CSEA STATEWIDE ISSUES/COMMITTEES:
Lag Side Letter Rescinded
The Lag Side Letter to our contract, for fiscal year 2015-2016 and 2016-2017, has been rescinded. There will be no lag for CSEA-represented employees.
CSEA requested that UCS provide us with information regarding the new UCS Work-Safe Office. We had been informed that this office was created but were not provided with any additional information.
We recently received correspondence that stated that the mission of the New York State Courts Work-Safe Office, which is part of the Division of Human Resources, is to ensure that UCS promotes and supports a safe work environment for its employees and the public. Some of the duties performed by this office are enforcing the court system's Workplace Violence Policy, ensuring compliance with the posting of Federal and State Workplace Notices and addressing any OSHA workplace concerns.
CSEA is currently reviewing the UCS Workplace Violence policy and program to determine if it is in compliance with the law.
Any workplace related complaints or concerns can be reported to the Work-Safe office via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 646-386-5464.
Time and Attendance Pilot Program
A subcommittee of the CSEA-UCS Statewide Labor/Management Committee met with UCS Management on December 3, 2014 to discuss the creation of a pilot "time and leave disciplinary umpire process" to address employee attendance issues using an independent time and leave umpire. This pilot program, negotiated with UCS during contract negotiations, is contained in Article 12.9 of the 2011-2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement and is the first time UCS has agreed to use a neutral umpire instead of a UCS employee for any type of disciplinary process.
During the initial meeting, the parties discussed the current procedures utilized by UCS management with regard to time and leave issues and the process that is currently in place for the NYS Executive Branch employees and which aspects of those two procedures should be utilized for this pilot program.
The Management representatives for this subcommittee attended Executive Branch time and leave hearings in Albany and New York City. The CSEA representatives of the subcommittee will attend hearings in the near future. This will provide both sides with an understanding of the process and what might work for the UCS pilot program. The committee will schedule another meeting after the CSEA representatives attend hearings and will begin to draft the pilot program.
We will continue to keep you updated as this pilot program moves forward.
Court Reporters/Electronic Recording
CSEA, along with other unions representing UCS court reporters, met in September and again in December of 2014 with UCS Management to discuss issues related to Electronic Recording and Court Reporters.
Issues addressed at the meetings included suggested modification of language contained in the UCS 2009 ER Policy, Per Diem rates for Court Reporters, Transcriptionist issues and CART (computer aided realtime transcription) for the Hearing Impaired in the Courts.
Judge Marks informed the unions that 36 Court Reporters had been hired across the State since January 2014 and an additional 12 Court Reporters will begin employment with UCS after January 1, 2015. In addition, four Court Reporters are in the process of being hired. CSEA informed Judge Marks that we have been told that if a Grade 24 Court Reporter position for Family Court or City Court was vacated in courts Upstate, that the position would generally not be filled. Judge Marks stated that that was not his understanding and he would make sure that this message was corrected to Upstate District Executives.
Judge Marks stated that the current 2009 Electronic Recording policy is ambiguous and can be interpreted differently and that UCS is in the process of revising this policy so that it is clearly understood.
He also informed the unions that the per diem rates paid to Court Reporters would be raised from $120 or $140 per day to $250 or $260 per day, depending on whether the per diem is a Grade 24 or Grade 27 hire.
UCS also indicated at this meeting that they never opposed the legislation regarding providing realtime transcription to hearing impaired litigants in the Courts and requested that the unions provide UCS with a copy of the legislation for review.
A committee was formed among the unions to create suggested standards for transcriptionists that would mirror standards for Court Reporters. That committee will provide the recommended standards to UCS management for their approval.
We will keep you updated on any developments regarding these issues as we go forward.
A subcommittee of our Statewide Labor-Management Committee was formed to address issues regarding firearms. The Committee met in Albany on December 15, 2014 and discussed the procedure for removal of firearms (now with notification to the Union) in both emergency and non-emergency circumstances or for failure to re-qualify. In every instance where a weapon is surrendered, a receipt must be given by UCS to the employee.
All firearms owned, possessed or acquired by a court officer must be registered with his/her supervisor no later than the next regular business day following the date of acquisition.
Court Officer Trainees in the Academy and Court Officers that attend firearms requalification in 2015 will be given a reminder read/sign form to acknowledge their understanding that UCS has the authority, as a term and condition of employment, to require an employee to surrender both their service and personal firearms if deemed necessary.
Before firearm(s) may be returned, the employee must attend a medical and psychological evaluation and firearms safety retraining. The Deputy Chief Administrative Judge may determine that only the on-duty firearm will be returned or that all firearms will be returned.
We will continue to provide updates as the subcommittee meets in the future.