will be posted on the CSEA website www.csealocal1000.org shortly. The agreement will be presented to the CSEA rank and file members for review and ratification in the weeks ahead. It must also be approved by the state legislature and signed by the governor.

[Editor's note: Additional details will also be available here at the CSEA Judiciary web site, www.cseajudiciary.org]

CSEA-UCS Contract Ratified Callen June 9, 2011 04:10 PM

(June 25, 2008)

CSEA members by a 25-to-1 ratio have overwhelmingly ratified a tentative agreement with the Unified Court System. Members approved the agreement by 2,876 to 114.

The four-year pact, retroactive to April 1, 2007, includes salary increases in every year of the agreement, improved downstate and mid-Hudson Valley location pay, enhancements in longevity bonuses for long term employees, improved payments to the Employee Benefit Fund and Labor-Management programs and increases funding for body armor for security personnel. There were no significant changes to health insurance provisions.

Ratification ballots were counted June 25.

Better Choices Callen June 9, 2011 04:10 PM

Click on the following link to review CSEA's "Better Choices" flyer regarding addressing the budget crisis in New York State.

View Better Choices Flyer

NYSHIP Rates Callen June 9, 2011 04:10 PM

(December 12, 2008, James Hennerty, Dep. Director of Contract Administration)

NYSHIP recently mailed to employees a brochure listing its new rates and transfer deadlines. You may have noticed that CSEA-represented employees in the Executive Branch and all UCS employees pay a slightly higher premium for the Empire Plan. The reason for that difference is that other unions agreed to put limits on the list of drugs which the Empire Plan covers, while CSEA insisted on retaining eligibility for all drugs approved by the FDA.

Court Reporter Page Rates Callen June 9, 2011 04:10 PM

(December 12, 2008, Donald Lynskey, Local 334 President)

The new Court Reporter Page Rate Agreement and Minute Agreement Form have been deemed to be effective as of November 18, 2008, the date upon which the Administrative Board of the Courts approved the change and Part 108 of the Rules of the Chief Administrator was amended. CSEA would have liked a smoother transition to the new rates, so that our members did not have to deal with "retroactive" negotiation of page rates, but UCS nonetheless has specified November 18th as the date of implementation. All CSEA members received a copy of the new agreement with the ratification materials included in the ratification process earlier this year. CSEA-represented reporters must still complete the new Minute Agreement Forms for private party transactions, but reporters now retain the forms themselves for a two-year period. In the event a request is made of a reporter for production of a Minute Agreement Form, that request must be in writing stating a valid reason for the request. If a reporter feels the reason for the request is inappropriate, please contact your union representative as there is a committee in place to review requests, if necessary.

CSEA-UCS 2008 Court Reporter Page Rate Agreement

Co-Pay Reimbursements Callen June 9, 2011 04:10 PM

(December 23, 2008, Donald Lynskey, Local 334 President)

A reminder that CSEA EBF co-pay reimbursements must be submitted by 3/31/09 for the 2008 calendar year. Physician office co-pays are reimbursable up to $125 and Prescription Drug co-pays are reimbursable up to $100. The form is available on our web site, under the "Forms & Member Services" link.

Court Reporter Minute Agreement Form Callen June 9, 2011 04:10 PM

(December 23, 2008, Donald Lynskey, Local 334 President)

Despite repeated requests over many weeks asking that UCS produce a new Court Reporter Minute Agreement Form, we still have not received one. I have attached the latest CSEA-UCS Minute Agreement Form (MAF) from 2003, which the UCS Labor Relations Department has confirmed is accurate with regard to our newly enacted rates effective 11-18-08. This is NOT a UCS-distributed document, although their office did create this document back in 2003 when we were negotiating these same issues. All of the information is accurate and up to date on this form. Our CSEA-represented reporters may want to use this form, until eventually UCS may distribute a MAF to both UCS management and reporters. Once again, reporters are to retain the form themselves. Do not turn them over to management. In an earlier notice, a two-year retention period was mentioned, based on a UCS memo from one of the Judicial Districts. Please disregard that directive. At this time, we have not determined with UCS how long the retention period will be. You will be informed once that is determined.

View CSEA Minute Agreement Form effective 11-18-08

Court Officer Legislation Callen June 9, 2011 04:10 PM

(December 23, 2008, James Hennerty, Dep. Director of Contract Administration)

The Governor has vetoed S.5565, which would have made Court Officers police officers (Veto # 180). He says most CO's are never called on to perform purely police functions. He also says it would cost money for additional training and that more expense for binding interest arbitration would not be far behind.

(December 23, 2008, James Hennerty, Dep. Director of Contract Administration)
The Governor's proposed budget would, among other things, depend on savings to the State by NOT paying the 3% raise employees are due next April; by DEFERRING (lagging) five days of pay from State employees; by increasing the premiums paid for health insurance in retirement by State employees who have fewer years of service than the average; and by eliminating State reimbursement of Part B premiums to active and retired employees who must pay it to retain Medicare.

If some or all of these ideas are not agreed to by the unions and/or the Legislature, the Governor and Legislature would have to come up with money equal to these savings in order to balance the budget.

The feeling is that the Governor might very well make up the difference by lots of layoffs of State employees. He cannot lay off UCS employees, but if the final budget cuts UCS funding a great deal, UCS could possibly also lay off employees.

Electronic Recording Callen June 9, 2011 04:10 PM

(February 18, 2009, Kathy Guild, Contract Administration Specialist)

The Office of Court Administration, with input from the affected unions, has developed a new policy for electronic recording of court proceedings. This policy has three main tenets. First, electronic recording may continue in those courts and court proceedings where it is currently in use. Second, court reporters are to be used in Family Court juvenile delinquency proceedings unless it is impractical for operational or fiscal reasons to do so. Third, in specified courts and court proceedings where electronic recording is not in use, court reporters will continue to be used unless reporters are unavailable and efforts to hire a reporter on a permanent, provisional or per diem basis has failed.

Legal Assistance Pilot Program Callen June 9, 2011 04:10 PM

(February 18, 2009, Kathy Guild, Contract Administration Specialist)

CSEA has instituted a pilot program to provide legal services to all CSEA members who carry firearms as part of their job requirements for certain job-related incidents requiring legal counsel. Under this pilot, CSEA-provided representation to a CSEA member involved in the use of force will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A list of CSEA Legal Assistance Pilot Program Attorneys and further information regarding this pilot will be published in the CSEA Work Force. Contact your CSEA local president if you have any questions or need additional information.

CSEA's Pesh Complaint Upheld Callen June 9, 2011 04:10 PM

(February 19, 2009, Kathy Guild, Contract Administration Specialist)

CSEA was successful in getting a Public Employee Safety & Health Bureau (PESH) complaint against the Unified Court System sustained. This complaint was filed because there are holes and depressions, some of which are improperly covered and an electrical outlet causing a tripping hazard in the UCS Print Shop on the 9th Floor of 25 Beaver Street, along with various other violations. These violations caused a CSEA-represented employee to be injured and represented serious safety hazards to the employees of the Print Shop. PESH has given UCS until March 12, 2009 to abate the violations.

Updates March 18, 2009 Callen June 9, 2011 04:10 PM

(Donald Lynskey, Local 334 President)

SALARY INCREASES & INCREMENTS
CSEA has been informed that the salary increases and increments will be in the April 29th, 2009 paycheck.

SENIOR COURT REPORTER EXAM RESULTS
UCS has found that the computers used in calculating the scores for both the open competitive & promotional Senior Court Reporter exams given last April made some sort of grading error. The faulty lists have been withdrawn by UCS. No appointments have been made from the faulty lists to date. The old lists will continue to be used for the time being. UCS expects to have the corrected lists established "within the next several weeks."

"CONFIDENTIAL" EMPLOYEES
"This is just a reminder about court employees who are designated 'confidential.' UCS designates many non-competitive and some exempt employees with this label. Legally, any employee who is in a confidential position has NO disciplinary due process rights and has NO layoff rights. ALL Court Analyst titles are non-competitive and confidential. That means anyone who is a Junior Court Analyst, Court Analyst, Senior, principal, or whatever kind of Court Analyst can be dismissed or disciplined without charges and a hearing. If there were to be layoffs, no Analyst would have any seniority to use in the layoff process.
"Please remember that other job titles are non-competitive but NOT confidential. Those employees do not have disciplinary or layoff rights for their first five years in non-competitive service, but once they have five years they DO get these rights.

"I know this gets very complicated, but it is important to remember that any 'confidential' employee can be dismissed summarily."
(Source: Jim Hennerty, CSEA Dep. Director of Contract Administration)


CSEA LEGAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM - FIREARMS ENHANCEMENT
As announced in the latest edition of the CSEA newspaper "The Workforce," CSEA has introduced a pilot program to provide legal services to CSEA-represented employees who carry firearms as part of their job. In the event of an occurrence where the member needs legal assistance based on the use of a firearm or other use of force in the line of duty, legal assistance is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our CSEA Region 5 attorney is Edward Dunn, Esq., of Syracuse. See the document below for more information. You may contact the CSEA Legal Department at 1-800-342-4146, extension 1443 for further questions or comments. 

CSEA Legal Pilot Program - Firearms

 

EMPLOYEE FREE CHOICE ACT
You've undoubtedly heard of the Employee Free Choice Act, proposed federal legislation that gives workers more freedom to join unions and limits an employer's ability to intimidate workers trying to join a union. If you would like to learn more about this important legislation, go to www.csealocal1000.org to view a video that explains in further detail the background of the legislation.

CSEA Considering Buyout Offer For Court Workers Callen June 9, 2011 04:10 PM

(This information provided by CSEA Headquarters in Albany, 6/25/09)

"ALBANY - CSEA is reviewing a proposal from the state Unified Court System to offer a separation from service payout similar to what has been offered to executive branch workers. The court system is attempting to shed payroll and would target the positions to be voluntarily vacated. Workers would need to take the offer before close of business on Sept. 2, 2009. The court system would have complete discretion to identify the titles and the number of positions in each title and jurisdiction that will be targeted for the cash payment. In areas where there are more employees in the same bargaining unit, title and jurisdiction than the number of positions that have been identified to receive the payment, the offers would be made to eligible employees in seniority order beginning with the most senior workers. For purposes of the cash payout, seniority is defined as the first date of hire in the court system. Where an employee's total separation cost (cash payment and the payout of accruals) does not yield a savings in fiscal year 2009-2010, the employee will not be eligible for the cash payment and the court system will move to the next eligible employee in seniority order."

"This is not an early retirement incentive and CSEA has not yet chosen to participate in the payout offer. As this edition went to press, CSEA was still reviewing the proposal. If CSEA were to adopt the payout offer, offers to employees from the Personnel Office would be generated beginning on July 8. The offers sent from UCS to payout candidates would include instructions on how to accept the offer."

CSEA Agrees To UCS Separation Payment Proposal Callen June 9, 2011 04:10 PM

(Jim Hennerty, Dep. Director of Contract Administration, July 7, 2009)

CSEA has agreed to the UCS proposal on a Separation Payment. As noted already, UCS would have the sole discretion to target specific positions and offer $20,000 to employees in those jobs to leave State service. For judicial districts 3-8, offers to targeted positions will be made based on seniority on a county basis, with the exception of the Analyst series, where offers will be made based on bargaining unit, jurisdiction (county), function and then seniority. Offers will begin to be generated on July 8, 2009 (through July 28) on a rolling basis via overnight mail and through Groupwise. Employees who are offered the payment are under no obligation to take it and will have seven calendar days to respond. The payment would be subject to taxation and would not be added into salary.

Naturally, this is a difficult decision to make, and employees will have little time to decide. CSEA urges members who are faced with the choice to ask UCS for all possible details of how such an offer would affect them if they take it, especially in regard to health insurance coverage and other benefits.

Employee Benefit Fund Enhancements Callen June 9, 2011 04:10 PM

(Jim Hennerty, Dep. Director of Contract Administration, July 30, 2009)

On July 29th, the CSEA Unified Court System local presidents were briefed by the representatives of the CSEA Employee Benefit Fund (EBF) on some exciting changes affecting both full-time and part-time UCS employees.

Both the full-time and part-time employees received increases to the fee schedules for their respective dental plans effective July 1, 2009. These increases in the schedules may translate into less out of pocket costs for you. Increases were applied to exams, periodontal treatment, cleanings, bridges, crowns, root canal therapy, fillings, dentures, extractions, radiographs and orthodontics. Because of the changes to orthodontics, the lifetime maximum was also increased from $2580 to $2948 for full time employees, and the orthodontic maximum for part-time employees went from $1950 to $2601. As a result of the changes to the dental plans, new benefit books have been mailed out to all employees and information is also available on the CSEA EBF's newly redesigned website, www.cseaebf.com.

The second enhancement applies to the co-pay reimbursement benefit. On July 21, 2009, Chairman Danny Donohue and the EBF Trustees approved the physician and prescription drug co-pays to be combined and increased to a maximum $325 reimbursement annually. Any reimbursement request that has already been submitted for the current year is being reviewed and a letter sent to the member stating that they may submit for the higher reimbursement. In a separate mailing, all UCS covered employees will be advised of the details of this enhanced benefit.

Should you have any questions, please contact the CSEA EBF at 1-800-323-2732.

In Retirement Callen June 9, 2011 04:10 PM

(Submitted by Former Statewide Rep. Tom Jefferson, now retired, Feb. 22, 2001)

I know the activists have heard and continue to experience the questions and answers often asked by membership and a lot of the questions come without reflection. Once State workers retire, an opportunity exists for them to reflect upon their work history, the benefits and salary increases that you have enjoyed as a result of the collective effort of your union activists.

I started 39 years ago when the only benefit received was an occasional pay raise and a health insurance program, so I write this quiz in the hope of enlightening some who still question why I pay union dues or what does the union do for me or why can't you do more?

Start by asking yourself, Do I compare car prices when shopping?

  1. Do you have a dental program provided by your employer or union?
  2. Do you have an annual vision program, one that supplies glasses?
  3. Do you have a health plan?
  4. Do you have a health plan that follows you into retirement?
  5. Can you accumulate sick leave from year to year? How much?
  6. Do you have accumulated sick leave that can be used to offset health insurance premiums in retirement?
  7. Do you have a prescription drug program?
  8. Does it follow you into retirement?
  9. Do you have a legal program?
  10. Does it follow you into retirement?
  11. Does your friend have a job that is relatively immune from layoffs and downsizing?
  12. Are you allowed to accumulate vacation from year to year?
  13. Do you get annual sick leave?
  14. Are you allowed to carry it over from year to year?
  15. Can the sick leave days unused pay for your health insurance premiums in retirement?
  16. Does your friend get twelve holidays with pay? If not, how many?
  17. Do you have a sick leave bank?
  18. Do you know what a sick leave bank is?
  19. Can he donate some of his accumulated time on the job to help out a sick friend?
  20. Does he get regular pay raises?
  21. Does your friend get increments and longevity bonuses on top of pay raises?
  22. How much vacation time do you get? What is the maximum?
  23. Do you have a union that fights to get new benefits? How much are your dues?
  24. Will your union assist you if you get into a job dispute?


If the person you ask responds with mostly NAYS, then take a moment and reflect and say thanks to your union activist. I know I do!

You control your future…if you are that unhappy, make a career move! Watch out what you wish for!

Court Officers - Execution Of Bench Warrants Callen June 9, 2011 04:10 PM

(Submitted by James Hennerty, CSEA Deputy Director of Contract Administration)

CSEA Political Action advises that the Governor signed into law on March 24th a bill giving all Court Officers throughout the State the authority to execute bench warrants. The new law becomes effective May 24th, 60 days after the new law was signed.

4% Raise Callen June 9, 2011 04:10 PM

(Submitted by James Hennerty, CSEA Deputy Director of Contract Administration, April 12, 2010)

Court employees are scheduled to have a 4% salary increase effective April 1. So are State employees in the Executive Branch. But there is no State budget in place to pay for raises or much of anything else. While the powers that be work on finishing the budget, the Governor has the Legislature pass emergency spending bills on a weekly basis to enable State funds to flow to essential operations.

The Governor is NOT allowing payment of the 4% raise to Executive Branch State employees until a budget is in place. (He also wants CSEA and PEF to give up the 4% permanently, although he needs us to agree to that.) It is not yet known if he will authorize an appropriation for the 4% for court employees or not. We will know when he submits next week's emergency bill. If the bill does not contain the raise, the governor says it will be paid when a budget is in place.

Please continue checking in to this website for further developments.

Update on Raises Callen June 9, 2011 04:10 PM

(James Hennerty, CSEA Deputy Director of Contract Administration, April 15, 2010)

There is no substantial change in the situation from our last report. As far as we know the Governor will submit an emergency spending bill on Friday which will provide the 4% raise for court employees, but not for Executive Branch employees. That could change, so stay tuned.

The newspapers reported yesterday that a retirement incentive plan is slated to be part of the completed budget, but details are scarce. Reports say that there will be two parts to the incentive. First, those in Tiers 2-4 will be able to retire without penalty if they are at least 55 years old and have at least 25 years of service. It is thought that eligible employees will be able to do this without management consent. The second part will be offers to targeted employees (those filling positions management feels it can do without) which would increase service credit by one month for each year of service, up to a maximum of 36 months.

Please note that this is all speculative, and any proposals will have to survive the larger battle over the budget deficit.

Latest Update on Raises Callen June 9, 2011 04:10 PM

(James Hennerty, CSEA Deputy Director of Contract Administration, April 19, 2010)

The latest news we have is that the Governor has submitted an emergency spending bill to cover the State while there is no budget. It covers the payday of April 28, the first in which court employees are scheduled to receive pay based on salaries 4% greater than the last fiscal year. As we read this bill, employees of the State in the Executive Branch will continue to be paid WITHOUT the 4% raise, but non-judicial employees in UCS are to be paid WITH the 4% included.

We believe this is the way it will be come payday, but in the current atmosphere of fiscal crisis, anything is possible.

Updates Callen June 9, 2011 04:10 PM

(James Hennerty, CSEA Deputy Director of Contract Administration, April 29, 2010)

  1. The Governor is withholding payment of the 4% pay raise to Executive Branch State employees, but he is NOT doing so to UCS employees. My understanding is that our members in the courts have received the 4%.
  2. The Governor is proposing to furlough Executive Branch State employees one day a week as long as there is no budget. He is NOT proposing to do that for UCS employees.
  3. UCS is NOT paying its required contributions to the court employee part of the Employee Benefit Fund. The Governor has not proposed any appropriations to cover the EBF contributions for the Executive Branch nor for the Judiciary. We are filing a grievance with UCS about this. Naturally, UCS is dependent on the dollars the Governor has, until a budget is enacted. We are officially complaining to UCS, but it is really the Governor's actions which are causing this problem for court employees.
  4. The NY Law Journal reports on cuts to the proposed UCS budget today. Apparently, the doubling of the expense fund for judges is dead, although Judge Pfau wants to take some money from the reduced budget and use it for that.
  5. The most dangerous thing right now for CSEA-represented UCS employees is the refusal to pay the Benefit Fund. If nothing is done to stop that, the EBF will run out of money pretty quickly, and it will have to shut down. Our members will be unable to have the Fund pay for anything.


WHAT CAN WE DO???
Please get every one of your members to contact their State Assembly Member and State Senator and urge them to get a budget done, which will include full funding for the EBF. The more voters they hear from, the more likely it is that they will settle this whole mess without hurting us.

Update May 4, 2010 Callen June 9, 2011 04:10 PM

(James Hennerty, CSEA Deputy Director of Contract Administration, May 4, 2010)

Governor Patterson today announced that he will attempt to furlough State Executive Branch employees one day a week, beginning May 17, until a budget is enacted. Although he did not say this today, last week his intention was that furloughs would not apply to employees of the UCS. We continue to monitor the situation.

The Governor also announced his proposal for an early retirement incentive. CSEA is reviewing it. The Legislature would have to pass this bill for it to take effect. Stay tuned for further developments.

Payment of Deferred Compensation Callen June 9, 2011 04:10 PM

(James Hennerty, CSEA Deputy Director of Contract Administration, February 18, 2010)

The Office of the State Comptroller has kindly given us a preview of how the payment of deferred salary will occur for those employees affected. This procedure could change, depending on what is happening overall with the proposed budget and other actions in the Legislature and the Governor's Office. Remember, this is the repayment of salary percentage increases, increments and increments upon promotion which were deferred (withheld) from employees whose pay was already at $115,000 a year, or which would have put a member at or above $115,000 a year. (See Article 7.11 in the current Agreement.)

The plan is to implement the salary restoration in April 2011.

  • The payment will be processed in one check and NOT separate checks. All retro pay will be included in the same paycheck as the regular pay for that period.
  • The projected payment date is the Administrative Lag Payment Date of April 27, 2011.
  • The Division of the Budget has indicated that no pay bill (appropriation bill) is required, as funding is already included in the UCS budget.
  • Regarding employees who have separated from UCS employment, the individuals have been identified and the payments will be reflected in the above processing dates.

PLEASE NOTE:
CSEA does not give advice to members concerning income tax withholding or filing. Members who are concerned about withholding rates for the anticipated large check of April 27 should see a financial adviser or appropriate professional if they wish assistance in handling the matter.

Could something about this go wrong? If there is no State budget on time, or no emergency appropriation, or a "shutdown" of State services, the plan could be upset. It seems unlikely this would happen, but in the event the State does not pay the money, CSEA will make efforts to enforce the provisions of our Agreement, as we have done in the past.

Layoff Announcement Callen June 9, 2011 04:10 PM

(April 5, 2011)

As Judge Lippman announced yesterday, layoffs will be occurring within UCS sometime in the near future. As the employer, UCS does not have to and, indeed, did not consult with CSEA in this regard. UCS has invited all of the unions statewide to an informational meeting tentatively set for Monday, April 11th to discuss the layoffs. Your CSEA representatives will be attending this meeting.

On Wednesday, April 13th, CSEA Local Presidents will be meeting in Albany to discuss the information relayed by UCS and to discuss layoff and bumping procedures. Soon thereafter, we will update our members on our statewide Judiciary web site, www.cseajudiciary.org. Members are asked to please hold off sending specific inquiries regarding the layoffs until after April 13th.

There have been numerous inquiries regarding the definition of seniority for layoff purposes. Generally speaking, seniority is based on years of UCS service, NOT on the years served in a particular position. More information in this regard will be available the end of next week.

Deferred Pay - Nys Deferred Compensation Plan Contributions Callen June 9, 2011 04:10 PM

(April 8, 2011)

We have just been notified that any member whose salary was deferred under the terms of the 2007-2011 contract will be eligible to contribute an additional percentage to their NYS Deferred Compensation for the retro paycheck on 4/27/11. If interested in doing so, call the Plan at 1-800-422-8463 to speak with a Help Line representative. (Tip: Press #, 0 to go directly to a representative) Participants will be asked what percentage they wish to contribute from that specific paycheck, which will include regular pay plus the retro pay in one check. Be certain to inform the representative if you only want to change the percentage contribution for that one specific paycheck and if you want it changed back to your normal percentage contribution for the next paycheck. IMPORTANT: This request must be made by Tuesday, April 12th at 4:00 p.m.

Layoff Update Callen June 9, 2011 04:10 PM

(April 13, 2011)

The Unified Court System (UCS) has formally notified court employee unions, including CSEA, of its intent to lay off approximately 400-500 employees, with the possibility of thousands of other employees being displaced. OCA offices will be laying off 50-70 employees (as part of that total number). UCS asserts that these layoffs are made necessary by a budget cut of $70 million in UCS's proposed budget for this fiscal year. All of the unions representing court employees met with UCS on Monday, April 11th in New York City. At this point, UCS has not yet determined what positions will be abolished, much less which employees will be affected.

A number of our members have asked CSEA to negotiate some agreement with UCS whereby all members would agree to a furlough or a lag payroll as a way to make the layoffs unnecessary. In our judgment, that is not possible. UCS has indicated that it would not consider either a lag or furlough unless all eleven unions agreed to it and nine of the unions have already vetoed the idea. Therefore, we are unable even to entertain the idea of either option.

It is important to note that CSEA is not implementing layoffs. It is being done by the Unified Court System and it is up to that system to answer employee questions and explain the process to affected employees. CSEA Local representatives are available to double check responses from management if a member has any questions. Employee inquiries should first be directed to their personnel office or other appropriate management operation for such information.

CSEA Local Presidents met today in Albany to review the legal procedures concerning the layoff process and methods of displacement. Until UCS publishes their plan of implementing layoffs, we do not have all the specifics, but we can provide the following tentative timeline:

OCA Employee (Administrative Offices) Layoffs

  • 4/15 - OCA Employees Seniority List generated
  • 4/15-4/19 - Identification of OCA employees to be laid off
  • 4/20 - Layoff Notices delivered to OCA employees, effective 5/4

All Other Layoffs in UCS

  • 4/15-4/27 - UCS will generate a seniority list
  • 4/18 - UCS will distribute Location Preference forms
  • 4/22 - Veteran's/Volunteer Firefighter credit form must be returned and verified by this date
  • 4/27 - Location Preference forms must be returned to UCS
  • 5/17 - The list of all affected employees will be completed by close of business on this date
  • 5/18 - Notice will be given to affected employees, effective end of business 6/1/11.

CSEA will continue to monitor the situation and update the membership through the Local Presidents and the web site.

CSEA Judiciary Negotiating Team CSEA July 28, 2011 02:00 PM

Meet Your CSEA-UCS Contract Negotiating Team:

 

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Vincent Martusciello, Local 010 President, Chair

 

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Donald Lynskey, Local 334 President, Co-Chair

 

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Nicole Ventresca Cohen, Local 694 President

 

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Robert Pazik, Local 335 President

 

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Scott Gartland, Local 333 President

 

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Kevin Mahler, Local 332 President

 

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Kevin Ray, Local 330 President

Election Notices & Information CSEA August 15, 2011 02:20 PM

As announced in the August CSEA "Work Force," elections will take place January 18, 2012 - February 14, 2012 for the CSEA Statewide Officers, Region officers, and Statewide Board of Directors.  The following documents are available by clicking on the link below:

Election Schedule; Nomination Notice; Notice of Nominations and Eligibility requirements for Statewide Officers' election, Region Officers' election and Board of Directors' election, including the signature requirements for each Board Seat; Notice Regarding Campaigning; Notice of Election Rules; and the Standing Rules and Regulations, including the Notification of Intent to Observe form, the Slate Procedures, and the Candidate Printing/Mailing Costs.

Click here for Election Notices & Information

NYSHIP CHANGES CSEA September 28, 2011 02:09 PM

(Source:  James Hennerty, CSEA Dep. Director of Contract Administration, 9/28/11)

We have just learned that changes in the New York State Health Insurance Plan, NYSHIP, negotiated by CSEA for its Executive Branch members will apply to CSEA-represented court employees, non-unionized court employees, and judges as of October 1st of this year.  It is the responsibility of the NYSHIP Office to inform all affected employees about the details.  We do not yet know if this is being done at present.  Further developments will be posted on the web site.

NYSHIP CHANGES - EXPLANATION CSEA October 2, 2011 08:18 AM

(James Hennerty, CSEA Dep. Director of Contract Administration, 10/2/11)

Some CSEA members working for the court system are asking why the Empire Plan is changing before we have completed negotiating a new contract.  The reason is that Article 8 of the CSEA-UCS contract specifies that CSEA-represented court employees receive the same health insurance benefits (including co-pays, premium contributions, etc.) as our fellow NYS Executive Branch State empoyees do.  Now that we have made some changes in the Executive Branch, they become effective for our court employees pursuant to Article 8 of the contract.  And the expired agreement stays in effect until a new contract is completed.

2011-10-12 "PEP" Program CSEA October 12, 2011 02:58 PM

 

"PEP" PROGRAM INFORMATION

A new program called "PEP," Product Enhancement Program, will be taking the place of the "HOP" program, which expired with our last contract.  This program allows employees Grade 23 and below the opportunity to exchange six annual leave days for up to $1,000 to be applied to the employee's share of their health insurance premiums during 2012.  The attached file will give you complete information.  Each Judicial District should be contacting employees to inform them of the program guidelines and to advise them of the enrollment cut-off date of November 25th.

Click here for "PEP" Information

NYSHIP UPDATE CSEA October 19, 2011 08:13 AM

 

NYSHIP INFORMATION 10/19/11:

The Special Option Transfer Period that is occurring from September 29 - October 31, 2011, will allow employees to make changes to their health insurance, if they so desire.  This could be moving from an HMO to the Empire Plan, etc.

The Opt Out or Buy Out in which employees will receive $1,000 if they had individual coverage or $3,000 if they had family coverage, if they have proof of other insurance, will not occur until after 1/1/12.  In order to be eligible to receive the buy out, employees must have been insured through the state continuously from 4/1/11 until the buy out period.  If any employee drops their state insurance before the buy out period, they will not be eligible to receive the buy out.

Also, any State employee who retired from 1983 through 12/31/11, will pay a 2% increase on their health insurance.

The extended collective bargained changes effective October 1, 2011 results in premium contribution increases.  This change resulted in enrollees being responsible for an additional 6% of the total health insurance premium contributions.  Enrollees with individual coverage (above a grade 10) are now required to pay 16% of the individual premium (was 10%); enrollees with family coverage (above a grade 10) are now required to pay 31% of the dependent portion of premium (was 25%).

The increase in premium contribution affects all NYSHIP Options (The Empire Plan and various Health Maintenance Organizations), however, the increase varies by plan due to many factors.

Effective October 1, 2011, for grade 10 and above, New York State will contribute 84% toward the individual coverage and 69% toward the dependent portion of the Empire Plan premium.

For enrollees in an HMO, there is an added twist to New York State's contribution which makes comparison of HMO premiums more difficult.  New York State's contribution to the HMO premium (hospital, medical, mental health/substance abuse components) is capped at the State's dollar contribution for the same components under the Empire Plan.  The HMO prescription drug premium component is not capped at the Empire Plan contribution; prescription drug component is paid 84% for individual and 69% for dependent (no cap).

Updated PEP Program Information CSEA December 15, 2011 02:41 PM

UPDATED "PEP" PROGRAM INFORMATION

"PEP," Product Enhancement Program, has recently been enhanced to allow employees Grade 23 and below the opportunity to exchange three days of annual for up to $500 OR six annual leave days for up to $1,000 to be applied to the employee's share of their health insurance premiums during 2012.  The attached file will give you complete information.  Each Judicial District should be contacting employees to inform them of the program guidelines and to advise them of the enrollment cut-off date of December 30th.

Click here for "PEP" Information

Contract Negotiations Update, 11/16/11 CSEA November 16, 2011 10:41 AM

Your CSEA Contract Negotiations team met with UCS on August 10th and September 28th, 2011.  The majority of our contract proposals have been delivered to UCS, and we have held extensive discussions regarding whether certain proposals are a mandatory or non-mandatory subject of negotiations.  UCS indicated that any proposals with a fiscal attached, they would be looking to go in the opposite direction.

We were scheduled to meet with UCS on October 27th, but the day prior to the scheduled meeting, management cancelled, saying they were not yet prepared to proceed with their proposals.

2012 Election Notice CSEA December 20, 2011 09:34 AM

Please see the attached notice regarding 2012 elections for Statewide Treasurer, Region Officers (Regions 2 & 4), Statewide Board of Directors, and AFSCME Delegates (Regions 2, 3, 4, 6).

Click Here for 2012 Election Notice

Sick Leave Credit Value Calculation CSEA February 8, 2012 10:03 AM

The link below provides a worksheet for estimating the value of your sick leave credit only.  The worksheet is for full-time and part-time employees.  If you are paid on an hourly basis, use your hourly salary as the Hourly Rate of Pay.

Click Here - Sick Leave Value Calculation

Pension Alert! CSEA February 9, 2012 12:02 PM


PENSION ALERT!!!!


Click here to email your legislators!

The governor's proposed Tier 6 will force people into a 401(k) and will cause YOUR Pension FUND to go under.

The constitutional guarantee is useless if the PENSION FUND IS BROKE!

This happened in Rhode Island - current retirees had to take as much as a 50 percent loss in their pensions.

Oppose Tier 6

Tell Your State Legislators

"Don't put my retirement at risk - oppose Tier 6"

Call 1-877-255-9417

Go to: tinyurl.com/stoptier6

Proposed Tier 6 CSEA February 17, 2012 11:43 AM

IMPORTANT - PROPOSED TIER 6

"I'm in Tier 4, so I'm not concerned about the proposed new retirement tier."  "Why should I care about Tier 6?  It won't have any effect on me."

Think the new Tier 6 proposal will not affect you?  WRONG.  In Rhode Island, current retirees had to take as much as a 50% loss in their pensions.

We do not want that to happen in New York.  A constitutional guarantee to your pension is completely useless if the pension fund is broke!  The proposed Tier 6 plan 401(k) option requires no mandatory employee contribution and the employee carries all of the risk.  Even more important, the stability of our retirement system will be at risk with less people paying into the system.

What you need to do:

  • Visit the CSEA Statewide web site, www.csealocal1000.org, to learn more about how the proposed creation of Tier 6 will adversely affect you andyour pension, as well as statements of concern by the state comptroller.
  • Visit www.tinyurl.com/stoptier6 to quickly and easily e-mail your legislators and tell them NOT to put your retirement at risk.
  • Please post the attached bulletin in your workplace and share it with your co-workers.  (Click here for Tier 6 Alert bulletin.)
  • Every one of us needs to take action, notifying our legislators that we do not want this new tier.  Again, the "tinyurl" link above provides quick and easy legislator access - you'll need less than a minute's time.  Don't wait for the someone else to contact your legislators - you do it and then make sure your co-workers, friends and neighbors have done it too!

2012-04-17 Increments & Longevity Bonuses CSEA April 17, 2012 02:35 PM

INCREMENTS TO BE PAID

UCS has informed CSEA that increments will, in fact, be paid based on the salary steps set forth in our contract.  To date, we have not received confirmation that longevity bonuses will be paid, but presumably, they will be paid at the same time as the salary steps.

We have received a number of inquires as to the salary schedule and the definition of "Maximum," "1st Longevity," and "2nd Longevity steps."  Members remain at the "Maximum" step for four years, then at "1st Longevity" for four years, then reach the top of their pay schedule in the  "2nd Longevity" step.

IMPROPER PRACTICE CHARGE REGARDING OUTSIDE EMPLOYMENT CSEA June 13, 2012 07:56 AM

"OUTSIDE EMPLOYMENT" IMPROPER PRACTICE CHARGE - STIPULATION OF SETTLEMENT

CSEA and UCS have signed a Stipulation of Settlement with regard to the Improper Practice Charge that CSEA filed as a result of a change to the policy regarding outside employment for UCS employees.

UCS changed their policy to state that every employee must receive permission from their supervisor before engaging in outside employment, with no oversight from UCS or any chance to appeal a supervisor's decision if the request was denied.  It also stated that all Peace Officers and Court Clerks assigned to the Appellate Division, First Department and Second Departments must abide by the 2005 Off-Duty Employment Policy for Peace Officers.

The Stipulation of Settlement states that Court Clerks assigned to the Appellate Division First and Second Departments do not have to abide by the Peace Officer Off-Duty Employment Policy and any CSEA-represented employee who is not a Peace Officer whose request to work outside employment is denied by their supervisor shall have the right to appeal this decision to a three-member panel consisting of one representative from CSEA, one representative from UCS, and a Neutral Referee to be agreed upon by both parties.

Appeals will be made by submitting an Appeal Form (to be established) within ten workdays of receiving notice that their request was denied to the UCS Panel Coordinator who will also serve as the UCS panel representative.  We have not yet been notified who that will be.  Upon receipt of the Appeal Form, the Coordinator will acknowledge receipt in writing and forward it to the neutral referee and CSEA Representative.  The Panel shall hold a review meeting within 20 workdays after receipt or as soon thereafter as practicable.  The Panel will issue a written decision no later than 10 workdays after the close of its review or as soon thereafter as practicable.

The Panel's jurisdiction shall be limited solely to determining if the type and nature of work the employee is requesting to obtain is restricted under the UCS outside employment policy.  The Panel's award is limited to a written decision either denying or sustaining the appeal.  They do not have the authority to award any monetary or equitable relief, and their decision is final and binding and not reviewable in any forum.

Negotiations Update (1) CSEA September 12, 2012 02:51 PM

In January, 2012, CSEA filed an Improper Practice Charge with the New York State Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) with regard to contract proposals that UCS deemed non-mandatory when we met with them in September 2011.  This charge had to be filed within four months of UCS declaring these proposals non-mandatory and, since no additional meetings were scheduled before then, we had to file the charge to preserve timeliness.  This put negotiations on hold, since we couldn't move forward until this charge was resolved.  In August, CSEA and UCS settled the charge.

 

CSEA is currently in the process of scheduling the next negotiation session with UCS and will provide updated information as we move forward.

Exam Filing Period Extended CSEA September 19, 2012 11:52 AM

EXAM FILING PERIOD EXTENDED

The filing period for the Associate Court Clerk 55-773 and Principal Court Clerk 55-774 promotional exams has been extended to close of business onWednesday, September 26, 2012.  The exams will given on Saturday, October 13, 2012.  The examination announcements and electronic applications are available at www.nycourts.gov/careers/.  Important:  Applications must be filed electronically.  Separate applications must be completed for each exam.

Local/Unit Election Rules and Campaign Notice CSEA February 5, 2013 04:32 PM

Local/Unit 2013 Election Rules and Notice Regarding Campaigning

Click on the links below for information from the CSEA Statewide Elections Committee:

Standing Rules and Regulations

Notice Regarding Campaigning

Negotiations Update - March 2013 CSEA March 7, 2013 08:32 PM

CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS WITH UCS

(James Hennerty, CSEA Dep. Director of Contract Administration, March 1, 2013)

The CSEA Negotiating Team met with UCS's team in Albany last week. For the first time in these negotiations, management gave us some idea of how they see the process.  They believe they do not have enough money in the upcoming budget, and probably won't have enough in the budget after that, to fully fund the current number of employees.  They are taking measures to reduce costs, including the reassignment of employees from administrative offices to court rooms, more hiring freezes, etc.

In short, they are planning to make "no growth" budgets into a "no growth" contract. We will need to counter their arguments, especially with respect to the numbers.  CSEA will be able to get down to the specifics of their ideas soon, as UCS recently told us that they would finally be presenting their written proposals to the Team at our next session.  Once we have these details, we will be able to argue that our members need a fair agreement that meets the needs of both sides, not just those of management.

We plan to meet next in early May and hope to be meeting more often following those dates for some meaningful negotiations.

Contract Negotiations 5/2/13 CSEA May 2, 2013 01:33 PM

(James Hennerty, Dep. Director, CSEA Contract Administration, May 2, 2013)

The CSEA negotiating team met with UCS on May 1st, 2013.  UCS delivered their initial contract proposals.  Discussions were held.  No specific salary-related proposals or compensation matters were proposed or discussed.  UCS again brought up their concerns over budget shortfalls this fiscal year and next and their further concern over meeting payroll.  They stated that there will be more proposals coming from them.  We hope to meet again at the end of May.

Negotiations Update - June 6, 2013 CSEA June 6, 2013 03:44 PM

The CSEA Negotiating Team met with UCS on May 28 and 29.  Management gave us new proposals on a number of topics.  Both sides discussed at some length how various proposals would work.  At one point, UCS suggested that CSEA was not willing to discuss management proposals.  Given the fact that UCS had offered many of its ideas less than 24 hours ago, the CSEA Team thought we had done just the opposite.  UCS also refused to agree on a final date for new proposals, as we have been asking for months.

We are scheduled to meet again in the third week of June.  We hope to make some progress, even in light of the employer's seeming lack of interest in coming to an agreement.

Contract Negotiations 6/20, 6/21/13 CSEA June 28, 2013 03:51 PM

CSEA made a dramatic bid to speed up negotiations for a new contract on Thursday of last week.  We offered management a proposal for a "total package," one that would resolve all outstanding issues and result in an agreement on an entire contract.  We attempted to protect our members' pay and benefits (a difficult task in the current fiscal climate) and agreed with some of management's proposals to help meet their needs.

UCS did not yet react in detail, but there was a more positive demeanor on the other side.  CSEA hopes to be hearing from UCS soon in attempt to break the log jam.  We will need to meet again to know if they are ready to negotiate seriously or not.  UCS had indicated that it is unlikely they will be able to meet before September, due to vacations, etc.  We'll know soon enough if they are interested in our offer.

10/3/13 Negotiations Update CSEA October 15, 2013 02:52 PM

Contract Negotiations Update 10/3/13

(James Hennerty, CSEA Dep. Director of Contract Administration, October 15, 2013)

UCS brought in some management reinforcements from the Budget and Human Resources Offices to discuss its concerns.  While acknowledging that it now has enough cash to meet payroll for the current fiscal year (which ends on March 31, 2014), it is seriously concerned about not having sufficient funding from April 1 onward.  Therefore, UCS's position is that an agreement should provide a "cost of living" pay increase, but also save money by modifying or eliminating a number of benefits in the expired agreement.

The employer acknowledged that CSEA's comprehensive proposal to settle the contract, which we gave them back in June, was a dramatic movement in the bargaining process.  But it is not enough to save sufficient dollars.  UCS gave us yet another set of proposals, which would reduce many additional benefits we now have.  What's more, they told us they expected to have even more proposals along these lines.

UCS is now negotiating in a zig-zag  pattern.  Every time the CSEA team tries to hammer out a compromise, management makes a sharp turn in a different direction.  And how can we make an intelligent response when we don't know all of UCS's proposals?  They apparently believe we are mind readers.

We will meet again in November, if only to receive yet more management proposals.  But the prospects for reaching an agreement now are bleak, unless UCS takes another "zag" toward a realistic attitude.

Contract Negotiations 11/26/13 CSEA November 26, 2013 07:13 PM

(James Hennerty, CSEA Dep. Director of Contract Administration, November 26, 2013)

The UCS Team met with CSEA on November 19 and 20th.  Management's intention is to make structural changes to the expired contract which will fundamentally reduce their costs and our pay and benefits.  They were more specific than they have been before.  As required by law, CSEA will review their proposals and respond.  What the CSEA Team hopes is that both sides will work out an agreement that satisfies both parties. We have no intention of rushing or stalling-we want to do what is needed to achieve a good result.

It is more likely that this will be a lengthy process than a short one, but we want a contract that is fair and reasonable.  We hope UCS shares our goal.

Negotiations Update - February 4, 2014 CSEA February 4, 2014 11:59 AM

Contract Negotiations Update 2/4/2014

(Mary Rubilotta, CSEA Dep. Director of Contract Administration)

CSEA held negotiations with UCS on 1/30/14 and 1/31/14.

UCS painted a bleak picture of their financial health over the last four years. Since 2010, UCS has had a negative growth operating budget, meaning their costs are greater than the money coming in.  Over this time period, UCS has been able to absorb these increased costs by streamlining administration and reorganizing or consolidating offices and programs that provide services to the courts and the public. Other steps that have also been taken include eliminating or reducing programs that are not critical to the court's core mission, modifying court operations, only spending on essential services and significantly reducing the workforce.

The UCS submitted a 1.81 billion dollar budget for fiscal year 2014-2015 that they like to call the "Road to Recovery" budget (2.5 % increase over the 2013-2014 budget).  The Governor submitted the UCS budget to the Legislature but included a commentary saying this proposal is out of step with his goal of a fiscally responsible New York and encouraged the Legislature to keep any increase to 2 percent or less.  UCS told us that anything less than 2.5 % could be disastrous for the court system.

UCS indicated at the bargaining table that any increases CSEA sought to the collective bargaining agreement would have to be paid for by finding savings somewhere else in the agreement.

CSEA reminded UCS that during these difficult fiscal times, Judge Lippman has implemented or is seeking to implement several expensive initiatives like judges' raises, indigent criminal defense standards, civil legal services, judge extensions, assignment of judges to Acting Justices of the Supreme Court, judge conferences, adding new Family Court judges, and keeping court operations open to 5 p.m.  During this same time period, court employees have endured layoffs, doing more with less, receiving no cost of living increases, having additional health insurance costs, and the discontinuation of QTP (Partnership for Education funds) and child care/elder care programs.

CSEA went on to say that if UCS really valued the non-judicial employees as much as they say, they would show it by negotiating a fair agreement. If there is to be pain, then everyone should share in it - judicial and non-judicial employees.

Additional negotiation dates have been set for the end of February and early March.

Negotiations Update - February 25, 2014 CSEA February 25, 2014 10:44 AM

Contract Negotiations Update 2/25/2014

(Mary Rubilotta, CSEA Dep. Director of Contract Administration)

CSEA met again with UCS on 2/19/14 and 2/20/14.

The CSEA Negotiating Team had another tension filled, frustrated negotiations session with the UCS. UCS continues to seek major concessions in both economic and non-economic areas of the contract like compensation, uniform and equipment allowance, workweek and employee benefit fund, to name a few.

In addition to trying to maintain or increase current benefits in the contract, the Team raised a number of specific issues it felt needed to be addressed if the parties are going to reach an overall agreement. Examples of such issues include disciplinary process, layoff notice and seniority.

The Team is working hard to find common areas in order to move the negotiations forward and progress was made on some minor issues. This process is very fluid, but we will keep you apprised as we continue to negotiate with UCS for a fair contract that we can bring back to the membership for ratification.

The Negotiating Team meets again in early March.

Negotiations Update - March 21, 2014 CSEA March 21, 2014 03:36 PM

NEGOTIATIONS UPDATE 3/21/14

(Mary Rubilotta, CSEA Dep. Director of Contract Administration)

Negotiations continued this week with UCS on March 19th and March 20th.

Both parties focused on areas not involving compensation and significant progress was made. UCS withdrew a good number of their proposals concerning time and leave issues and overtime. In return, CSEA agreed to a number of UCS proposals dealing with direct deposit, blood donation, personal history folders, printing of the Agreement and pre-tour prep when on LODI. Other areas  were also discussed where UCS agreed to changes requested by CSEA like return to duty exam, sick leave bank, layoff notice and jackets worn in the summer months.

Later in the negotiations, UCS made a compensation proposal to the CSEA Negotiating Team. UCS started out by telling the Team again that they expect to receive a flat budget, which means UCS will start off the fiscal year in a deficit due to other initiatives (like the legislation creating more NYC Judges) having unexpected costs that they must absorb. UCS expressed concern that they will not have enough money to meet payroll the last payroll period of the fiscal year and living with flat budgets through attrition and not backfilling vacancies is no longer a viable way to run the court system.  Among other changes, the UCS compensation proposal contains significant structural changes to the way employees are currently paid in such areas as step increases, longevity increments, service bonus awards and across the board increases.  UCS also proposed a lag that would only be triggered if they could not meet payroll at the end of the fiscal year.

The CSEA Negotiating Team took some time to digest this proposal.  While the Team acknowledges that UCS is facing some financial operating issues, it is unwilling to agree to all of the drastic structural changes sought by UCS. UCS has been living with flat budgets for the last three years and Judge Lippman has done nothing during that time to scale back on any of his costly initiatives. It took several years for UCS to get into this bad fiscal shape and they want to solve it overnight on the backs of the non-judicial employees. The Team made a counter proposal that it believes showed some movement in the area of compensation that will allow UCS to realize some savings in future years. UCS did not seem to appreciate the counter proposal and said they would have to review it and get back to us next week. The CSEA Negotiating Team has additional dates scheduled to meet with UCS on March 26th and 27th.

Negotiations - April 12, 2014 (1) CSEA April 12, 2014 01:54 PM

CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS

(As posted on the CSEA Statewide web site 4/11/14, www.cseany.org)

Following a long and challenging set of negotiations, CSEA - New York's leading union - and the New York State Office of Court Administration have reached agreement on a contract for 5,700 employees of the Unified Court System.

"This was a very difficult negotiation that demonstrates a fair agreement can be reached when both labor and management work in good faith," said CSEA President Danny Donohue. "The result addresses management's need for long-term reform of the compensation structure while maintaining the rights and benefits of the CSEA members who work hard every day."

"I am very proud of the CSEA negotiating team for their focus and determination to get the job done responsibly," Donohue said.

The six-year agreement runs from April 1, 2011, through March 31, 2017 with the following highlights:

  • Two (2) percent across-the-board salary increase in October 2014;
  • Two (2) percent across the board salary increase in April 2015;
  • Two (2) percent across-the-board salary increase in April 2016;
  • $750 Bonus (pensionable) payable March 31, 2017;
  • Transition from a two to a three tier longevity system beginning in April 2016 with changes in the payment amounts and other reforms;
  • Maintaining benefits provided through the CSEA Employee Benefit Fund;
  • A variety of changes in work rules and other contract provisions.

Changes in health insurance were already made in 2011.

The agreement also establishes a contingency for the possibility of up to a two-day payroll lag in both the 2015-16 and 2016-17 fiscal years to avoid layoffs in the event that the UCS budget is not approved by the state legislature and the governor as submitted.

Chief Administrative Judge A. Gail Prudenti said, "The Unified Court System is pleased that it has reached this agreement with CSEA, which will provide salary increases over the next three years for approximately 40 percent of the court system's work force. We believe the agreement balances the state's ongoing fiscal constraints with the desire to provide increased compensation and benefits for the court system's hardworking employees. Moreover, it addresses a number of CSEA's longstanding concerns, including the return to work process, seniority and expediting the disciplinary process for alleged time and leave violations. We look forward to ratification and implementation of this agreement."

CSEA will move quickly in the next few weeks to seek approval of the tentative agreement by the union's rank and file court employees. If approved, it must also be acted on by the state legislature.

CSEA members, who work in the Unified Court System statewide, perform a wide range of duties from clerk and administrative work to court officers and reporters.

Click Here to download Tentative Agreement Highlights

TIMELINE AND HIGHLIGHTS FOR THE TENTATIVE CSEA/UCS 2011-2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement:

Timeline for the UCS Contract Ratification
There will be an announcement regarding the Agreement in the May edition of The Work Force, which will include exact contract language.

Contract ballots will be mailed on May 12, 2014. The package will include a letter from President Donohue, a ballot, a fact sheet and instructions.

Replacement ballots will be available between May 19th and May 23rd.  Members can request replacement ballots by contacting the Contract Administration Dept. by phone.

The deadline to return ballots is June 9th, by 5 p.m.

The ballots will be counted and the results announced on June 11th


Get the Facts on the 2011-2017 Tentative Agreement CSEA May 10, 2014 07:03 AM

CSEA-represented Court System Workers:

Don't trust the "OUTSIDERS" when it comes to YOUR contract! Get the FACTS yourself!

CSEA Court System workers should learn the facts about the tentative agreement with the Office of Court Administration and vote. Ignore the lies and interference of outside groups. Remember, these are the self-serving people who wouldn't join in solidarity with CSEA members to avoid layoffs! These other unions have had three years to negotiate their own contract - most haven't had a single negotiating meeting with the courts but now want to tell you how to think and act by circulating untruths about the agreement.

To support their own agenda, the Outsiders are counting on you to believe their simple but inaccurate comparison between CSEA's Executive Branch and Judicial Branch contracts. These are completely different contracts, and you can't do an honest apples-to-apples direct comparison between the two in one quick flyer.

The fact is, there are many enhancements contained in this contract agreement that have been conveniently ignored by the Outsiders. Such as:

● Our proposed contract adds a sixth year with an additional 2% wage increase for all CSEA workers for 2016 (Executive Branch workers only had a five year contract);

Step increments were preserved, and longevity increments were converted to longevity payments;

● Our proposed contract includes much higher longevity payments than what Executive Branch workers get;

No furloughs are contained in this tentative agreement;

Improved Seniority language, and many other enhancements!

Don't let the Outsiders determine how you vote or take your rights away.

Talk to any member of our CSEA Negotiating Team to get first-hand knowledge and facts to assist you in making an informed decision! Then, make sure you vote.

It's YOUR contract - not anyone else's.

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Contract Ratified CSEA June 11, 2014 02:13 PM

CSEA court employees overwhelmingly approve new contract

Intense focus by CSEA negotiating team produces strong turnout, support

 June 11, 2014

ALBANY  - CSEA-represented employees of the Unified Court System have voted 2-to-1 in favor of a new contract amid strong member turnout.

 

"This was a very difficult negotiation and I am proud that CSEA members ignored outside noise and focused on the facts about this agreement," said CSEA President Danny Donohue. "The CSEA negotiating team worked hard at the bargaining table to protect the rights and benefits of CSEA members. They kept that focus in presenting the agreement details to our members and it made all the difference in the vote count.

 

            The six-year agreement runs from April 1, 2011 through March 31, 2017 with the following highlights:

  • Two (2) percent across-the-board salary increase in October 2014;
  • Two (2) percent across the board salary increase in April 2015;
  • Two (2) percent across-the-board salary increase in April 2016;
  • $750 Bonus (pensionable) payable March 31, 2017;
  • Transition from a two to a three-tier longevity system beginning in April 2016 with changes in the payment amounts and other reforms;
    • Maintaining benefits provided through the CSEA Employee Benefit Fund and
    • A variety of changes in work rules and other contract provisions.

 

The agreement also establishes a contingency for the possibility of up to a two-day payroll lag in both the 2015-16 and 2016-17 fiscal years to avoid layoffs in the event that the UCS budget is not approved by the state legislature and the governor as submitted.

 

The agreement must now be acted on by the state legislature.

 

            CSEA represents 5,700 employees who work in the Unified Court system statewide. They perform a wide range of duties, from clerk and administrative work, to court officers and reporters.

 

CSEA-UCS 2011-2017 Contract CSEA June 25, 2014 03:07 PM

Click Here to View/Download the CSEA-UCS 2011-2017 Contract

Probationary Term Language Change CSEA October 5, 2014 07:34 PM

(Mary Rubilotta, Dep. Director of Contract Administration, October 3, 2014)

CSEA is pleased to announce that UCS has approved our request to have the Rules of the Chief Judge changed to be consistent with the civil service rules and regulations for State Executive Branch employees relating to the number of absences during a traineeship probationary period that may be considered as time served.

The following new language will now appear in the Rules - "When the probationary term for a trainee appointment exceeds one year, any periods of authorized or unauthorized absence in such probationary term aggregating up to 20 workdays multiplied by the number of years, including a fraction of a year, constituting the probationary term, may in the discretion of the appointing authority, be considered as time served in the probationary term."


This rule change goes into effect immediately.



Court Reporters/Electronic Recording CSEA October 9, 2014 08:43 AM

Court Reporters/Electronic Recording

(Kathy Guild, CSEA Contract Administration Specialist, October 9, 2014)

CSEA, along with DC 37, the 9th JD Court Employees Association and the Association of Surrogate's and Supreme Court Reporters, met with UCS Management on September 17th to discuss electronic recording, the per diem rate for Court Reporters, Transcription Audits and computer aided realtime transcription from Hearing Impaired in the Courts.

At that meeting, CSEA informed UCS of the expansion of the electronic recording equipment in the 8th Judicial District after the 2009 ER policy was issued that limited where it could be used.  We also discussed the shortage of Court Reporters in Upstate New York.  The following day, UCS informed us that they were immediately releasing all the PARS (requests) for the following CSEA-represented Court Reporter positions:  3rd JD - 1 Senior Court Reporter; 4th JD - 1 Court Reporter; 7th JD - 1 Court Reporter and 1 Senior Court Reporter.  An additional PARS was later released for the 5th JD - 1 Sr. Court Reporter.  UCS has agreed that we will have further discussions regarding the shortage of Court Reporters at the upcoming Statewide Labor/Management meeting in November.

We will keep you updated on any developments regarding these issues as we go forward.

Promoting - Longevity Payments CSEA October 21, 2014 07:25 AM

(Mary Rubilotta, CSEA Dep. Director of Contract Administration, Oct. 21, 2014)

CSEA has reached an agreement with UCS that in some instances will no longer discourage an employee from taking a promotion because he/she fears losing time toward a longevity payment or receiving the longevity payment itself when they begin in 2016. This agreement will allow certain employees who promote to utilize their service time at "job rate" toward meeting the longevity payment eligibility in the new higher-graded position.

For instance, a grade 18 employee who has been at or above max for three years and takes a promotion to a grade 19 and remains at or above max will get credit for the three years at or above max at the lower salary grade toward meeting longevity payment eligibility in the promotional position. This employee would not have to start over and work an additional four years of service at or above max before earning a longevity payment.  Instead,  this employee would be credited with three years of service at or above max and need one more year to earn a longevity payment in the higher graded position.

Uniformed Personnel - New CSEA-UCS Agreement CSEA November 14, 2014 12:53 PM

UNIFORMED PERSONNEL - NEW AGREEMENT BETWEEN CSEA AND UCS

(Mary Rubilotta, CSEA Dep. Director of Contract Administration, November 14, 2014)

After lengthy discussions over the last year between CSEA and UCS regarding uniformed personnel, CSEA is pleased to announce the following agreement for our uniformed officers:

"For the reminder of the term of this collective Agreement, uniformed personnel will have the option from November through April to wear either the Class (B) summer uniform or Class (B) winter uniform shirt with tie.  A decision will be made by the Department of Public Safety as to whether this option will be continued upon expiration of this collective Agreement.  The Association acknowledges that such decision is in the sole discretion of the court system and determinations regarding the Prescribed Uniform for uniformed personnel are not subject to negotiations."

KRONOS UPDATE CSEA November 17, 2014 02:25 PM

KRONOS

(Mary Rubilotta, CSEA Dep. Director of Contract Administration)

UCS has indicated that they are no longer pursuing statewide changes to the Kronos protocols.  Based on this new information, OCA and CSEA have agreed to return to the 5/15 minute swipe in/swipe out configuration.

Effective November 20, 2014, CSEA-represented employees will return to the 5- and 15-minute swipe in/swipe out configuration.  This configuration in no way is intended to modify the 35-hour work week.  Employees are still required to begin their workday at the start of their shift and stay until the end of their shift.  The configuration simply provides employees with some flexibility to swipe at a convenient time within the limited window period

 

Lag Provision Language CSEA November 21, 2014 11:22 AM

(Mary Rubilotta, CSEA Dep. Director of Contract Administration)

It appears that UCS may not reach agreements with its other unions, so CSEA has negotiated a modification to the current lag side letter. UCS will continue to submit timely and responsible budget requests to provide the funding necessary to support personnel costs and implement the terms of our Agreement.  In the event a lag becomes necessary but not all the represented and unrepresented non-judicial employees are lagged, each CSEA employee who is lagged will receive annual leave credit equivalent to the amount of the lag, in addition to having the lag repaid when they leave state service. The credit will be posted on the time card for the payperiod when CSEA is notified of UCS's itention to implement the lag.  If you have any questions, please contact your Local President.

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