(Susan Radosh, CSEA Dep. Director of State Operations, April 8, 2019)
CSEA met with the Office of Court Administration on Thursday, April 4 to discuss their offer of a one-year extension, from 2020-2021, of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. The CSEA negotiating team includes Donald Lynskey, Kevin Mahler, Nicole Ventresca-Cohen, Scott Gartland, Diane Hansen, Vincent Martusciello, and Robert Pazik. Discussions are scheduled to continue in mid-May.
CIVIL SERVICE – “OPT OUT” PROGRAM – ERRONEOUS NOTIFICATION
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.”
CSEA-UCS SICK LEAVE BANK INFORMATION
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.
(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.
MEMBER vs. NON-MEMBER
(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!
(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.
(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.”
(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.
(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).
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.