NEGOTIATIONS UPDATE 3/21/14
(Mary Rubilotta, CSEA Dep. Director of Contract Administration)
Negotiations continued this week with UCS on March 19th and March 20th.
Both parties focused on areas not involving compensation and significant progress was made. UCS withdrew a good number of their proposals concerning time and leave issues and overtime. In return, CSEA agreed to a number of UCS proposals dealing with direct deposit, blood donation, personal history folders, printing of the Agreement and pre-tour prep when on LODI. Other areas were also discussed where UCS agreed to changes requested by CSEA like return to duty exam, sick leave bank, layoff notice and jackets worn in the summer months.
Later in the negotiations, UCS made a compensation proposal to the CSEA Negotiating Team. UCS started out by telling the Team again that they expect to receive a flat budget, which means UCS will start off the fiscal year in a deficit due to other initiatives (like the legislation creating more NYC Judges) having unexpected costs that they must absorb. UCS expressed concern that they will not have enough money to meet payroll the last payroll period of the fiscal year and living with flat budgets through attrition and not backfilling vacancies is no longer a viable way to run the court system. Among other changes, the UCS compensation proposal contains significant structural changes to the way employees are currently paid in such areas as step increases, longevity increments, service bonus awards and across the board increases. UCS also proposed a lag that would only be triggered if they could not meet payroll at the end of the fiscal year.
The CSEA Negotiating Team took some time to digest this proposal. While the Team acknowledges that UCS is facing some financial operating issues, it is unwilling to agree to all of the drastic structural changes sought by UCS. UCS has been living with flat budgets for the last three years and Judge Lippman has done nothing during that time to scale back on any of his costly initiatives. It took several years for UCS to get into this bad fiscal shape and they want to solve it overnight on the backs of the non-judicial employees. The Team made a counter proposal that it believes showed some movement in the area of compensation that will allow UCS to realize some savings in future years. UCS did not seem to appreciate the counter proposal and said they would have to review it and get back to us next week. The CSEA Negotiating Team has additional dates scheduled to meet with UCS on March 26th and 27th.