Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Public Sector Overtime Costs Caused by Chronic Short Staffing

Mainstream news media like to sensationalize overtime use in public sector employment.  The media broadcasts that statewide nearly 300 state employees” made over $50,000 in overtime last year.  The media presents this like the public sector employees who worked the overtime are getting away with something. What the media conveniently forgets is that much of that overtime money is due in large part to draconian cuts in the number of public sector workers. The big users of overtime in the Monroe County area are the Rochester Psychiatric Center and the Finger Lakes DDSO. Both these state facilities provide quality care for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled folks in our community. With the state and local government cutting back on employees, the work still needs to be done and these folks need support and care on their road to independence (short staff or not).

What the news media does not share is much of the overtime is “mandatory” overtime.  While some overtime is welcome, the amount of mandation is chilling. The only reason public employees are mandated to work overtime, is due to short staffing. Most of these employees would prefer to be home with their families after putting in 40 hours per week of tough grueling work.

Monday, February 25, 2013

CSEA News you can use!!!!

Unit 7400 Negotiation Update

that Negotiation Surveys have gone out. Please return them as soon as possible so they can be reviewed by you Union Negotiation Team. For additional information on negotiations, read the last BLAST by CLICKING HERE!!  If you did not receive your Unit 7400 Survey, please call the Union Office @ (585) 326-5250.

The Unit 7400/Local 828 Office is Moving

The new Office will be open by March 11, 2013. The phone number will remain unchanged. The NEW address will be: CSEA Unit 7400/Local 828 OFFICE, 1354 Buffalo Road - Suite 6, Rochester, NY 14624. For a map CLICK HERE!

State Budget News

Governor Cuomo released 30 Day Amendments to the Executive Budget and announced that developmental disability services will suffer from the loss of $500 million in federal revenue. $120 million in cuts will be made to OPWDD by a six percent reduction to rates for not-for-profit providers, and another $380 million in cuts will come from other adjustments in Medicaid.

Also included in the amendments was an expansion of the misguided pension smoothing plan to include BOCES, Nassau University Medical Center, Westchester Medical Center, and Erie County Medical Center.

Canal Cuts Bad For Boaters, Business in NY

CSEA has joined with a statewide coalition of businesses, individuals and boaters who are opposed to the layoff of more than 40 Canal Corporation workers who operate the locks across the Barge Canal system. The coalition has started a grass-roots online petition to make their opposition to the cuts known to the Governor. Please sign the petition at:  http://www.change.org/petitions/stopnycanalcuts 

Comptroller DiNapoli Praised in Independent Review

An independent review of the state’s pension fund conducted by Funston Advisory Services found that Comptroller DiNapoli has been able to “restore integrity to the Office of the State Comptroller.”

The Comptroller said that the review was “a validation that we are on the right path and should reassure the people of New York the Fund is being managed properly and ethically.”

Sequestration Looms

Over $1 trillion in automatic federal spending cuts will begin to take effect on March 1st if the President and Congress can’t come to an agreement to stop them. According to the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Budget, sequestration will result in the loss of 750,000 jobs this year alone.

The White House says that these across the board cuts to domestic spending could result in up to 373,000 seriously mentally ill individuals going without treatment, could slow the processing of disability claims and disbursements, and could put more than 30,000 teacher and staff jobs at risk. With 35% of New York’s budget coming from Federal funds, these cuts put all of us at risk.

Call your Congressional Representative today at 888-659-9401 to tell them to work with the President to stop these devastating cuts.

At a Glance

CSEA will express its deep concerns with the Governor’s proposed budget at a joint legislative budget hearing on Wednesday in Albany.

Don’t forget to mark your calendar for the annual CSEA/AFSCME lobby day on March 5, 2013 from 11AM – 3:30 PM at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center. Call your region coordinator to sign up:

Western Region 6: Chris Rackl - 716-691-6555

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Negotiations to Start Soon

Print a Copy of the current Contract Info BLAST and distribute to your co-workers: CLICK HERE

CSEA Unit 7400 is gearing up for the negotiations process for the county contract. Current plans are tentatively poised for the Unit Negotiating Team to meet with the County Administration sometime shortly after the 1st of April.

The Unit Team is looking forward to getting to the table and working on proposals that will properly compensate and benefit the membership and not burden the taxpayers of the County. However, due to the length of the last contract negotiations process, past issues with the County Administration, the current state of economy and more importantly, to get the best contract possible, work on your upcoming negotiations has already begun.

The team has been assembled and has already held a preliminary meeting with your Labor Relations Specialist (LRS) and lead negotiator, Robert Leonard to go over the groundwork and research that needs to be done before the first meeting with the County at the table.

In the next few days, you will receive a survey for proposals that you may want to see in the contract as well as other information regarding negotiations. Please fill out the survey and return it as soon as possible so that the team can move forward. Remember, this is your contract and your involvement will be crucial to getting the fair contract we all deserve.

The negotiating team members are: Unit President Cris Zaffuto, Holly Gudonis – Sheriff’s Office/MCH, Anthony Cleggett - DHS, Jim D’Amico - DES, Sue Newman – DMV/County Clerk, Angela Muscianese - Health Department, Angelo Costanzo  - Parks/Airport, Joanne Guarnere – Probation, Caril Powell-Price - Probation.

If you have any issues, questions or concerns dealing with the upcoming contract negotiations, please feel free to contact any member of the Negotiation Team or call the Union Office at (585) 328-5250.

After the first meeting with the County, the Unit will be holding a General Membership meeting to update everyone with the contract negotiations information, and field any questions or comments.

As always, CSEA will also inform the membership of negotiations via the “Contract Blast”. CSEA Unit 7400 President Cris Zaffuto said, “We are starting with a fresh step towards negotiations with the County, we know times are not the best, but as I have said before, if the County is willing to work with us then we’ll get an agreement that benefits us all.”  

For frequent Negotiation Updates, Check the Unit 7400 Blog at: http://unit7400.blogspot.com/

Print a Copy of the current Contract Info BLAST and distribute to your co-workers: CLICK HERE

To register for Negotiation Updates to be sent to your (HOME) e-mail account: 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


2013 Executive Budget Proposal

CSEA Memorandum on PENSIONS

In 2009 public employee pension benefits were reduced by the creation of Tier 5.  At that time the public was told taxpayers would save over $35 billion.  In 2011, public employee benefits were again reduced and taxpayers were again told they would save over $80 billion.    CSEA vigorously opposed the creation of Tier 6 citing the lack of need as it would further punish public employees and would not result in any immediate savings. 

New York State has been providing stable reliable pensions for millions of employees at all levels of government.  Over those years, both elected leaders and CSEA protected the pension fund from raids and ill-advised schemes that would threaten the integrity of the fund and its ability to provide benefits.  This diligence has protected New Yorkers and resulted in having the nation’s best funded pension system.

Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has continually stated that New York’s system is strong, sustainable and remains a rock–solid source of security to one million working and retired members. The Pew Center issued a report two years in a row calling New York one of the best managed pension funds in the country and Governing magazine cited New York as the national pension leader.

Instead of addressing the fact that the 2% tax cap mandated on local governments and school districts was a flawed policy that only yielded political points via the headlines, the executive budget proposes a plan that would allow municipalities and school districts to pay a lower “fixed” rate for pension obligations.  This is nothing more than an old school bait and switch.  Allowing this type of scheme would jeopardize the integrity of the most secure pension fund in the nation and result in a severe underfunding of pension obligations as happened in Rhode Island, New Jersey, and other states.  
Just as Wall Street greed and fraud caused the collapse of the stock market and need for higher employer contributions we can’t allow that same greed to enter the political debate and open the door to a raid on the pension fund.   

As our economy recovers, employer contributions will normalize and we will see lower contribution rates.  Helping municipalities and school districts reduce costs should not come from dedicated pension funds. 


Friday, February 1, 2013

CSEA Fights Layoffs!!

Monroe County CSEA has worked with the County to limit the layoffs in the Monroe County workforce this year.  Vacant positions continue to remain unfilled which only hampers the work force's ability to serve the public. However, living without the fear of potential layoffs is critically important to all workers.

Statement of CSEA President Danny Donohue on threatened layoffs of CSEA-represented Thruway Authority and Canal Corporation employees
"Governor Andrew Cuomo needs to understand that threatening layoffs, putting dedicated workers out on the street and undermining the state Thruway and Canal operations is a lousy way to promote a jobs agenda.
The governor should stop blaming workers for every situation and knock off the strong-arm tactics. He needs to keep people working if he wants any credibility on economic development."