Monday, December 12, 2011

CSEA and the County Return to Negotiate!

The County has just recently notified CSEA that the Administration is willing to return to negotiating a contract for the members of Unit 7400, the first meeting in months will be on Wednesday, December 14". CSEA has long stood at the position that the Unit was willing to enter into real negotiations with fairness for both sides. The membership has been looking for productive talks and for true negotiations. Now that the County has decided to meet with your Unit Negotiation Team again, we remain cautiously optimism that the parties can reach a fair agreement.

CSEA Unit 7400 President, Cris Zaffuto said, ''This is what we wanted to do all along, get back to negotiations, work to make a progressive agreement and we do want a real negotiation process to occur".

Overall, CSEA is hopeful that negotiations will move forward in a positive manner and create an agreement that gives the membership the stability they deserve. The membership has waited a long time and would like to see a positive end to the process.

Zaffuto said, I am glad that we are returning to negotiations to work out a contract that is financially proper for the workforce and fiscally proper for the residents of Monroe County, who our members work for". She continued. "Only by working together in a professional manner will all sides involved get what they truly deserve".

Even more importantly has been the resolve of the membership to attend legislative meetings; detailing the value of the work they do for the community and calling for aide to end the dispute and re-start negotiations. In that same spirit, the Unit 7400 Negotiating Team is calling on all members to come to the legislative meeting on the night of December 13th; showing support for all we have stood for and to show the Legislators the spirit of negotiating in good faith.

Important date to remember:

Tuesday, December 13th, 5:45 -Monroe County Legislative Meeting, Monroe County Office Building -wear your yellow CSEA t-shirt if you have one!

"We'll see you there!"

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tell Newt His Plan to Fire Unionized Janitors and Hire Poor Kids is Nuts

We noted yesterday that Newt Gingrich wants “get rid of unionized janitors” and hire poor kids to clean the schools in low-income neighborhoods. TodayAFSCME says it’s time to tell Gingrich that his ”model” to lift kids out of poverty is outrageous dangerous and downright hogwash.
Click here to sign a letter that reminds Gingrich that
“doing janitorial work in a school entails sanitizing toilets, handling hazardous cleaning chemicals, and scrubbing floors hunched over a mop for hours. It’s hard to imagine a nine-year old doing any of those tasks. Come on.”
You can also tell the oh-so- brilliant Gingrich—at least in his mind—that when he fires all those janitors,
a lot of them are parents. That job puts a roof over kids’ heads, food on the table, and provides them with health care and the chance to get an education. That job is the only thing between a kid and poverty. Firing someone’s mom and hiring the kid for less money isn’t exactly the “process of rising.”
Click here to tell Newt he’s out of his mind and click here for a video look at his plan.

Happy Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

We just made history in Ohio

A message from Richard L. Trumka, President, AFL-CIO:

Dear Union Member,

I’m in Ohio right now, where working families just won an incredible victory.

Ohioans overwhelmingly voted to repeal Senate Bill 5—Gov. John Kasich’s attack on middle-class jobs that was designed to destroy collective bargaining rights in Ohio.

We pieced together a short, powerful video summing up the amazing energy that went into this. I hope you’ll take a moment to watch:

Tonight’s victory represents a turning point in our collective work to protect good jobs, working families and workplace rights. But it’s more than that. It’s a long-overdue return to common sense. 

From the very beginning of our jobs crisis, anti-worker politicians like Ohio’s Gov. Kasich have used our poor economy to push a cynical political agenda that favors the richest 1 percent at the expense of the 99 percent. Today, Ohio voters rejected that agenda. 

During this campaign, firefighters, nurses, teachers and other public employees were joined by construction workers, bakery workers and all kinds of private-sector workers. They came together to ensure the survival of the middle class. And together, we’ll keep doing it. Politicians who side with the richest 1 percent will find their radical efforts stopped by working people who want America to work for everyone.

Watch the energy and dedication that went into this huge victory—and join us.

This is our moment, and we won with solidarity. We won because the working people of Ohio—public and private sector, union and nonunion—stood together.

But the solidarity went even further than that: Volunteers traveled not just from neighboring Wisconsin—but from states as far away as California and New York—to help get out the vote. And activists from dozens of states as far away as Alaska gave up their nights and weekends to call Ohio voters from home. 

Solidarity means that when workers anywhere are under attack, we will all do whatever we can to help. It means we’re in it together.

Watch our video. See what solidarity looks like. 

I hope you’ll celebrate this moment in your own way. But the most important thing is to find a way to keep your own energy going and growing—so you can be a part of sustaining and growing our movement for all working people—the 99 percent.
This fight we’ve taken on and won—and the threats we face going forward—are about more than Democrats or Republicans, or 2012 battleground states. They are about good jobs and our right to a voice on the job.

Together, we're building a new kind of politics. A politics that works for the 99 percent, not just the 1 percent. 

We’ve got to start getting ready now to win tomorrow’s victories. Over time—together—we’ll build a future that works for working America.
Thank you for being a part of this movement, and for all you do for America’s workers.

In Solidarity,

Richard L. Trumka
President, AFL-CIO

P.S. America is waking up. Here’s one big reason we won in Ohio—people can see that the firefighters, teachers, nurses and snowplow drivers hurt by SB 5 didn’t cause our economic problems. Wall Street did. Ohio voters saw through Senate Bill 5—they understood it was a plan to make the 99 percent bear the burden of Wall Street’s recklessness—and that it would do nothing to create jobs. 

Take a moment to watch the incredible energy that went into this win.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Mobilization Continues....

CSEA Monroe County Unit 7400 members and the Federation of Social Workers
(FSW) have been working without a contract since December 31, 2008.
photo: Bess Watts

Rochester, N.Y.-- Members of CSEA and FSW rallied outside the Monroe County Office Building Tuesday October 11th to bring attention to the fact that County government is dragging its heels when it comes to collective bargaining with County workers.

Thousands of County employees have been working without a contract since December 31, 2008. To read more about the Brooks administration's stall tactics, you can go here. (CLICK HERE)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

CSEA Unit 7400 Members Tell the County: Quit Your Stalling, Stand Up, Do the Right Thing, NEGOTIATE!

CSEA Unit 7400 members have been working without a contract for over two and a half years and have spent the last 9 months battling with the County Administration over their petty attempts to keep members from receiving quality of life wages and benefits. At the same time the County continues to give raises to and hire more administrative positions at higher salaries while the County Executive and Legislators cry to the public that the County can’t afford services to the community.

Unit members have reached out numerous times to the County Executive and the Legislators to explain the importance of the services they perform and requested their help to push the Administration to come to the table and properly negotiate. This hasn’t happened and the membership, who continues to do what is right for the community every day, providing needed public services, is fed up.

We ask all concerned citizens to join and rally with us; we are putting all County officials on notice. “We do our jobs, you do yours! We’ll remember this November!”


WHEN: Tuesday, October 11, 2011

TIME: 5pm to 6pm

WHERE: County Office Building, 39 West Main Street, Rochester

At 6pm we ask that you attend the first hour 6pm to 7pm of the Monroe County

Legislature for those that can. If you have a yellow shirt: WEAR IT!!

All CSEA Members are urged to attend.

For more information call (585) 328-5250

The CSEA Unit 7400 Leadership thanks all members for their continued involvement and will continue to keep all members up to date on the contract situation.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

CSEA’s Representation Still Equals Benefit Protection

Monroe County Employees are on
the job working without a contract!
As the County continues an effort to stall any chance of the workforce getting a fair agreement this year by once again entering a frivolous charge against CSEA with the Public Employees Relations Board (PERB), CSEA as our union continues to protect your benefits, especially your health insurance benefits both for working members as well as protecting benefits for members when they retire.

The County’s new charge is that the Union Negotiating Team has made new proposals to the Fact-finder that were previously not discussed in any of the two and a half years of talks both sides have had or in any of the two tentative agreements that the membership has rejected. On the contrary, the proposals sent by CSEA are only modifications of subjects that have been previously discussed and although, it only causes a continued stall of the process, the County’s argument once again will be nulled by the State and CSEA will continue the Fact-finding process that has a great probability of showing that the Union proposals will be substantiated especially for the economic times we all have endured.

Another major piece the County is using to stall negotiations is that they are not willing to come away from is the issue of your health insurance benefits. They have a mis-guided belief that to maintain the benefit of having health insurance (something you actually work for) should cost you more by increasing your percentage of the premium drastically. What they forget to realize is that if you have to pay an exorbitant amount for the health insurance, than it is really not a benefit to you as it decreases any gain you might achieve with a fair wage increase. That the County has this ill-conceived idea that the workforce will ever agree to this concession illustrates their position to continue to delay any real possible agreement, even more so when two prior agreements that did not include this extremely negative proposal did not pass.

“We are doing what needs to be done, the only thing standing between higher health insurance costs and the current rates we benefit from is CSEA”, said CSEA Unit 7400 President Cris Zaffuto. She added, “Fighting the good fight, our union is protecting our benefits and we’re still working 24/7 to secure a positive future for all”.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Study Confirms “Privatization Is a Recipe for Disaster”

The American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO (AFSCME) was stunned to learn today that the United States government has spent billions of dollars hiring contractors rather than government employees. According to a study released today by the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), the federal government spends approximately $320 billion a year on contractors.
“In the wake of the worst recession in our lifetime, federal, state and local governments should not be doling out billions of dollars to private contractors to perform services that can be done more efficiently and at lower cost by public workers,” stated AFSCME Pres. Gerald W. McEntee. “Privatization has always been a recipe for disaster. This study confirms what AFSCME and its allies have been saying time and time again; privatizing services leads to cost overruns and in most cases a lower quality of services.”

The POGO report comes after months of criticism and brow beating by Republicans who claim that outsourcing and contracting is more cost efficient than hiring federal workers. Their claim, that hiring federal workers is too expensive with salary and benefits combined, was refuted by POGO that showed contractors in computer engineering and human resource management earn $120,000 to $130,000 more on an annual basis.

“The only ones benefiting from privatization are the private companies and the campaign coffers of the politicians who push for privatization. Study after study shows that privatization does not deliver the savings for taxpayers promised by its proponents. Public accountability is lost and contractors take advantage of the system to profit at the expense of the public,” added McEntee.

The full study can be viewed here:


“As public services are shifted to the private sector, we move from an open accountable system to a shadow government easily subject to manipulation. Instead of hiring friends, donors and lobbyists, the federal government should look to talented workers who are out of work, maybe then we could eliminate the waste, balance the budget and get our economy moving again,” concluded McEntee.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

What is Collective Bargaining?

A humorous look at collective bargaining (Video)

For years, not many people talked about collective bargaining. But that changed when Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Republican politicians in a dozen other states decided to eliminate the right to bargain collectively from public employees. Instantly, working people in all kinds of jobs as well as students, community supporters, faith leaders and others united to defend this basic right.

And why is it so important? Because the right to come together for a voice on the job is not only a fundamental right, it is essential for working men and women to have the strength to improve their living standards, provide for their families and build an American middle class. Collective bargaining enables working people who are union members to negotiate with their employers to determine their terms of employment, including pay, benefits, hours, leave, job health and safety policies, ways to balance work and family and more. Bottom line: It gives working people a voice at the table.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Ruling upholds labor decision against Monroe County

Repost from the D&C by Jill Terreri

Rochester, N.Y.--  Monroe County was on the losing side once again regarding its interaction with part-time workers, according to a decision issued by the state Appellate Division.

The county's survey of part-time workers asking if they wanted to still be represented by a union violates civil service law, according to the court, which released a decision this week.

The county had queried part-time workers represented by CSEA after learning there were vacancies in the bargaining unit's leadership. The survey asked one question, whether workers wanted to continue to be represented.

CSEA filed an improper practice charge with the Public Employment Relations Board, and an administrative law judge decided the county had interfered with employees' protected rights.

The county then brought its case to the full employment relations board, which affirmed the administrative law judge's decision, saying the survey was "inherently destructive of the rights of organization."

When the county lost with the board, it brought a suit against the board and CSEA to the state Appellate Division, which affirmed the lower decisions.

"What it means is that the county was found to have acted in bad faith and really overstepped the legal bounds of proper labor management relations," said CSEA lawyer Paul Bamberger. "In that sense, what we've been saying all along in that they had acted in a heavy-handed way with us and be more reasonable and work more cooperatively with us, that position has been vindicated."

The county had maintained, based on a contract with the union, that a secret ballot election could be held to determine whether employees wanted to continue to be represented if it first received evidence that 30 percent of the members questioned their represented status.

"The county felt that the ruling by the state agency was incorrect and denied us certain rights and benefits that we had negotiated with the union and that the union had agreed to," said county spokesman Noah Lebowitz.

"The bottom line is we think employees should have a right to choose whether they are a member of a union or not."

The employment relations board found the contract language did not give the county authority to actively solicit opinions regarding CSEA.

The county is considering whether to appeal the decision.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fight Back Against Attacks on Working People

From CSEA:

Middle-class, working Americans are under attack like never before. We're in the fight of our lives against the rich and powerful who want to take even more for themselves while leaving the rest of us to fight over the scraps. Some here in New York are using the budget problem as an opportunity to scapegoat public employees and blame us for a mess we did nothing to create. They are attacking our jobs, benefits and pensions and attempting to pit public and private sector workers against each other.

CSEA members need to know the facts and be able to fight back with the truth wherever misinformation is being spread.

Facts for you to use:

    • Despite claims that our pensions are overly generous, the average CSEA member's pension is $14,000 a year.
    • We believe all workers deserve a decent retirement and a decent pension is not an unrealistic benefit for all workers to expect, especially when big business is making record profits.
    • Public employees contribute 3 percent of salary to our pensions now.
    • Throughout the 1990s, the state and municipalities paid nothing into the retirement system as Wall Street booms. Minimum payments are now required due to system reform to ensure accountability.
    • New York's pension plan is currently the best-funded plan in the United States.
    • The NYS Comptroller's Office has taken important steps to make employer contributions to the plan more predictable and manageable.
    • No one should be scamming the pension system. The worst abusers are political hacks -- not rank-and-file workers.

  • Download a printer-friendly version of Pension Talking Points

  • 401(k) Plans
    • Defined contribution plans, such as 401(k) plans, are fine as a supplement to pensions but relying solely on a 401(k) plan would put people's retirement security at the mercy of the stock market.
    • The stock market volatility of recent years has decimated many 401(k) accounts and would have wreaked havoc with our retirement security.
    • Studies have proven 401(k) plans cost twice as much to administer as defined benefit plans with account and transaction fees.

  • Download a printer-friendly version of 401(k) Talking Points

  • Layoffs
    • Layoffs don't work. They mean high taxes and less service.
    • Layoffs mean management has failed.
    • A layoff is bad economics. It takes a paycheck out of the market and forces increased costs and demand for social services.
    • Unemployment goes up, fewer taxes come in, people have less money to spend and the economy suffers.
    • Every time you talk about a layoff you're not just talking about a person's job, you're talking about a person's family; you're talking about a person's life.

  • Download a printer-friendly version of Layoff Talking Points

  • Health Care Benefits
    • Most local government workers and all state employees in New York pay toward their health insurance and have deductibles and co-pays too.
    • Rising health care costs are a national problem that won't be solved by simply passing costs on to workers.
    • CSEA regularly works with employers to look for ways to lower health insurance costs. Our creative ideas to contain health insurance costs have saved taxpayers hundreds of millions.

  • Download a printer-friendly version of Health Care Benefits Talking Points

  • Triborough Amendment
    • Since public workers are prohibited from striking, Triborough levels the field in negotiations, preventing employers from unilaterally changing terms and conditions of employment if a contract has expired.
    • Triborough merely continues the terms of an expired contract while the parties negotiate a new one. It does not give workers raises.
    • Without Triborough employers could wait until a contract expires and then simply impose new terms.

  • Download a printer-friendly version of Triborough Amendment Talking Points

  • We're Not to Blame!
    • While New York's financial problems are very real, the fact is public service workers did not create them.
    • We're not the enemy! Nurses, snowplow operators and school lunch ladies are not responsible for our state's fiscal circumstances.
    • Many public service workers do the jobs no one else wants to do, working in prisons or facilities for the mentally disabled or out in extreme weather.
    • Many public service workers are shift workers who go to work when most people are going to sleep and many cannot make plans for the weekends because their days off might be Tuesdays and Thursdays.
    • While working Americans continue to struggle, Wall Street is recording record profits. Profits of $27.6 billion made 2010 Wall Street's most profitable year ever with the exception of 2009, when it benefited from bailout money and low interest rates.
    • Public and private sector workers shouldn't be fighting each other. We should be fighting TOGETHER against our common enemy -- those who condone tax cuts for millionaires while sending the rest of us into a race for the bottom.

  • Download a printer-friendly version of We're Not To Blame! Talking Points

  • Monday, June 13, 2011

    Governor on side of state's wealthy (GUEST)

    Published 12:56 a.m., Sunday, June 12, 2011 in the Albany Times Union

    The June 9 front page article, "Layoffs to begin July 15," left me perplexed and more than a little annoyed.

    Gov. Andrew Cuomo's threat to lay off 9,800 state employees should be called what it is: blackmail. He is trying to pressure the two largest state employee unions, CSEA and PEF, into accepting drastic financial givebacks.

    How will putting 9,800 people on the unemployment rolls reduce the state deficit? Add in the administrative costs of unemployment benefits and it may end up costing the state more money. Those 9,800 unemployed people will not only have reduced buying power, but will be paying far less in state income taxes. How's that going to solve the budget problem?

    Governor Cuomo doesn't want to make New Yorkers with the highest incomes pay their fair share in taxes. Continuing the "millionaires' tax" would do more to improve New York's fiscal health than laying off 9,800 human beings and disrupting the lives of another 30,000 with the "bumping" strategy. I'm far from a high earner, but I'd be willing to pay a little more in taxes if it would help reduce the deficit.

    The governor is resorting to the time-honored tactic of scapegoating public employees. He's hoping that the false premise that state workers are paid too much for doing too little will sway an uninformed public to his point of view. It may not work this time -- the public is better informed than he realizes.

    Governor Cuomo wears a facade of liberalism, yet he is no friend to working people. I believe he is attempting to weaken not only public-sector employees but also labor unions. This would have a detrimental effect on private sector workers as well.
    Weakening the middle class while giving the highest earners a tax break is nothing less than class warfare. It's obvious the governor is not on the side of middle-class workers. He's on the side of the rich.

    Daniel J. Kelly
    CSEA member
    Tax Local 690

    Read more: http://www.timesunion.com/opinion/article/Governor-on-side-of-state-s-wealthy-1420478.php#ixzz1P9RPxSp9

    Friday, May 27, 2011

    CSEA Unit 7400 : Contract Process Continues

    Well known Arbitrator Douglas J. Bantle has been appointed by the Public Employment Relations Board to be the Fact-finder in the negotiation between CSEA Unit 7400 and Monroe County. Currently the chief negotiators are working with Arbitrator Bantle to establish the dates for the actual fact-finding. Fact-finding is an intense process that will take a great deal of work from all involved. The Chief Union Negotiator Robert L. Leonard stated "I still hold out hope that the County and the Union can reach a fair agreement", Leonard added "regardless of fact-finding the County and the Union can meet at any time in an attempt to reach a fair agreement at any time". Keep your eye open for future "BLASTs" for the most current negotiation updates.

    “We are really working hard to have a perfect argument for the Fact-finding”, said CSEA Unit 7400 President Cris Zuffuto. She added, “We’re looking to have all bases covered and appreciate the help the membership has provided”.

    While fact-finding work continues, Unit 7400 leaders continue to urge members not only to attend the legislative meetings, but we want members to speak with regard to the services they provide and take the time prior to the start of the session to make yourself known and introduce yourself to your legislator, it’s important they know that you are not happy about the lack of progress on the contract and that you are willing to make your family, friends and neighbors aware of the problems in your area.

    We also are taking all avenues to make these issues visible to the community. If you have a facebook account, please remember to join the "CSEA Unit 7400 cause" page to show support of your negotiation team. Once you sign into your facebook account, simply enter "CSEA Unit 7400 cause" in the search box at the top of the facebook page and join "the cause".

    Important date to remember:

    Tuesday, June 14th, 5:45 - Monroe County Legislative Meeting, Monroe County Office Building

    Thursday, June 16th, 5:30 – Mobilization Taskforce Meeting, Rochester Satellite Office

    The CSEA Unit 7400 Leadership thanks all members for their continued involvement and will continue to keep all members up to date on the contract situation. Reminder: Get up to date info at the Unit 7400 Blog at http://unit7400.blogspot.com

    Friday, May 13, 2011

    CSEA Unit 7400 Members: We Cannot Remain Silent

    CSEA Region Director speaking at the Unit 7400
    Membership Meeting on 5/12/11
    On Thursday night, CSEA Unit 7400 members attended the bi-monthly General Membership meeting to get information on the current situation with contract negotiations. However, they not only got an update, they received info from a presentation describing the current issues facing the labor movement and the affect nationwide and statewide issues can and are having can be seen here in Monroe County as well.

    Region President Tripi and President
     discuss the mobilization.
    CSEA Region 6 Director, Roger Sherrie, gave a presentation about the current situation facing public unions across the country. The focus is how Corporate America took advantage of discouraged voters and by pouring millions of dollars into campaigns, elected anti-union governors and state Legislators in more than half of the states across the nation. Their agenda is not only to weaken public union worker influence, but to downgrade the working class and increase corporate incentives from government resources and strengthen the status-quo. The key to end public unions is to end the ability for collective bargaining and they are doing this in Wisconsin, Ohio, Michigan, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire and Maine. In New York, the attack is on the Triborough Amendment, which is the law that allows public employees to retain their benefits after a contract expires and continue under the rules of that contract until a new one is negotiated and ratified. Legislation that would end Triborough has been introduced and we need to do all we can to make sure this does not happen. Members need to confront every attack on public employees and have “courageous conversations with their relatives friends and neighbors to educate them on the truth behind these corporate attacks.

    CSEA LRS Robert Leonard gave an update of contract negotiations. We are in the Fact-finding process and working on a presentation of our proposals and statistical support to illustrate to the state appointed Fact-finder that the County has always had the economic ability to comply with our conservative proposal, but just lack the political will to do the right thing and creating a fair contract that benefits the workforce and does not burden the public.  

    Mobilization Specialist Michael Ottaviano calls
    for more member participation.

    CSEA Unit 7400 President Cris Zaffuto said, “I’ve told the legislators and the administration that it is time to stop playing politics, but it is also time for the entire membership to reach out to their legislators and the county executive to make their point known that they are not at all happy with the status quo, that a fair contract is needed now…no more games about it, we have to take action, we can’t afford to remain silent anymore”.

    All members are urged to attend the June 14th legislative meeting. Members should introduce themselves to their legislator prior to the beginning of the meeting. Members who wish to speak with regard to the work they do and how it affects the community should call before the meeting to sign-up at 585-753-1950. The County needs to know the “politics” need to end. The time for a fair contract is now.

    Important date to remember:

    Tuesday, June 14th, 5:45 - Monroe County Legislative Meeting, Monroe County Office Building

    Print of a copy of the "BLAST" for your co-workers: CLICK HERE

    Photos by Robert L. Leonard, LRS

    Wednesday, May 11, 2011

    CSEA Unit 7400 to Legislators: “A Fair Contract is Well Overdue"

    On Tuesday, May 10th, CSEA Unit 7400 member-activists filed into the Legislative chambers once again to show their persistence, frustration and disenchantment with the lack of any legislative input into creating positive negotiations between the appointed administration and the workforce. Many “first-time” members showed up this night to make the point to the legislators that they are tired of the rhetoric and want to get to the real business of negotiating a fair contract. Members of CSEA continue to call on the legislators to become involved with the negotiations process, force the administration to bargain in good faith and create a positive contract that benefits all involved parties.

    “I was glad to hear the County Executive give praise to all the department heads yesterday, however, it is well overdue that the workforce which runs this County get recognition in the form of a fair contract”, declared CSEA Unit 7400 President Cris Zaffuto. “It is time to stop playing politics and give the workforce the respect they deserve, as many of you [legislators] know the work we do makes you look good too”.

    Other members went to speak at the podium as well. Todd Wersinger, CSEA Probation Section President spoke to the legislature on the fact that the same amount of probation officers work the specialized duty of sex offender cases as did twenty years ago even though the case amounts have tripled since and new technology and more in depth processes have been implemented by probation. Wersinger said, “We work to keep this community safe for your mothers, sisters, daughters and sons and as disheartening as this work sometimes is, we’ll continue because everyone deserves to live in a safe community”.

    Camille Julian, Nutrition Assistant, spoke to the Legislators about the services she and her fellow members provide as well. She told the Legislature that CSEA has been good for Monroe County and the workforce doesn’t deserve to be shunned. “CSEA is not a four lettered word” stated Julian. “My co-workers and I do a great job for this County, I’ve received a lot of positive feedback from the community and I am proud of the work I do, proud to be a County worker and proud to be part of CSEA”.

    Lack of any positive agreement has caused the CSEA team to declare to go to the Factfinding and work towards that process is ongoing. However, CSEA Unit 7400 continues its pledge to meet with the County at any time if the County wants to fairly negotiate.

    Important date to remember:

    Tuesday, June 14th, 5:45 - Monroe County Legislative Meeting, Monroe County Office Building

    Sunday, May 1, 2011



    Rochester, N.Y.--  On Saturday, April 30, three dozen men and women from the Rochester area gathered at Monroe Community College for a workshop discussion titled, "Awesome Women:  Past, Present and Future."  The event was sponsored by the CSEA Monroe County Local 828 Women's Committee. 

    Presenters were left to right:  MCC President 
    Dr. Anne Kress,

     Monroe County Medical Examiner Dr. Caroline R. Dignan, 
    CSEA Local 828 Women's Committee Chair Angela Muscianese, 
    Senior Extension Associate Cornell ILR Linda Donahue and
    President of the Associate Board for Gilda's Club of  
    Rochester Erin Julian.
    photo:  Ove Overmyer 
    Speakers at the workshop included Dr. Anne Kress, Monroe Community College; Linda Donahue, Cornell ILR; Dr. Caroline Dignan, Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office; and Erin Julian, Gilda’s Club of Rochester.  All these women told very poignant and inspirational stories of the trials and tribulations they experienced while balancing a professional career, family and personal interests.

    Quotes and words worth remembering included but not limited to:

    Linda Donahue: Quoting labor icon and feminist Rose Schneiderman right after witnessing women throwing themselves out of the ninth floor windows of the burning NYC Asch Building during the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911 that killed 146 garment workers, "Life is so cheap and property is so sacred." 

    Dr. Anne Kress:  "Become part of something that is bigger than yourself.  In your personal journey, know when your opportunities exist and be prepared to ask yourself what do you want to give up? And, behind every great woman is herself."

    Camille Julian:  "I always told my children that the road you take in life will always be a journey forward."

    Dr. Anne Kress:  "College readiness begins before kindergarten."

    Linda Donahue: When referring to the enactment of early 20th century labor laws, "Laws are often used against us as well as for us."

    Dr. Caroline R. Dignan:  "I never considered the money when I decided to follow my dream to study forensic pathology."

    Erin Julian:  "Everyone can make a difference in your community-- all you have to do is volunteer."

    Workshop attendees listen intently to Monroe County Medical Examiner
    Dr. Caroline R. Dignan talk about balencing her career and family life.
    photo:  Ove Overmyer

    Friday, April 29, 2011

    What is Fact-Finding.......

    Monroe County Local 828 - Monroe County Employees Unit 7400

    The Community’s Workforce

    The Facts on Fact-finding:
    Fact-Finding: Discovery or determination  of  facts
    or accurate information. adj. Of, relating to, or used
    in the discovery or determination of facts:
    a fact-finding committee
    In the event that an agreement is not reached in Mediation, the process moves on to the Fact-finding stage. In Fact-finding, PERB appoints a neutral Fact-finder to meet with both parties. It is a somewhat more formal process, where both parties meet with the Fact-finder and then submit written briefs (similar to legal briefs) and research documentation supporting their positions and proposals. At the end of this stage, the Fact-finder will make a written recommendation that is given to both sides. This report is not binding and can be rejected by either side. The Fact-finder’s report is usually released publicly once both parties have had an opportunity to review it. This process can also take several months to complete. Currently, this is the stage we are in with the Monroe County Administration.

    If Fact-finding fails to produce a tentative agreement between the parties, the process moves on to the third and even more rarely-occurring stage of Legislative Imposition, where the governing body for the municipality would impose a one-year contract to cover the first year following the last contact that expired. If it gets to this stage, the Legislature can only impose a wage settlement, which nine times out of ten ends up being zero percent. Everything else remains as it was under our previous contract. By the time a contract stalemate gets to this point, we’re usually more than a year working under an expired contract, which means we’re right back at the negotiating table starting from scratch for subsequent contract years. Also, the legislative body does not have to impose a settlement. They can ignore this stage and continue on negotiating. It is their option.

    It’s important to note several key points about the Fact-finding process. First, at any stage during the process, we can still meet with management and talk with them, and even negotiate if we think there’s progress to be made. If, at any point, our Negotiating Team feels they have a legitimate offer to present, they’ll bring it back for your vote. The important thing to remember is that as a dues-paying CSEA member, YOU have the final say on whether the contract is approved or not.

    Another key point is that during this process, we do not expect our members to just sit idly by waiting for something to happen, and wait for information to slowly drip out. Our goals are to keep you involved in your contract negotiations process, and quickly informed of what’s going on throughout. To that end, CSEA has developed a proven mobilization process that includes increasing communications and putting together a strategy for member involvement that helps build public awareness and political pressure to reach our negotiating goals. As your chief negotiator, your CSEA Labor Relations Specialist (LRS), Robert Leonard, is working with your local union leadership and other union staff members on a strategic contract campaign mobilization committee.

    Also, you should know that once Fact-finding is declared, any ground rules previously agreed to with management about going to the press or publicizing what’s going on in negotiations are immediately invalid. We will utilize the media to get our message out, and there are no news “blackouts.”
    Always remember: There is power
    in CSEA Political Action
    Finally, you need to know that the declaration of Fact-finding and the process that follows should have NO impact upon your current terms and conditions of employment, until a new contract is agreed upon and ratified by both parties. Under the Triborough Amendment of the Taylor Law, all the provisions of your previous contract, with the exception of salary increases and any language tied to a “sunset” date, will continue unchanged. You are still protected and have binding legal rights under your expired contract, and you should make sure you let your union officers know if anyone tries to change working conditions because the contract has expired or Fact-finding has been declared.

    If you have any further questions about negotiations or getting involved with mobilization, please contact your Unit President: Cris Zaffuto or your CSEA Labor Relations Specialist: Robert Leonard.

    Wednesday, April 27, 2011

    Telling the Whole Story About Public Employee Pension Funds

    Posted By AFSCME  - In Labor Movement, Media, Pension Security, Public Service, Retirement Security, Workers' Rights

    CSEA/AFSCME is fighting back against a misleading report  released by The Pew Center on the States on public pensions entitled The Widening Gap. In a press release, President Gerald W. McEntee said that the report reflects “ancient history, distorts the true state of public pension funds and is of limited use for anyone hoping to make informed public policy.”

    While our opponents are certainly going to use the report as an excuse to portray the public pension system as “broken” and in need of “reform”, the facts don’t back that up.

    The Pew report provides a snapshot of public pensions from June 2009, near the very depth of the market during the recession. It simply does not accurately reflect the current state of public pensions.

    The real estate and stock market crash of 2008 and 2009 took its toll on all investors. However, while individual investors are still struggling to recover from these losses, pension funds are well on their way to recovery.

    Rather than rely on the stale numbers provided in the Pew report, we should instead examine the current state of public pensions in 2011. Just this month the National Conference on Public Employee Retirement Systems released much more relevant data in a member survey  assessing the health of public pensions. Here are some of the key findings from the survey:

    In the past year, public pension fund investments have produced an average return of 13.5% and now have a 20-year average annual return of 8.2%.

    Investment returns are the single most significant source of pension funding — comprising 66% of fund revenues.

    The vast majority of public pension plans are managed responsibly and currently maintain strong funding levels. Public pensions are, on average, 75.7% funded and, with market recovery, that number will continue to increase.

    Our opponents would also have you believe that our members are receiving lavish pensions at no cost. The reality is that CSEA/AFSCME members receive, on average, just $19,000 per year in pension benefits, while members’ contributions and investment returns pay 70%-80% of the total cost.