Thursday, March 31, 2011


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. died on April 4, 1968 while supporting Memphis public sector workers in their fight for collective bargaining rights.

Dr. King was organizing the Poor People's March on Washington, DC that spring. He understood that the surest way to fight poverty was to organize into unions.
Dr. King exemplified the critical connection between the struggle for social justice (the civil rights movement) and the struggle for economic justice (the trade union movement).

2011 – how little has changed. The fight continues. April has been designated a national day of protest in honor of Dr. King's example.


On the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Labor, Clergy, and Community Together

April 4, 2011 - 4:30 pm

Meet: Aenon Baptist Church, 175 Genesee Street - Parking Available

March: South on Genesee Street to

Speak Out: Wilson HS Commencement Academy Auditorium, 501 Genesee St.

Nurses, Probation Officers, Public Safety and all Public Employees are under attack....

Why we defend Triborough

- Courtesy of NYSUT

Public Employees' need to empathize the 
important role they play in our quality of life!
If you are a county employee, public school teacher or school-related professional, public university member or other public employee, you might have read that the Triborough Amendment has to be repealed because it gives you and your union too much power.

Don't believe it.

The truth is Triborough has leveled the bargaining playing field and stops public employers from slashing your salary and benefits — including crucial health care benefits — while your union is negotiating for a new contract.

New York's Constitution provides that human labor is not a commodity and that working people have the right to join unions and collectively bargain. For the public sector, bargaining rights are defined by the 1967 Taylor Law (Civil Service Law Article 14). It promotes an important public policy — ensuring uninterrupted public services through harmonious labor relations. This policy is best effected, according to the law, through collective bargaining.

The Taylor Law establishes a careful balance between labor and management. Unions are prohibited from striking, the traditional weapon of last resort used by labor to pressure management. Management, in turn, is prohibited from reducing or eliminating contract rights or benefits while the parties negotiate for a successor agreement.
Without this balance, employers would be able to delay or avoid bargaining in order to make unilateral changes to contracts.

History of Triborough

In its 1972 Triborough Bridge & Tunnel Authority decision, the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB) interpreted the Taylor Law to prohibit employers from changing terms and conditions of employment while a successor agreement was being negotiated. This principle became known as the Triborough Doctrine. 

The doctrine, however, did not protect all contract provisions, only those dealing with mandatory subjects of bargaining, such as salary and hours. Salary schedules and increments were excluded. Further, when a contract expired, public employers were free to alter contract provisions that dealt with permissive subjects of bargaining, such as retiree benefits, class size and staffing levels, among others.

Final and binding arbitration provisions (grievance procedures) will also lapse when the contract expired without the Triborough Amendment . This meant that once the contract expired, the union was still powerless to strike, but the employer could diminish or discontinue important contract benefits at will.

To address this imbalance, the legislature in 1982 enacted the Triborough Amendment, which had strong support from labor and management. The governor's office, in fact, issued a supporting memo, noting the amendment would guarantee that labor and management came to the table as equals.

The amendment expanded the Triborough Doctrine by making it an improper practice for an employer "to refuse to continue all the terms of an expired agreement until a new agreement is negotiated," unless the union violated the no-strike provision. This meant that all provisions of the contract, except those specifically intended by the parties to sunset on a certain date, would continue until a successor agreement was negotiated — unless, of course, the union engaged in a strike.

Impact of Triborough

  • Contrary to current claims, Triborough has not tipped the balance of negotiating power unfairly. In fact, during the last 29 years, it has been remarkably successful in preserving the labor-management balance of power and in deterring strikes.
  • Before Triborough, the number of public sector labor strikes in New York peaked at 28 annually. In the years following the amendment, no more than four strikes have taken place in any given year, and there have been many years with no strikes at all.
  • Further, Triborough ended the practice of overreaching by public employers who, without the amendment, could and would threaten unions and working women and men with loss of crucial contract benefits in order to get negotiating concessions.
  • Repeal of the Triborough Amendment would have a chilling effect on public sector labor relations. Public employers would regain the power to eliminate or diminish important contract provisions while negotiating a new contract. They would have an incentive to delay negotiations past the contract's expiration date so they could alter your contract unilaterally.
  • The ability of employers to utilize this unilateral power, which has not been permitted for almost 30 years, could have a devastating effect on New York's public sector labor relations and on your contract rights — rights that we have fought for.
CSEA will fight any attempts to repeal or weaken the Triborough Amendment!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Fact-finding on the Horizon as County Fails to Negotiate Fairly

On Tuesday, The CSEA Unit 7400 negotiating Team met with the County to renew contract talks with the idea that some hard work and compromise by both sides could create a fair agreement that could benefit all parties involved. Unfortunately, the County for their part only dictated a list of concessions that the workforce “had” to take and acted as if the union’s only reason to be at the meeting was to sign terms of surrender.

“I was disgusted”, stated CSEA Unit 7400 President Cris Zaffuto. “I came to the table with our collective ‘best foot forward’ to attaining a fair agreement with contract negotiations that have been dragged on too long. The County’s action on negotiations is a plain and simple grab to take away the benefits that the workforce and their families need and that’s just not going to happen”. Zaffuto added, “Facts will show that the County has the economic ability to create a fair contract and that only political unwillingness is their drive to demoralize the workforce.”

The CSEA team is now poised at going to the next process of negotiations which is Fact-Finding. In Factfinding, PERB appoints a neutral Factfinder(mediator) to meet with both parties. It is a somewhat more formal process, where both parties meet with the Factfinder and then submit written briefs (similar to legal briefs) and research documentation supporting their positions and proposals. At the end of this stage, the Factfinder will make a written recommendation that is given to both sides. This report is not binding and can be rejected by either side. The Factfinder’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.

The Unit 7400 Leadership urges members, now more than ever, to get involved with the situation, attending and speaking at upcoming legislative meetings to remind all county officials that the workforce will not be content until a contract agreement is reached.

Important dates to remember:

  • Tuesday, April 12th, 5:45 - Monroe County Legislative Meeting, Monroe County Office Building

  • Monday April 25th, 5:30 - Unit 7400 Contract Negotiations Mobilization Taskforce Meeting, Rochester Satellite Office

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.

Please join our cause: CLICK HERE

Download a copy of the Negotiation BLAST to hand out to your co-workers: Click Here! 

Monday, March 21, 2011

This Week in Albany Week Ending March 18, 2011

Crunch Time for the Budget – Your Action is Necessary

The state budget is reaching a critical point and time is of the essence.  It is critical that you contact Governor Cuomo and your state senator to tell them not to give a tax cut to millionaires.  If this tax cut goes through the state will be unable to restore critical funding for health care, education, human service programs, and other vital services.

Your action is necessary.  Call Governor Cuomo and your state senator today at 1 (877) 255-9417.  Ask them to protect jobs and vital public services by opposing a tax cut for millionaires.

Preliminary Budget Actions Begin

The State Senate and Assembly passed their one-house budget resolutions.  The Senate budget is $132.5 billion, slightly less than Cuomo's $132.9 billion plan. The Assembly's proposal totals $133 billion.  Both restored funding to health care programs, school districts, and other human service programs that were cut under Governor Cuomo’s proposal.

The Governor and legislative leaders held closed door meetings this week to discuss the budget.  Governor Cuomo said that he wants to include a local property tax cap and rent regulation in the final budget.  Neither chamber included either of these provisions in their one house budgets.

For further details on the one house budget proposals, please visit the CSEA website.

Judge Issues Stay in Wisconsin

A judge issued a temporary restraining order today against the law that would have stripped nearly all public employees in Wisconsin of collective bargaining rights.  The judge said the Senate violated a state open-meetings law while deliberating the legislation. (CLICK HERE)

Check out a great write up on THE NUTS AND BOLTS OF COLLECTIVE BARGAINING  Done by CSEA Local 828 Voice Reporter:  (CLICK HERE)

Monday, March 14, 2011

Statement of CSEA President Danny Donohue on Wisconsin's hateful union busting

ALBANY - "At a time when democracy is taking hold in some of the most surprising places around the world, American freedom has been diminished by hateful actions in Wisconsin. A state that once led the nation towards a better understanding of the value of labor-management dialogue has now seen its government take questionable action in the dark of night to snuff out good-faith negotiating.

Nurses, highway workers, school bus drivers and thousands of other good, decent working Americans have been further marginalized by this deceptive action.

Let this be a call to action to the American middle class not to take any of our rights for granted. Let us all stand strong and make our voices heard."


Danny Donohue is president of the 300,000 member CSEA – New York’s leading union –representing public and private sector workers doing every kind of job in every part of New York.

Add Your Name: I am Standing Up for Public Services and Workers' Rights (CLICK HERE)

Members Vigilance Leads to Positive Progress

Monroe County Employees Local 828

At every legislative meeting for the last five months, CSEA Monroe County Unit 7400 leaders and member-activists have attended and spoke out about issues with the County workforce and the lack of any positive movement towards contract negotiations.  This past Tuesday was no different, as members once again confronted the legislators and listened to fellow members speak out about the services provided to the community.

Among the members speaking Tuesday night was Barbara Gorski from the Early Intervention Program. She described the community value of the department and it’s programs as they exist to “...provide services to families who are mentally ill, developmentally delayed, very wealthy, or very poor; people who live in (modest) homes, and million dollar homes, those with PhD’s and those with no diploma”. She also added that the fifteen Service Coordinators in the department have over 180 years of combined experience in their field.

Due to the membership’s commitment to make the workforce situation more visible to the legislature and the public, the CSEA team and the County have made plans to continue negotiations. Tuesday, March 22 has been set as the date for the renewed negotiations with the goal that if both sides can agree to do some hard work and compromise, both sides can create a fair agreement that can benefit all. CSEA Unit President Cris Zaffutto said "we will sit down with the County anytime and anyplace to work for an agreement". She also made the point to all in the legislative chamber that as of that night, 796 days have past without a proper contract resolution “…and that is way too long”.

The CSEA team is looking at this move back to negotiations very positively, however, if this or any additional attempts at negotiations fail, either party could move to the Fact-finding step of the negotiating process. The CSEA team sincerely hopes a fair and proper agreement will be reached by both sides and there will be no need to go to the Fact-finding. As negotiations resume, the Unit 7400 Leadership still urges members to attend and speak at upcoming legislative meetings to remind all county officials that the workforce will not be content until a contract agreement is reached.

Important dates to remember:

Tuesday, March 15th, 5:30 - Unit 7400 Contract Negotiations Mobilization Taskforce Meeting, Rochester Satellite Office (Please RSVP by calling 328-5250)

Tuesday, April 12th, 5:45 - Monroe County Legislative Meeting, Monroe County Office Building

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.


The attack on workers' rights in Wisconsin is an affront to everyone who believes in the basic American values of fairness, democracy and rights for working people. But unlike Gov. Walker's schemes to tear people apart, we will pull our union and all working people together. Join the fight and stand with Wisconsin.TO HELP: CLICK HERE!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


The CSEA Unit 7400 Negotiation Team has requested to meet with the County in negotiations. A date for negotiations has now been set for March 22 from 1:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. CSEA initiated this meeting in the hopes that through hard work and compromise, the County and CSEA can reach a fair agreement that we can all be proud of. CSEA Unit President Cris Zaffutto said "we will sit down with the County anytime and anyplace to work for an agreement". As of today (3/9/2011), the hardworking employees of this county have been without a contract for 797 days.

"Since the County has taken a hard and consistent stance against retroactive pay for any bargaining unit in Monroe County, it is imperative that we keep working for a settlement" said CSEA Labor Relations Specialist Robert Leonard.

CSEA has worked hard to reach an agreement with the County and will continue those efforts. CSEA declared impasse in these negotiations and a mediator was appointed by the Public Employment Relations Board to work with the parties. If additional attempts at negotiations fail, the parties can make a request to PERB to go to Fact-finding. CSEA sincerely hopes that the parties can reach an agreement and it will not be necessary to go to the Fact-finding step in the negotiation process.

Please check back here frequently for negotiation updates. If there are any major developments in negotiations, informational meetings will be scheduled by your CSEA Unit Officers and Negotiation Team Members.


Monroe County Works Because We Do!!!!!!

Photo by: R. Leonard, LRS

Many CSEA Unit 7400 members attended last night's Monroe County Legislature Meeting. The Legislature Chamber visitor's gallery was crammed with CSEA members and others who were interested in issues facing our County. Several County employees spoke before the legislature to emphasize the importance County Employees play in the quality of life here in Monroe County.

CSEA Unit 7400 Members
Photo by R. Leonard, LRS

CSEA Unit President Cris Zaffutto reminded the Legislators, “We come here every month to remind you of the hard work that we do. We feel it is important for you to know that not only are we employees, but we are your neighbors, friends, and perhaps your family members, and taxpayers who make sure that the services Monroe County provides are done in the most professional manner day to day”.

Barbara Gorski from the Monroe County
Early Intervention Program
Photo by R.Leonard, LRS

Barbara Gorski from the Monroe County Early Intervention Program also addressed the legislators with a positive message about the importance of her department. Barbra reminded the legislators that the Early Intervention Program “..provide services to families who are mentally ill, developmentally delayed, very wealthy, or very poor; people who live in (modest) homes, and million dollar homes, those with PhD’s and those with no diploma”. The fifteen Service Coordinator’s from the Monroe County Early Intervention Program have over 180 years of combined experience in their field.

Photo by R.Leonard, LRS
Monroe County Employees put their hearts and souls into their jobs on behalf of their neighbors and fellow taxpayers every single day of the year. The Monroe County Administration and the Legislature efforts on behalf of Monroe County residents are to be commended. However, we ask them to always remember, “Monroe County works because we do”.

Members of the CSEA Monroe County Employees Unit join with other Unions Wednesday March 2, 2011 to show support for Wisconsin Unions and for Collective Bargaining Rights for all workers.
Photo by R.  Leonard, LRS


Sunday, March 6, 2011

5 Things Unions Have Done For All Americans

By AlterNet
Over the past few weeks, right-wing legislators have unleashed a torrent of radical legislation upon the American electorate designed to gut collective bargaining rights and attack the middle class. As these conservatives have launched their assault, a Main Street Movement consisting of ordinary Americans fed up with living in such an unequal country has fought back.
Conservatives have sought to malign this movement by claiming that it is simply defending the parochial interests of labor unions, who they claim are imposing huge costs on taxpayers with little benefit. Yet the truth is that America’s public and private unions have been one of the major forces in building a robust and vibrant middle class and have fought over the past century to improve the lives of all Americans in a variety of ways. ThinkProgress has assembled just five of the many things that Americans can thank the nation’s unions for giving us all:
1. Unions Gave Us The Weekend: Even the ultra-conservative Mises Institute notes that the relatively labor-free 1870, the average workweek for most Americans was 61 hours — almost double what most Americans work now. Yet in the late nineteenth century and the twentieth century, labor unions engaged in massive strikes in order to demand shorter workweeks so that Americans could be home with their loved ones instead of constantly toiling for their employers with no leisure time. By 1937, these labor actions created enough political momentum to pass the Fair Labor Standards Act, which helped create a federal framework for a shorter workweek that included room for leisure time.
2. Unions Gave Us Fair Wages And Relative Income Equality:As ThinkProgress reported earlier in the week, the relative decline of unions over the past 35 years has mirrored a decline in the middle class’s share of national income. It is also true that at the time when most Americans belonged to a union — a period of timebetween the 1940′s and 1950′s — income inequality in the U.S. wasat its lowest point in the history of the country.
3. Unions Helped End Child Labor: “Union organizing and child labor reform were often intertwined” in U.S. history, with organization’s like the “National Consumers’ League” and the National Child Labor Committee” working together in the early 20th century to ban child labor. The very first American Federation of Labor (AFL) national convention passed “a resolution calling on states to ban children under 14 from all gainful employment” in 1881, and soon after states across the country adopted similar recommendations, leading up to the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act which regulated child labor on the federal level for the first time.
4. Unions Won Widespread Employer-Based Health Coverage:“The rise of unions in the 1930′s and 1940′s led to the first great expansion of health care” for all Americans, as labor unions banded workers together to negotiate for health coverage plans from employers. In 1942, “the US set up a National War Labor Board. It had the power to set a cap on all wage increases. But it let employers circumvent the cap by offering “fringe benefits” – notably, health insurance.” By 1950, “half of all companies with fewer than 250 workers and two-thirds of all companies with more than 250 workers offered health insurance of one kind or another.”
5. Unions Spearheaded The Fight For The Family And Medical Leave Act: Labor unions like the AFL-CIO federation led the fight for this 1993 law, which “requires state agencies and private employers with more than 50 employees to provide up to 12 weeks of job-protected unpaid leave annually for workers to care for a newborn, newly adopted child, seriously ill family member or for the worker’s own illness.”
In 2007, Australia’s Manic Studios produced a short film titled, “What Have Unions Ever Done For Us?” which satirically portrays a handful of employers asking that question and realizing that unions have actually done a lot for the average person in their country. Although the film deals with Australia’s unions and not the United States, many of the rights mentioned by the mock executives — like workers’ compensation and expanded health care — are exactly the same. Watch it:

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Monroe County employees
 Rochester, New York – Large numbers of Monroe County employees joined with other unions today to stand in support of working families across the nation. CSEA Region Six Political Action Coordinator Courtney Brunelle spoke (among others) before more than 400 people rallied on the steps of Rochester City Hall and warned of a new assault on middle-class workers.

The rally was in support of public workers in Wisconsin at a time when the governor and lawmakers are trying to take away their bargaining rights. (READ MORE)

Courtney Brunelle, CSEA Region Six Political Action Coordinator

"Attacking firefighters, nurses, teachers and other public employees is divisive and unfair. But people all over the country are standing up and speaking out against these attacks, and Madison, Wisconsin has been flooded with tens of thousands of people who care about the work they do and the people they serve. In Wisconsin and in a lot of other states, it's time for bipartisanship and for the politicians for start working together to create jobs".

Photos by Robert L. Leonard, LRS

You can join this historical struggle for the middle class! Sign Our Petition: We Are Standing Up for Public Service! (CLICK HERE)

Help bring some of the "Spirit of Wisconsin" to Monroe County by attending the next County Legislature meeting in support of the Monroe County Workforce. CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS!


Monroe County Local 828, Unit 7400
Your County Workforce

*A T T E N T I O N*

Monroe County Legislative Meeting Notice

Join your fellow CSEA Workers in attending the Monroe County Legislative meeting to show your support for our contract fight!

Let the County Legislators know, CSEA means business and as dedicated workers, we DESERVE BETTER and want a FAIR CONTRACT NOW!

When: Tuesday, March 8th at 5:45 pm

Where: Monroe County Office Building Legislative Chambers

CSEA T-shirts for all members who attend to show:
“Monroe County Works Because We Do!”

See You There!