This Week in Albany

Week ending January 31, 2014

State Agency Overtime Report Released

Comptroller DiNapoli released his annual report on State overtime. State agencies accrued over 14.8 million hours of overtime in 2013, 354,000 hours more than in 2012. The Comptroller also found that since 2007, the annual number of employees working for the State, excluding SUNY and CUNY employees, has declined by 10.9%.

With State employees being forced to do everything they can to provide services with shrinking workforces, overtime costs have risen in each of the past four years. A closer look at the latest budget makes it apparent that the Cuomo Administration will continue to put forth policies that will strain workforces even further.

Budget Issue in Focus – The Estate Tax

The Executive Budget would raise the exclusion amount for the Estate Tax from $1 million to $5.25 million and lower the maximum rate from 16% to 10%. These changes would benefit only the wealthiest New Yorkers while taking away billions of dollars in state revenues that could be used to help our communities and the middle class.

Call your State Assembly member at 518-455-4100 and your State Senator at 518-455-2800 and tell them that our state cannot afford to continue to prioritize the interests of the rich over our communities.

President Obama Delivers State of the Union Address

President Obama, in his State of the Union address, highlighted the increasing gap between the rich and rest of us. The President called on Congress to raise the minimum wage for all workers and has since issued an executive order that will raise the minimum wage for employees of federal contractors to $10.10 an hour. In addition, the President called for action on immigration reform and expanded pre-k throughout the country, similar to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposal.

This Week in Albany

Week ending January 31, 2014

Headlines include:

  • State Agency Overtime Report Released
  • Budget Issue in Focus – The Estate Tax
  • President Obama Delivers State of the Union Address.

Continue reading…

Bowl-a-thon supports Special Olympics


Dutchess County Education Local leaders were the force behind the 2014 Beat the Bear Bowl-a-thon held in Poughkeepsie Jan. 25.

At least 63 bowlers turned out Jan. 25 for the 2014 CSEA Beat the Bear Bowl-a-thon, held this year at Mardi-Bob Lanes in Poughkeepsie to benefit Special Olympcis New York.

There were CSEA officers, activists, union retirees, CSEA staff, some great friends from Special Olympics, community members and a bunch of very excited kids participating. The proceeds from the event will be added to the overall total for the CSEA team at the 2014 Fishkill Polar Plunge, which is scheduled for Feb. 22.

Thanks to our leaders from CSEA Dutchess Education Local 867 for their hard work on this bowl-a-thon, as well as their continued commitment to Special Olympics.

February 2014 Work Force

Feb_14_WF_thumbRead the February 2014 Work Force
See previous Work Force editions


CSEA joins community rally to Save Our Services


Union members from across the state gathered Wednesday in the state Legislative Office Building in Albany for the Save Our Services rally.

CSEA members participated on Jan. 29 in the Save our Services rally in Albany, organized by the Public Employees Federation, with support from CSEA, New York State United Teachers, United University Professions, New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association and the AFL-CIO along with community groups and religious representatives from across the state. Numerous elected officials participated in the event as well. The purpose was to demonstrate that strong communities work.
See photos from the rally

Fifth anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

Today, CSEA is marking the fifth anniversary of an important law. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was the first bill President Barack Obama signed into law on Jan. 29, 2009.

Ledbetter had won a more than $3 million jury verdict in an equal pay lawsuit against her employer, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company. However, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against Ledbetter on a technicality, claiming she filed her case too late.

The law makes it easier — and fairer — for workers subjected to unlawful pay discrimination to pursue a claim by resetting the time limit to file a claim with each discriminatory paycheck.

Learn more about Lilly Ledbetter and the Fair Pay Act
Read about Obama’s signing of the Fair Pay Act

Speak Out to save community services in Broome County!

Outsourcing essential community services hurts everyone!

That’s the message a host of Southern Tier organizations, including CSEA, will be getting out to the public as we join together to speak out against outsourcing public services such as:

  • Public busing
  • Public nursing home care
  • Care for the developmentally disabled

Giving up public control of these services, and turning them over to private businesses, will not improve delivery to those who depend on these services.

The coalition of organizations is holding a “Speak Out” on Thursday, February 6 at 6pm at the American Legion Post 80, at 76 Main Street in Binghamton.

Please join us in solidarity and SPEAK OUT to send a strong message to our County Legislators and elected officials not to throw away vital community services!

Among the organizations sponsoring this event:

Amalgamated Transit Union, Local 1145
Broome-Tioga Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO
Citizen Action of New York
Civil Service Employees Association
Greater Binghamton Labor-Religion Coalition
Justice and Peace Resource Center
Strong Communities Work

Join Region 5 for Lobby Day 2014

Bus to AlbanyCSEA will join our AFSCME brothers and sisters on Tuesday, March 4th as we travel by bus to Albany to hear from our union and state legislative leadership and then spend time with our area State Legislators discussing our issues and concerns.

In our Region, buses will depart from:

  • Syracuse/Utica
  • Elmira/Johnson City/Oneonta
  • Watertown/Gouverneur/Canton

Transportation & food will be provided. Lobby appointments are pre-arranged.

To participate, click here to register with our online form or contact CSEA Region 5 Political Coordinator Rick Noreault at: (800) 559-7975. You may also print out and mail your completed registration form to: 6595 Kirkville Road, East Syracuse, NY 13057 or fax it to: (315) 433-0915.  Registration deadline is February 28, 2014.

Please note: if you use the online registration form, but do not get any confirmation message that your form was submitted, you might want to re-try or submit by fax/mail. We have had issues with the form not working with certain browsers or mobile platforms.

CSEA leaders, print out a poster to promote Lobby Day participation at your workplace

Here is our bus pickup schedule:

Route 1 – Watertown/Gouverneur/Canton

STOP 1:    Leaves Watertown (Lowe’s Parking Lot, 3 Arsenal St.) 5:30 AM
STOP 2:    Leaves Gouverneur (East Side School,  109 Gleason St.) 6:30 AM
STOP 3:    Leaves Canton (CSEA Office, 7 Commerce Lane) 7:00 AM
Arrives Albany (Empire State Plaza) by 11:00 AM
Leaves Empire State Plaza for Return Trip 3:30 PM

Route 2 – Elmira/Johnson City/Oneonta

STOP 1:    Leaves Elmira (Holiday Inn, 760 E. Water St.) 6:15 AM
STOP 2:    Leaves Johnson City (Oakdale Mall – Behind Sears) 7:30 AM
STOP 3:    Leaves Oneonta (South Side Mall in front of Bed, Bath & Beyond) 8:45 AM
Arrives Albany (Empire State Plaza) by 10:00 AM
Leaves Empire State Plaza for Return Trip 3:30 PM

Route 3 – Syracuse/Utica

STOP 1:    Leaves Syracuse (CSEA Local 414 Parking Lot, 1005 W. Fayette St.) 7:00 AM
STOP 2:    Leaves Utica ( Riverside Mall – In front of Lowes)  8:00 AM
Arrives Albany ( Empire State Plaza ) by 10:00 AM
Leaves Empire State Plaza for Return Trip 3:30 PM


Questions? Call Rick at (800) 559-7975.



This Week in Albany

Week ending January 24, 2014

Headlines include:

  • Executive Budget Proposal Released
  • Look Ahead

Continue reading…

This Week in Albany

Week ending January 24, 2014

Executive Budget Proposal Released

Governor Cuomo’s 2014-15 Executive Budget would generally benefit wealthy New Yorkers through new tax cuts. This is despite the fact that our communities are continuing to lose needed services and good middle-class jobs. At a time when nearly half of New Yorkers are at or near the poverty line, Governor Cuomo is urging a $2 billion tax relief proposal.

Instead of providing additional aid to local governments, the Executive Budget “incentivizes” local governments to consolidate and share services. The budget would provide a two-year property tax freeze for homeowners living in jurisdictions that abide by the two percent property tax cap in the first year, and agree to implement an efficiency plan for the second year.

In order for homeowners to get the tax credit in the second year, school districts and local governments must continue to stay within the cap and must consolidate or share services to create savings equal to one percent of the tax levy in 2016-17, two percent in 2017-18, and three percent in 2018-19.

Other recommendations include a property tax “Circuit Breaker” for households earning up to $200,000, a personal income tax credit for renters, a 20 percent real property tax credit for New York manufacturers, completely eliminating corporate income taxes for upstate manufacturers, increasing the Estate Tax threshold from $1 million to $5.25 million and lowering the top rate over four years, and lowering the corporate income tax rate.

CSEA members in local governments and school districts are already doing everything they can to provide services while dealing with a shrinking workforce. To make matters worse, election year tax breaks for wealthy individuals who don’t need them will come at the expense of school children, the elderly and other vulnerable people. Governor Cuomo intends to further exacerbate the problem by incentivizing school districts and local governments to consolidate and share services despite evidence that consolidation is not popular with taxpayers.

These reforms will take billions of dollars away from state revenues to mostly benefit the rich and corporations. In order to finance these tax cuts for the wealthy, the state will have to make over $7 billion in cuts over the next three years.

It must be questioned how targeted tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations paid for by unspecified future budget cuts will further erode the financial stability of communities and the middle class.
This budget is about ensuring the economic survival of our communities. The decisions made this year will either continue the loss of decent middle-class jobs that will decimate public services throughout the state or we can invest in jobs in our communities that pay decent wages and provide quality services that people need.

Over the coming two and a half months, CSEA will fight to make sure the budget places our communities as the top priority rather than the ultra-wealthy.

Look Ahead

Joint legislative budget hearings begin on Monday with the Local Government/General Government hearing. CSEA will testify at the Workforce Development hearing on February 11.