Erie County Unit approves new contract

Erie County Unit members ratified a new agreement after eight years of tough negotiations. The agreement still needs to be ratified by the Erie County Legislature to finalize it.

“After eight years of strenuous and at times tenuous negotiations … our members have successfully ratified a new tentative contract,” said CSEA Erie County Local and Unit President Denise Szymura. “This agreement represents an equitable compromise between the county and the union, and we hope that the County Legislature will consider holding a special session in order to provide their approval to the agreement as soon as possible.

CSEA-represented county employees have been working without a contract since the previous contract expired in 2006, and have therefore not received a wage increase in almost eight years

CSEA announces endorsement of NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli

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CSEA President Danny Donohue and State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli speak with local media about CSEA’s endorsement of DiNapoli for state comptroller as CSEA activists show support.

Donohue: “He’s done the job well and continues to work for the people of New York”

ALBANY — CSEA – New York’s leading union – has once again formally announced its endorsement of New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli. CSEA President Danny Donohue said the decision is based on continued confidence in DiNapoli’s demonstrated honesty and effectiveness as comptroller since 2007, coupled with his unblemished record as a public leader.

“Tom DiNapoli has done the job well and continues to work for the people of New York,” said Donohue. “The State Comptroller’s office works with complete professionalism providing fiscal guidance and oversight to local governments and state agencies alike. Under Tom’s leadership, the OSC has demonstrated resourcefulness, cooperation and integrity.”

“Every day, I work alongside members of CSEA, and it is an honor to receive their endorsement,” said Comptroller Tom DiNapoli. “I share many of the values for which this organization stands: integrity, hard work and accountability. Alongside President Danny Donohue and CSEA’s 300,000 members, I will continue our work protecting taxpayer dollars from waste, fraud and abuse, while ensuring that our pension fund remains one of the strongest in the nation.”

CSEA has long viewed the state comptroller with singular importance to CSEA members. As the sole trustee of the state pension system, the state comptroller’s judgment and decisions have enormous implications over the retirement security of more than 300,000 retired and active CSEA members. CSEA was instrumental in helping to establish the state retirement system in 1920.

“In a challenging time, Tom and his staff have produced outstanding results for the state pension fund, providing financial security for public workers – allowing them to continue to live and pay taxes in New York – along with strong benefit for taxpayers,” Donohue said. “He has done a difficult job fairly and responsibly for all concerned. We should all have complete confidence in Tom DiNapoli’s leadership going forward.”

Donohue said that another important factor in CSEA’s decision to back DiNapoli is the unwavering support for him from CSEA members who work in the Comptroller’s office.

“It continues to speaks volumes about Tom as an individual and a manager that the people who know him best are urging this endorsement,” Donohue said.

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July 30, 2014: 49th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid

President Lyndon B. Johnson, left, signs Medicare and Medicaid into law on July 30, 1965, as former U.S. President Harry S. Truman looks on.

President Lyndon B. Johnson, left, signs Medicare and Medicaid into law on July 30, 1965, as former U.S. President Harry S. Truman looks on.

Two of our nation’s greatest social programs, Medicare and Medicaid, were created when President Lyndon B. Johnson signed amendments to the Social Security Act on July 30, 1965.

Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that helps with medical costs for some people with limited income and resources. Medicaid also offers benefits not normally covered by Medicare, like nursing home care and personal care services.

Medicare was created to deal with the high medical costs that older citizens face relative to the rest of the population, especially troublesome given their reduced earning power.

CSEA members and retirees are strongly committed to fighting to preserve and improve Medicare and Medicaid.

Court grants crucial motion to CSEA, other unions in state retiree health insurance lawsuit

Editor’s Note: The lawsuit discussed in this article affects ONLY New York State Executive Branch and Unified Court System retirees who retired between 1983 and 2011.


U.S. Magistrate Judge Christian Hummel recently granted CSEA’s motion to amend its complaint to add Gov. Andrew Cuomo and others as individual defendants, in addition to their official capacity, in the ongoing federal lawsuit filed by CSEA and 10 other New York state unions claiming the state illegally raised health insurance costs for New York state Executive Branch and Unified Court System employees who retired between 1983 and 2011.

The state’s motion to dismiss Cuomo and others as individuals, based on a motion for judgment on the pleadings, was denied.

CSEA and the coalition of unions filed the federal lawsuit after the state and UCS raised retiree health insurance contributions without negotiating the increases with the unions.

Retirees have long contributed 10 percent of individual coverage and 25 percent of family coverage for their health insurance coverage in retirement based on the percentages included in the state contracts when they retired.

Since the lawsuit was filed, the state has engaged in a series of delaying tactics, including its unsuccessful move to dismiss Cuomo and other state officials from the lawsuit.

Litigation is continuing, and a trial is expected in 2015.

This Week in Albany

Week ending July 25, 2014

Headlines include:

  • Moreland Commission
  • Study Exposes Myth of Wealthy Leaving for Lower Taxes
  • Legislative Update
  • Register to Vote

Continue reading…


This Week in Albany

Week ending July 25, 2014

Moreland Commission

An extensive article in the New York Times this week revealed that Governor Cuomo was heavily involved in shaping investigations undertaken by the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption.

Among other things, the Governor’s office ordered the withdrawal of subpoenas that could have been damaging to the Governor. While the Governor has said that he was within his rights to control a commission that he formed, questions have been raised about the legality of stopping subpoenas issued by a panel whose members were deputized as assistant attorneys general.

Study Exposes Myth of Wealthy Leaving for Lower Taxes

A study by New York City’s Independent Budget Office found, contrary to popular claims otherwise, that wealthy New Yorkers are not moving away to lower-tax states. The study found that 86% of high-income households who moved out of the city moved to four states that were considered to be high-tax, including other areas in New York.

The argument that the wealthy will leave the state for lower taxes is often used in the debate over raising taxes on the high-income earners. This study shows that higher taxes are not a major factor in where the rich decide to live.

Legislative Update

Governor Cuomo signed 99 bills this week, including new legislation authorizing red-light traffic cameras in Albany, New Rochelle, and Mt. Vernon. Authorization for red light cameras in Rochester, New York City, and Long Island was extended for five years.

CSEA’s priority bills, including expanding eligibility for pension credit buy-back for veterans, 60 day notice for changes in child care subsidies, and an annual caseload report for CPS workers, have not yet been sent to the Governor.

Register to Vote

The deadline to register to vote in the September 9th Primary for state and local elections is August 15. Please visit the Legislative and Political Action Department page on CSEA’s website for registration materials and election information.

July 26, 1990: Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) enacted

disability-symbolsOn July 26, 1990 – 24 years ago on Saturday – the U.S. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted.

This landmark law gives civil rights protections to individuals with disabilities similar to those provided by the Civil Rights Act to individuals on the basis of race, sex, national origin, and religion. It guarantees equal opportunity for individuals with disabilities in employment, public accommodations, transportation, state and local government services, and telecommunications.

Disability is defined by the ADA as “…a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.”

CSEA is committed to fighting for workplace and social justice, including ensuring that employers comply with the law.

Celebrate Labor Day with CSEA!

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Central Region members and their families, led by Region President Colleen Wheaton, march in the 2013 Syracuse Labor Parade at the New York State Fair.

Here is a partial list of Labor Day events that CSEA will be participating in. This list will be updated as more information or additional events become available.

Long Island, Metropolitan and Southern regions:
Manhattan: New York City Labor Day Parade, Sept. 6.
FOR CSEA PARTICIPANTS: CSEA will meet at 11:30 a.m. SHARP on West 47th Street between 5th and 6th avenues. Estimated march time is 1:30 p.m. CSEA will provide lunch and refreshments, and each CSEA region will supply T-shirts to their members.
GENERAL: Parade starts at 10 a.m. at Fifth Avenue and 44th Street, and continues to Fifth Avenue and 64th Street.
Download a NYC Labor Day Parade flier
To learn more or to participate, call your region office:
Long Island: (631) 462-0030
Metropolitan: (212) 406-2156
Southern: (845) 831-1000

Manhattan: Labor Mass, Sept. 6, 8:30 a.m., Cathedral of Saint Patrick, 5th Avenue at 51st Street.

Central Region:
Syracuse: Greater Syracuse Labor Council’s Labor Day Parade at the New York State Fair, Sept. 1. Assemble at 10 a.m. between fair gates 4 and 5. March begins at 10:30 a.m. CSEA President Danny Donohue and Central Region President Colleen Wheaton will lead CSEA’s delegation. Free admission and parking to the State Fair (valid only on Sept. 1), are available on a first-come, first-served basis for members and their family members who sign up to join in our march, through your local and unit presidents (signup deadline is Aug. 20). Free CSEA t-shirts will be given out to the first 200 marchers. Call the Central Region office at (315) 433-0050 for more information.

Massena: Jefferson, Lewis & St. Lawrence Counties Central Trades and Labor Council’s Solidarity Day Parade and Picnic, Sept. 1. CSEA Executive Vice President Mary Sullivan will lead off our march. Parade lineup at 10 a.m. at Willow Street in Massena by Coaches Corner Restaurant. Parade begins at 11 a.m. and will end at Springs Park with the events, a free picnic lunch and drawings to follow. All CSEA members and their family members are invited to march. For more info, contact Amy Simmons at (315) 486-8123.

Ithaca: 31st Midstate Labor Council and the Tompkins County Workers Center’s Annual Labor Day Picnic, Sept. 1, Stewart Park (Large Pavilion). Event from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Join union families and elected leaders. Festivities include music, free burgers, hot dogs, veggie burgers, beverages, and ice cream, and the Friend/Goat of Labor Awards, Mother Jones and Joe Hill Awards. All are welcome! You can bring a dish to share, but it is not required. For further information, contact Bonnie Wilson at (607) 372-3153.

Western Region:
Rochester: Rochester Labor Council’s Labor Day Parade, Aug. 29. Parade begins at 5:30 p.m. More information will be released as it becomes available. Visit http://rochesterlabor.org/parade.html to learn more.

Buffalo: Labor Day Day Parade and Picnic, Sept. 1. Parade lineup at 11 a.m. near Abbott and Stevenson. Call the Erie County Local office at (716) 896-1640 to RSVP or for information.

Special Olympics founded this week in 1968

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CSEA Central Region activists, including Region President Colleen Wheaton, take part in a Polar Plunge event in late 2013.

Founded July 20, 1968, by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-style sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

CSEA has a strong relationship with Special Olympics, partly because of the involvement and participation of the many CSEA members who work with individuals with developmental disabilities every day. The union is proud to be able to help make these games a success each year. Over the past few years, CSEA members across the state have taken part in the Special Olympics’ Polar Plunges to help raise money for this important cause, and the union is committed to continuing to support the Special Olympics.
Learn more about the Special Olympics New York

Big League Fun for CSEA

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