Author News
CSEA/UCS Settle Court Reporter Improper Practice Charge April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

(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 April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

(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 April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

(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 April 6, 2011 12:00 AM

(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 April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

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 April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

(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 April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

(As posted on the CSEA Web Site,, 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 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,]

CSEA-UCS Contract Ratified April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

(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 April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

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 April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

(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 April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

(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 April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

(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 April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

(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 April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

(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 April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

(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 April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

(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 April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

(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 April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

(Donald Lynskey, Local 334 President)

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

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."

"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)

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


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 to view a video that explains in further detail the background of the legislation.

CSEA Considering Buyout Offer For Court Workers April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

(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 April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

(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 April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

(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,

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 April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

(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 April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

(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 April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

(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 April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

(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 April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

(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 April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

(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.

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 April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

(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 April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

(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.

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 April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

(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, 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 April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

(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 April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

(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 April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

Meet Your CSEA-UCS Contract Negotiating Team:



Vincent Martusciello, Local 010 President, Chair



Donald Lynskey, Local 334 President, Co-Chair



Nicole Ventresca Cohen, Local 694 President



Robert Pazik, Local 335 President



Scott Gartland, Local 333 President



Kevin Mahler, Local 332 President



Kevin Ray, Local 330 President

Election Notices & Information April 15, 2011 12:00 AM

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 September 28, 2011 12:00 AM

(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.


(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 October 12, 2011 12:00 AM


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 October 19, 2011 12:00 AM


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 November 2, 2011 12:00 AM


"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 November 16, 2011 12:00 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 December 20, 2011 12:00 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 February 8, 2012 12:00 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! February 9, 2012 12:00 AM


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:

Proposed Tier 6 February 17, 2012 12:00 AM


"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,, to learn more about how the proposed creation of Tier 6 will adversely affect you andyourpension, as well as statements of concern by the state comptroller.
  • Visit 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 April 17, 2012 12:00 AM


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.



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) September 12, 2012 12:00 AM

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 September 19, 2012 12:00 AM


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  Important:  Applications must be filed electronically.  Separate applications must be completed for each exam.

Local/Unit Election Rules and Campaign Notice February 5, 2013 12:00 AM

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 March 7, 2013 12:00 AM


(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 May 2, 2013 12:00 AM

(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 June 6, 2013 12:00 AM

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 June 28, 2013 12:00 AM

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 October 15, 2013 12:00 AM

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 November 26, 2013 12:00 AM

(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 February 4, 2014 12:00 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 February 25, 2014 12:00 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 March 21, 2014 12:00 AM


(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) April 12, 2014 12:00 AM


(As posted on the CSEA Statewide web site 4/11/14,

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 May 10, 2014 12:00 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.

Click Here to Print This Flyer

Contract Ratified June 11, 2014 12:00 AM

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 June 25, 2014 12:00 AM

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

Probationary Term Language Change October 5, 2014 12:00 AM

(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 October 9, 2014 12:00 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 October 21, 2014 12:00 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 November 13, 2014 12:00 AM


(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 November 17, 2014 12:00 AM


(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 November 21, 2014 12:00 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.

February 17, 2015, Statewide Issues/Updates February 17, 2015 12:00 AM


  • Lag Side Letter Rescinded
  • Work-Safe Office
  • Time and Attendance Pilot Program
  • Court Reporters/Electronic Recording
  • Firearms Subcommittee



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.

Work-Safe Office

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 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.

Firearms Subcommittee

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.

Sick Leave Bank 2015 March 3, 2015 12:00 AM


There will be no annual contribution required from members of the Sick Leave Bank for 2015.  Open enrollment information will be distributed by UCS next week.

Electronic Recording & EBF CoPays March 12, 2015 12:00 AM


UCS's "Production of the Record" Policy provides very specific guidelines that must be followed prior to the usage of electronic recording to make the record in courtrooms where ER has not been utilized prior to January 2009.  If members become aware of electronic recording equipment being newly installed or utilized in a courtroom, they should notify their union representative immediately to be certain that the proper protocol has been followed prior to the utilization of ER.


Reminder - March 31st is the deadline to submit your Employee Benefit Fund reimbursement form for physician office visit and prescription co-pays from 2014.  See the link below for complete instructions.

EBF - UCS Co-Pay Form

NYC Court Reporter Positions March 12, 2015 12:00 AM


The Office of Court Administration is seeking assistance in filling provisional Court Reporter positions in NYC Criminal Court.  If you know of a Court Reporter that may be interested or, alternatively, may have an interest in per diem work, please forward the Court Reporter the information from the link below.

NYC Court Reporter Positions

Revised Job Posting (3/13/15)

2016 CSEA Elections December 18, 2015 09:31 AM

Click the link below for information on the upcoming 2016 CSEA Elections.  Ballots will be mailed on January 19th, 2016 and must be returned by 8:00 a.m. on February 10, 2016.


2016 Election Notice

Court Officer Reallocations May 6, 2016 02:21 PM


UCS has announced that the reallocation for Court Officers (18 to 19) and Sergeant (19 to 20) will become effective June 2nd, which will be reflected in paychecks “later this year.”  UCS has indicated that it is moving forward with a review of all title classification plans for all non-judicial employees.


The Administrative Order reallocating Court Officer Trainees (14 to 16) has been amended to reflect an effective date of December 16, 2014.  CSEA Dep. Director of Contract Administration Mary Rubilotta worked very hard, along with the Local Presidents, to secure this amendment in order to address unfair pay differential issues between COTs.  We appreciate the assistance of both 5th JD Administrative Judge James Tormey and Dep. Chief Administrative Judge for Courts Outside of NYC, Judge Michael Coccoma, for their efforts in helping us secure the amendment to the Administrative Order.  Also, we want to thank Judge Marks for considering CSEA’s request and signing the amended Administrative Order.

2017 CSEA-UCS Contract Negotiations Survey October 31, 2016 02:19 PM

The CSEA UCS Contract Survey is now live.  You may access the survey by going to the following link:

You will need your CSEA ID number to access the survey.  You may look up your CSEA ID number on the CSEA home page,  

Online Negotiations Surveys December 7, 2016 09:37 AM


(December 7, 2016, Kathy Guild, CSEA Dep. Director of Contract Admin.)

As you are aware, CSEA will begin contract negotiations with the Unified Court System in the near future.  We wanted to remind you during this busy time of year to take a few minutes to complete the online UCS contract survey so that your Negotiating Team understands what issues are most important to you as they prepare to meet with Management.   All surveys should be completed by the end of the calendar year.

Link to survey:

Wishing you all a Happy Holiday Season and a very Happy New Year!


Updates February 1, 2017 February 1, 2017 04:20 PM


CSEA-represented Court Officers, Senior Court Officers and Court Officer Trainees that are interested in a voluntary reassignment are asked to complete the form below and submit it to UCS prior to February 11th, 2017.  A reassignment is defined as moving from one district to another district or NYC, NOT a request to change assignment within a district.  Even if you have previously filled out a request, you are asked to complete the new attached form and submit to the address indicated on the form by February 11th.  If you have any questions, please email your CSEA Local President. Click the link below for further explanation and the reassignment form and map.

CO Voluntary Reassignment Form

2017 Local Elections February 22, 2017 11:59 AM

The following publications must be posted in advance of the upcoming CSEA Local officer elections:


"Notice Regarding Campaigning"

"Standing Rules and Regulations"

Contract Negotiations Update 3/3/17 March 3, 2017 01:50 PM


(Kathy Guild, CSEA Dep. Director of Contract Administration, March 3, 2017)

CSEA and UCS met on March 1, 2017 and March 2, 2017 for the first round of contract negotiations.  The current Collective Bargaining Agreement expires on March 31, 2017.  All increments, longevity payments, uniform and equipment allowance payments, health insurance and dental and vision benefits will continue to be paid per the Triborough Amendment until a successor Agreement is agreed to and ratified by the membership.


Both sides exchanged initial proposals and discussed the issues that the CSEA UCS members told us were important to them in the contract survey.  It was a productive session and both sides agreed to go back and work on some language to be discussed at the next round. 

The next session will be held on March 14, 2017 and March 15, 2017 with additional sessions planned in April and May.  We will continue to keep you updated as we go through the negotiations process.

Court Reporter Practice Dictation Video May 2, 2017 10:16 AM

The Unified Court System has posted a two-minute Court Reporter practice dictation video on their public website in order to help reporters prepare for the upcoming Court Reporter exam.  They intend to create a similar video for the upcoming Sr. Court Reporter exam in the fall.  Click the link below to access the video, then scroll down to "Practice Dictation" under "Court Reporter Exam." 


Contract Negotiations Update May 12, 2017 May 12, 2017 09:17 AM


(Kathy Guild, CSEA Dep. Director of Contract Administration, May 12, 2017)

CSEA and UCS met during the week of April 25th and again the week of May 10th to continue negotiations for a successor contract.  We have made progress in coming to agreement on numerous proposals.  We are scheduled to meet again next week with UCS and will continue to work towards agreement on the terms for a new proposed contract.   We will continue to keep you updated as we go through the negotiations process.

CSEA Reaches Tentative Contract May 17, 2017 10:59 AM

CSEA Reaches Tentative Agreement with the New York State Office of Court Administration

(Kathy Guild, CSEA Deputy Director of Contract Administration, May 17, 2017)

CSEA has reached a tentative agreement with the New York State Office of Court Administration on a new contract covering more than 5,500 non-judicial employees in the state's Unified Court System.  The tentative agreement will be effective retroactively from April 1, 2017 through March 31, 2020.

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. 

The three-year agreement retroactive to April 1, 2017 includes salary increases in every year of the agreement, improved downstate and Mid-Hudson Valley location pay, improved payments to the Employee Benefit Fund and a new Welfare Fund program.

Across-the-board cost of living adjustments are as follows: 
April 1, 2017 - 2 percent(retroactive); April 1, 2018 - 2 percent; and April 1, 2019 - 2 percent.

Additional details about the agreement will be posted shortly on the CSEA Judiciary website,, and the CSEA website, 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.

2017-2020 CSEA-UCS Tentative Agreement Highlights May 22, 2017 12:44 PM

Click the link below for a pdf version of the 2017-2020 CSEA-UCS Tentative Agreement Highlights:

Tentative Agreement Highlights

Update on Taxation of State Supplemental Payments June 14, 2017 10:13 AM

The New York state comptroller’s office was recently informed of an Internal Revenue Service ruling which requires Supplemental wage payments including longevity payments, call out bonus, tool allowance, hazardous duty pay, back pay, retroactive wage increases, awards, uniform allowance, unused vacation accruals lump sum, salary deferral lump sum, standby, intermittent inconvenience, step 3 out-of-title grievance payments, and any other payment that is above regular wages, to be processed with a higher withholding rate than regular wages.

Under the regulations, employers have the option to withhold a flat rate of 25% on supplemental wages or use a more complex aggregate method for calculating the withholding that combines regular and supplemental wages according to what you entered on your W-4 for withholding allowances and additional withholding amounts.

To be in full compliance with these IRS rules, the State’s Comptroller’s Office initially determined to use the flat rate 25% method, starting with the April 2017 Longevity Payments. In response to strong objections by CSEA, and after further research by CSEA, the state comptroller has determined that the aggregate method will be used to determine the proper amount of withholding to be taken out of supplemental payments. This method is more beneficial to our members than using the flat 25% rate. However, even with the aggregate method, the withholding will still be significantly more than what has been withheld in the past.

It is important to note that regardless of the tax withholding method used on supplemental payments, an individual’s tax liability is the same at the end of the year. Taxes withheld over and above what a person owes will be refunded when you file your tax returns.

In the meantime an individual can always change their withholding amounts and their claimed withholding allowances on their W-4 prior to the supplemental payments in order to realize more money in the supplemental check. An individual can change their withholding amounts and their withholding allowances as many times as they desire throughout the year in order to capture more money in any supplemental check.

If you have any questions please contact CSEA State Operations at (518) 257-1213.

Mary E. Sullivan, CSEA Acting President

2017-2020 Contract Ratifies July 24, 2017 11:55 AM

(Kathy Guild, Dep. Director of Contract Administration, July 24, 2017)

The CSEA-UCS contract was overwhelmingly ratified today by an 8 to 1 ratio, with a total of approximately 50% turnout.  There were 2,122 yes votes (88%) and 285 no votes (12%).   Your CSEA Negotiating team thanks you for the tremendous voter response and are grateful that the proposed contract was well received.  The terms of the contract are effective immediately.

Health Insurance Changes Effective 1/1/19 August 9, 2017 08:08 AM


CSEA Judiciary falls under the health insurance benefits as negotiated by CSEA Executive Branch.  With the ratification of the CSEA Executive Branch contract yesterday, the negotiated Health Insurance changes will become effective on 1/1/19.  The links below have both a “highlight” sheet and a more detailed listing of changes.  The “detailed” document shows columns with what the previous contract reflected for the specified benefit, the next column showing what NYS was proposing to change it to, then finally the last column shows what the new agreement reached/ratified will result in as of 1/1/19.  Be certain to refer to the final column when analyzing the changes (not the proposed changes by the State).  Please note that the percentage of contribution the State makes towards employees’ biweekly health insurance premiums will remain the same.

Highlights of Changes effective 1/1/19

Detailed Changes effective 1/1/19

RETRO PAY DATE August 14, 2017 01:40 PM


(Kathleen Guild, CSEA Dep. Director of Contract Administration, August 14, 2017)

UCS indicated during contract negotiations that September 6th was the date that they had planned to pay out all retro monies if the CSEA contract ratified. It was their hope that the legislation would be passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor right after the ratification vote.   Unfortunately, the pay bill was not sent to the Governor until the week before last and was not signed into law by the Governor until last Wednesday.  UCS could not move forward with any payments until the bill was signed.  Once it was signed, they reached out to the Comptroller's Office to determine when the retro money could be paid.  The Office of the State Comptroller is the Agency that processes these payments, and they have indicated that it cannot be completed until the October 4th paycheck.


The other unions’ pay bill was passed by the Legislature and signed by the Governor before the CSEA pay bill, which is why it will be paid out earlier.  CSEA worked with the NYS Legislature to get the bill delivered to the Governor, once we found out it had not been sent. 


Please notify your members that October 4th, 2017 is the current pay date for all retro monies.  If they notified the payroll office to change their deductions, they should request that they not be changed for the 9/6 date and then request to have it changed for the 10/4 date. 

Upcoming Court Clerk and Sr. Court Clerk Exams August 23, 2017 09:36 AM

(Kathy Guild, CSEA Dep. Director of Contract Administration, August 23, 2017)

CSEA received the notification below from UCS regarding upcoming Senior Court Clerk, JG 21, and Court Clerk, JG 18, exams, to be given in March 2018.

UCS Clerk Exams Notice

2017-2020 Contract Posted on Web Site September 8, 2017 12:36 PM

The 2017-2020 CSEA-UCS Contract is posted on this web site, under Contract, in PDF format.

Centralized Arraignments September 21, 2017 11:15 AM

(Kathleen Guild, CSEA Dep. Director of Contract Administration, Sept. 21, 2017)

CSEA met with UCS Management for a Statewide Labor/Management meeting on September 14th.  One of the agenda items that we discussed at this meeting was centralized arraignments.  UCS stated that there will be four pilot programs, in Onondaga, Washington, Oneida and Broome counties.  The Onondaga County pilot program will begin around October 1st, and the Oneida County pilot program may start sometime this Fall.  The Broome and Washington County pilot programs will begin at the end of the calendar year.  These are projected dates and are subject to change.

This initiative was the result of a lawsuit that resulted in a mandate to towns and villages to assure that individuals are arraigned quickly and that they are afforded the opportunity to have counsel available.

The centralized arraignments in the four pilot programs will be held in county or government buildings, other than in Onondaga County where it will be held in one of the courthouses.  Unified Court System employees will not be used for these town and village arraignments.  The town and village Justices will conduct the arraignments without any support staff, and security staff will be paid by the counties. 

We will keep you apprised of any new developments regarding this initiative as this program moves forward.

Article 8.3 PEP Clarification and New SLED Payments in 2019 October 13, 2017 02:10 PM

Correction for Article 8.3 Productivity Enhancement Program

(Kathy Guild, CSEA Dep. Director of Contract Administration, October 13, 2017)

The language in Article 8.3 of the CSEA/UCS Collective Bargaining Agreement is partially incorrect. The amounts allowed for the exchange of annual leave  to offset the cost of health care for 2017 and 2018 remain at $500 and $1,000.  The new amounts of $600 and $1,200 will begin in 2019. This is a Civil Service Program that UCS participates in and the amounts are set by them, per the negotiations with the CSEA Executive Branch.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. 


SLED Payments to begin in 2019

(Kathy Guild, CSEA Dep. Director of Contract Administration, October 13, 2017)

On September 29, 2017, the NYS Court Officers Association and the NYS Supreme Court Officers Association ratified contracts with the Unified Court System.  Included in these two contracts is an economic benefit called Security Law Enforcement Differential (SLED).  This benefit provides an additional payment on April 1, 2019 of $500 to all NYS Court Officers and NYS Court Attendants and an additional payment of $750 on April 1, 2020.

CSEA has an Economic Benefit Side Letter with the Unified Court System that provides that CSEA will receive any economic benefit provided to any other UCS Bargaining Unit.  As a result of that Side Letter, all CSEA-represented NYS Court Officers and NYS Court Attendants will receive the $500 payment on April 1, 2019.  Because the CSEA Collective Bargaining Agreement ends on March 31, 2019, this amount will be Triboroughed (continued under the old contract) until a new successor Agreement is negotiated and ratified. CSEA will have to negotiate the $750 rate in our successor Agreement in order for that amount to be paid.


Classification Changes October 17, 2017 07:08 AM

(Kathy Guild, CSEA Dep. Director of Contract Administration)

UCS has announced that they are conducting a comprehensive review of the UCS Classification Plan for certain sub-series within the Legal Series and to the entry level titles in the two Office Clerical sub-series.

The Legal Series classification review will credit outside legal experience toward qualification for the sub-series titles Court Attorney and Court Attorney (Trial Part), which currently does not provide any credit for outside legal experience.  When someone is appointed to those two titles, they receive the hiring rate of the entry level title, regardless of their prior experience outside the court system.  These sub-series also differ from other Legal sub-series with respect to the number of years’ experience required to progress through the titles/grades.

UCS will now provide credit for experience outside of the court system for these two titles for any attorney in these sub-series who does not currently hold an Associate level legal series title.  The Division of Human Resources will be emailing a link next month to incumbents in these two sub-series to use an online tool to verify their outside legal experience.  They will then audit the information provided and calculate the title/grade changes required by the new rules.  UCS has indicated that salary changes will be implemented prior to the end of the current fiscal year, March 31, 2018.

The titles of Court Office Assistant and the Data Recording Assistant sub-series will be reallocated from a JG 8 to a JG 10 and these positions will be earmarked for change in the future.  The reallocation will be effective upon the execution of the Administrative Orders implementing the grade change for current employees, after HR completes the job analysis, updates the title standards and completes a salary determination for all current employees impacted by the grade change.  UCS has indicated that they are expected to be implemented by March 31, 2018. 

The current list in effect for these two titles will remain in place and will be used until classification decisions are made regarding combining these sub-series.  Appointments from the current lists that are made after the execution of the Administrative Order will be made at JG 10.

In addition, UCS has also indicated that classification work related to the Court Clerical Series continues.  They stated that adjustments to this Series are complicated and require significant study of the statewide impact on the overall classification structure.

We will keep you updated regarding these changes as we receive additional information.


Welfare Fund Update November 3, 2017 09:58 AM

Welfare Fund Update

(Kathy Guild, CSEA Dep. Director of Contract Administration, November 3, 2017)

We anticipate that the portal that members will use to apply for the negotiated Welfare Fund should be up and running by mid-December.  Members will receive notification from CSEA in the mail regarding the process for applying for this benefit sometime in December.  It is important that each member applying for this benefit print and keep a confirmation sheet after completing the on-line application.  The portal will remain open for the months of January and February, with expected payout of this benefit sometime in March. The amount of this benefit will depend of the number of applicants.  

Emergency Annual Leave November 16, 2017 09:42 AM

Emergency Annual Leave

(Kathy Guild, CSEA Dep. Director of Contract Administration)

After receiving some complaints regarding how managers were treating employees’ requests to use emergency annual leave (EAL), per Article 9.2(e)(i) of the contract, CSEA and UCS Management had a further discussion regarding the negotiating history behind this language and how it will be treated by UCS going forward.

Both sides agreed that the leave is to be utilized by an employee when something unforeseen occurs and the employee needs to take an unplanned day off to deal with the issue.  When an employee calls in to utilize EAL, they should provide a basic reason for requesting the leave.  Managers should not substitute their judgment for that of the employee regarding the gravity of the emergency requiring use of this leave.  It should not be requested for something that could be pre-planned, such as extending a vacation or for an appointment that has already been made.

If an employee has been previously denied the use of annual leave and call in to use EAL for the same date, managers can conduct a further inquiry into what the emergency is, as well as request substantiation of the emergency, in order to authorize the use of emergency annual leave.

Dec. 20, 2017 UCS Court Reporter Training Sessions November 28, 2017 02:10 PM

(Kathy Guild, CSEA Dep. Director of Contract Administration, November 28, 2017)

UCS Court Reporters:

Please see the information provided below from the Office of the Production of the Record, from Michael DeVito, CSR, Manager.  This information was previously sent to supervisors/management.  Note that you must:

  • get permission from your supervisor prior to registering for the December 20th Court Reporter training sessions
  • bring with you your NCRA Membership ID if you are requesting CEU credits for the 2:30-3:30 class.  (The 3:30-4:15 workshop is not eligible for CEUs.)
  • the “Professional Development” link provided below will only work when utilizing a UCS computer, so if this message is being viewed on a private email, please forward to your court system email in order to view that information.  The registration link will work from within any email by utilizing “control and click” to access the  registration form.


With this email I am providing updated information for the court reporter webinar to be held on December 20, 2017.  I am happy to report that we were able to procure CE credit from NCRA for those in need.  Before planning to attend, BE CERTAIN TO ADVISE STAFF THAT THEY MUST GET PERMISSION AND THEN REGISTER UTILIZING THE LINK TO THE ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION FORM.  Should you have any questions in this regard please don’t hesitate to contact me at your earliest opportunity so that this process goes as smoothly as possible.

Below are the SharePoint links to the HR Training and Professional Development Office Fall 2017 training opportunities.

Employees who are interested in attending one or more of the training sessions must first obtain permission from their supervisor before registering. 

Once permission is granted, registration may be submitted by completing the electronic registration form. The form must include the employee’s and supervisor’s email and the session name and date.

Links to the Fall 2017 Training Opportunities:


Michael J. DeVito, C.S.R.

Manager, Office of Production of the Record

Hall of Justice

99 Exchange Blvd. – Rm. 161-B

Rochester, NY 14614

(585) 371-3273



January 9, 2018 - Welfare Fund Enrollment January 9, 2018 12:59 PM


All CSEA Judiciary members will be mailed out a letter today or tomorrow from Headquarters regarding enrolling in the Welfare Fund.  The enrollment period will run from 1/15/18 through 3/15/18.  Follow the instructions in the letter carefully and be certain to get a confirmation.

2018 Spring Court Clerks/Clericals Training Opportunities January 29, 2018 01:06 PM

(Lisa McNeil, CSEA Contract Administration Specialist, January 29, 2018)

CSEA received notification of training opportunities being offered this Spring for Court Clerks and Clericals.   Information regarding trainings and sign up can be found on the UCS intranet site under HR/Training and Professional Development.  (Note: Some of the trainings are by invitation only).  

2018 Longevity Payments and Negotiated Percent Raise March 15, 2018 08:46 AM

(Kathy Guild, CSEA Dep. Director of Contract Admin., March 15, 2018)

The 2018 negotiated 2% pay increases will be paid out beginning in the May 2nd, 2018 paycheck.  Those eligible for Longevity Payments will also see that payment reflected in the May 2nd paycheck.

Updated Cancer Screening Policy March 19, 2018 08:03 AM

(Kathy Guild, CSEA Dep. Director of Contract Administration, March 19, 2018)

CSEA recently received new Cancer Screening Policy language from OCA (see below).  In addition to the information provided, please note that the Cancer Screening Leave must be pre-approved and employees must provide documentation to substantiate their absence for cancer screening upon return to work.   

“Currently, Civil Service Law provides for 4 hours of paid leave, without charge to leave credits, for New York State employees to undergo breast and/or prostate cancer screenings. Effective March 18, 2018, the specific references in the law to 'breast' and 'prostate' are replaced with 'cancer' screening, generally.

“This change in law broadens the scope of the existing Court System leave benefit by covering all cancer screenings. The Court System will continue to provide employees with up to 4 hours of paid leave to undergo screening for breast and/or prostate cancer. This means that employees will be entitled to up to 12 hours of paid leave annually to undergo cancer screenings – 4 hours for breast cancer, 4 hours for prostate cancer and 4 hours for any other type(s) of cancer. Part-time employees are also entitled to 4 hours of paid leave for each type of screening. Travel time is included in the 4 hours. Any absence beyond the 4-hour maximum must be charged to the employee’s leave credits.

“Leave for cancer screenings is provided on an annual basis and does not carry over from one calendar year to the next. However, the 4 hours may be used all at once or in increments over the course of the year. For example, if an employee uses 2 hours of paid leave to undergo breast cancer screening and the employee’s doctor requires the employee to undergo further screening/testing in the same year, the employee is entitled to 2 more hours of paid leave for this purpose. Employees who undergo cancer screenings outside their regular work hours do so on their own time and are not entitled to receive compensatory time.”


Welfare Fund Benefit April 4, 2018 02:06 PM

(Kathy Guild, CSEA Dep. Director of Contract Administration)

The portal to apply for the negotiated UCS Welfare Fund Benefit was closed as of March 15, 2018 at 5 p.m.

The information is being processed for payment and checks will be sent out within four to six weeks.  The amount that will be distributed to each applicant is $271.38.

Member vs. Non-Member July 31, 2018 11:30 AM


(Don Lynskey, CSEA Judiciary Local 334 President, July 31, 2018)

A number of people have contacted me to discuss and comment on “membership” versus “non-membership” in our Union.  The reasons for maintaining your membership are voluminous, but here are a few important factors to consider:

As one of the largest unions in New York State, CSEA IS strong and we need to keep it that way.  Remember, if our membership drops even one person below 50%, the employer can decertify the Union – which means no representation, no “table” to sit down to discuss matters or negotiate a contract.  As a matter of fact, no CONTRACT at all in that situation, which means all terms and conditions of employment are subject to the whims of the employer, including hours of employment, salaries and percent increases, health insurance rates, accruals, use of annual/sick leave, etcetera.  This, alone, should be reason enough to Stay Union and Stay Strong.

As a member of your Union, you are able to elect your representatives, vote on your contract, attend Union meetings and events.  If you have reason to be formally counseled, encounter disciplinary charges or an investigation by the Inspector General’s office, you will be able to count on Union representation throughout these type of proceedings.  Remember, no one ever plans on running into these issues, but if/when you do, we have your back and also have access to our Labor Relations Specialists and our Legal Department, if needed.  Non-members have no access to Union representation in these type of matters unless it involves a “contract” issue and they will need to hire and pay for their own counsel – who typically do not have the familiarity with dealing with the employer and its agencies and policies.  Non-members are not able to attend our meetings/events or access the information we provide.  And we do have a list of members and non-members that we check before providing our services or information.

Our members also have access to Pearl Insurances, our CSEA Health Benefits Department, Membership Benefits and Contract Administration Departments – all staffed by experts to help you get clear and concise answers to any issue you may have.

The list goes on and on as to the benefits of membership versus not being a member.  If you want more information, let me know.  Or you can call CSEA Headquarters and speak with a representative there, 1-800-342-4146.  It’s OUR Union – let’s keep it Strong!

Centralized Arraignment Parts - Improper Practice Charge October 24, 2018 07:56 AM

(Kathy Guild, CSEA Dep. Director of Contract Administration, October 24, 2018)

CSEA and UCS Labor Relations attended a hearing at the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) on October 22, 2018, regarding an Improper Practice Charge filed by CSEA.  The charge was filed when a Centralized Arraignment Part (CAP) in Onondaga County, which conducts arraignments seven days a week from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., included Syracuse City Court arraignments along with the Town and Village arraignments.  UCS hired private security to cover the CAP, even though they hired two part-time CSEA-represented Court Assistants to work in the CAP.  CSEA’s position is that CSEA-represented employees have exclusively handled Syracuse City Court arraignments in the past and it is our bargaining unit work.  

A second hearing day will be scheduled sometime in the future, as UCS did not come prepared to present any testimony at the hearing.  We will continue to keep you updated regarding this issue.


CSEA-UCS Sick Leave Bank November 30, 2018 01:21 PM



The Sick Leave Bank (SLB) was established through contract negotiations to cover illness, injury or disease that would require the employee to be out of work for an extended period of time while maintaining their pay status and health insurance.

Once an employee becomes eligible (having eight days of accrued sick leave on the books by open enrollment period, usually in April of every year), they would be eligible to draw from the bank for an illness, injury or disease, once they have exhausted all other leave accruals.  Approval of said time is required by the SLB Committee. The SLB Committee consists of one management representative and one union representative.  A unanimous vote on each grant is required, and there is no appeal process.  Once your grant is approved, it can be renewed for additional periods of time as needed, up to a maximum of 229 days or 1603 hours. Each renewal also requires SLB Committee approval.  

Though you may be a member of the SLB, it is important to note that not all situations will qualify for a grant, which is why it is so important to save your accruals, especially sick leave. Sick Leave can also be used at retirement to help offset health insurance premiums and add to your service credit.  Please also note that minor illness, injury or disease requiring a short period of absence from work  are generally covered by your personal accrued leave.  Travel is not permitted during the SLB grant time unless it is related to the injury/illness/disease (ex:  obtaining a second opinion or seeing a specialist from another area).

The SLB exists to help those who encounter unforeseen illnesses, injuries or disease and, to that end, the Committee has an obligation of making sure grants are given to the members it was created to help while also looking out for the interests of the other bank members.

We strongly encourage all members to join upon eligibility as the SLB acts as an insurance policy, hopefully one that you will never have to use, but if you do, it will be there.


Opt-Out Program - Erroneous Notification November 30, 2018 01:23 PM



CSEA was recently informed by UCS that “the Department of Civil Service has generated notices confirming enrollees’ ‘Opt-Out’ for the 2019 Plan year, which are erroneous as the 2019 Option Transfer Period has not yet occurred.


“As we are not yet sure whether Civil Service will be sending anything out to enrollees notifying them of this error, please ensure that your members are aware that they must re-enroll in the ‘Opt-Out’ Program for 2019 even if they received one of these letters.


“Any questions regarding health benefits should be made to your local Health Benefits Administrator.”


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