The Governor’s Boondoggle continues

The Governor this week continued to put forward his boondoggle on the issue of health care.  Your CSEA team made it as clear as the day is long that his proposal in its current form on health insurance is a major problem.

The team fought to convince the state that our proposal, which we have previously put forward, is the best way to slow the growth of health care costs, save the health care plan money, and provide employees with quality affordable healthcare.  The state hasn’t gotten their head out of the sand on the issue of health care costs yet.

The team maintained the drumbeat to the Governor’s staff that this negotiation is not a concessionary negotiation.  Your team made it clear that the CSEA membership has given, and we have little interest in giving without getting enhancements for the membership.   

Part of this week’s negotiation was the Administrative Service Unit (ASU-Green Book) and Institutional Service Unit (ISU-Red Book) negotiation.  In both units the team argued for contractual enhancements while the state sought concessions that would negatively impact the members. 

The team also negotiated with the state on Article 11 (Worker’s Compensation) and Article 15 (Safety and Health).  We continue to attempt to address these two areas in terms of injury prevention and the state looks at these issues from the stand point of enforcement and benefit reductions. 

We highlighted areas that have implemented prevention programs and had management commitment that have led to lower worker’s compensation claims and safer work environment. 

The state at this point is only interested in prevention that is tied to more enforcement.  This issue will continue to be discussed in the course of negotiations.
  
The Team will be back negotiating with the Governor staff next week.
Thank you again for standing with us

This Week in Albany

Week ending May 27, 2016

Legislative Update

Legislation that would allow veterans to buy up to three years of pension credit for their service (A.9531 – Paulin / S.7160 – Larkin) has been delivered to the Governor, who has until Tuesday to either sign the bill into law or veto it. Governor Cuomo has vetoed this legislation each of the past two years.

A bill that would establish caseload standards for child protective services workers (S.2691 – Golden) passed the Senate this week. The bill, which has not yet been introduced in the Assembly, is strongly supported by CSEA.

CSEA was able to stop multiple bills this week that would have threatened worker benefits, including several bills that would repeal the Triborough Amendment to the Taylor Law. The bills were held in the Assembly Governmental Employees committee.

There are only 9 days remaining in the 2016 legislative session. Visit the Legislative & Political Action Department’s webpage for updates on legislation as they become available.

Memorial Day Weekend

While Memorial Day weekend signals the unofficial start of the summer season for many, it is important that we remember the significance of Memorial Day. CSEA recognizes the memory of those who sacrificed their lives in service of our country so that we may enjoy our freedoms.

Enjoy a safe and happy holiday weekend.

This Week in Albany

Week ending May 27, 2016

Headlines include:

  • Legislative Update
  • Memorial Day Weekend

Continue reading…


Solidarity With Farmworkers

Everyone deserves a fair wage and safe working conditions. Unfortunately, many farmworkers are still fighting for that. Please join your brothers and sisters in the labor movement by marching with them in support of the Farmwork Fair Practices Act.

 

SOS Farmworker March

 

CSEA holds Statewide Conference on Occupational Safety and Health

IMG_3189_edit

CSEA President Danny Donohue, left, and Central Region President Colleen Wheaton, right, congratulate Lewis County Local President Kip Turck on receiving the union’s William L. McGowan Occupational Safety and Health Award.

Hundreds of CSEA safety and health activists renewed the union’s commitment to safety and health this past weekend at our Statewide Conference on Occupational Safety & Health in Lake Placid. Among the conference highlights were a Workers’ Memorial Day ceremony to remember fallen workers, including six CSEA brothers who have passed away during the past two years; the presentation of the William L. McGowan Occupational Safety and Health Award to Lewis County Local President Kip Turck; a safety fair featuring demonstrations of the latest safety and health equipment; a poster contest and numerous workshops on many safety and health topics.
More about the conference
April Work Force: Remember the fallen on Workers’ Memorial Day
Read the Canary
Watch Memorial Video
View conference photos

Village of Brockport residents reject dissolution

Dan_Verace_John_Streb

Brockport village DPW employee Dan Verace (L) stands with Unit President John Streb after canvassing voters on May 21, 2016. Photos: B. Watts

Brockport– Voters in the Village of Brockport went to the polls May 24 to consider whether the village government should be dissolved.  It was the second time in six years a group of wealthy landlords pushed for the dissolution referendum. 817 people voted not to dissolve the village, while 623 people voted yes. 28 affidavit ballots will be verified at a later date. In 2010, the same proposal was rejected by a margin of 59 to 41 percent.

Pro-Brockport advocates expressed concerns over the loss of public services including a village police force, code enforcement and services provided by the department of public works. CSEA represents village employees who work for the Department of Public Works.

“I’m relieved, vindicated, I feel good,” said Mayor Margay Blackman after the vote. “We were optimistic, but we were concerned about how great the margin would be. We weren’t certain and it was a tough campaign.”

After the polls closed, Pro-Brockport supporters deeply exhaled as the dissolutionists tried to spin the loss to local media. John Streb, Unit President for the Village of Brockport DPW employees, thanked members of the community and CSEA staff for their campaign efforts to keep the village whole.

“Let’s hope were done with this dissolution talk for awhile,” said Streb. He added he and his colleagues can’t wait to get back to work and refocus on delivering the services his neighbors have come to know, love and respect.

bkpt

This billboard greeted southbound traffic on Rt. 19 Main Street in the Village of Brockport. Photo by Ove Overmyer, CSEA ©2016

 

Brockport Village Officials Plead Their Case: Vote NO May 24

zIMG_6896

May 19– Brockport village officials and Pro-Brockport members hold press conference concerning dissolution vote slated for May 24. Photo provided.

Brockport— On May 19, Brockport Police Chief Daniel Varrenti made his case for voting down the dissolution plan slated for a referendum vote next Tuesday, May 24. He was surrounded by village officials, Pro-Brockport supporters and CSEA members at the downtown police station on Clinton Street. CSEA represents the Village of Brockport Department of Public Works employees.

The police chief’s remarks largely focused on community safety in light of the compact, urban nature of the village, especially when The College at Brockport is in session. The area packs in as many as 16,000 people into the village’s 2.2 square-mile land mass. He said the state’s dissolution law is appropriately applied in much smaller communities, and more importantly– it was not designed for State University of New York host communities. He added the outdated original NYS law was never intended for larger municipalities like the Village of Brockport.

The police department is imperiled because if the village dissolves, the department would also, unless officials in the town of Sweden opt to create a town-wide police force and levy the needed taxes to pay for it. Town officials have not said they have any interest in doing so. Otherwise, police service to the village would be taken over by the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, which would patrol and respond to calls but would likely not offer the volume of foot patrols, parking enforcement and other close community policing provided currently by village services.

“It’s unconscionable to think that dissolving this village and all the essential services that are needed because of the college is a reasonable action to take,” said Varrenti. Greece Police Chief Patrick Phelan, president of the Western New York Associations of Chiefs of Police, Gates Police Chief James VanBrederode and Robert J. Kehoe, retired chief of the College at Brockport University Police, all provided letters noting the importance of Brockport retaining its own police force.

“If ever a village needed a police department, it is the village of Brockport,” Phelan wrote, noting the department answers 20,000 calls for service a year and make around 140 arrests. In addition to the 14-officer police department, other essential services at risk include the Department of Public Works and the village’s newly-vigorous code enforcement department.

At the press conference, village officials also detailed a laundry list of village services that would also be lost if the Department of Public Works, village court and code enforcement also went away.

Ove Overmyer, spokesperson for CSEA and a native Brockport resident said the stories we hear about government dissolution and paying less tax reflect a chronic disconnection from our role as citizens; they are devoid of any civic meaning.

Overmyer said, “The real meaning of taxes and local government pays for the things that underpin our public life and connect us to one another through our villages, our communities, our states and our country. The fact remains– no one can accurately predict what will happen if the village dissolves. However, one thing is certain. If the village dissolves, residents will be less safe and everyone’s quality of life will be compromised. Taxes might even go up when new districts are created. Every village dissolution process is different—and yields unintended consequences every time. To compare other jurisdictions that have dissolved to what might happen in Brockport is like comparing apples to oranges. We all need to be telling a new and meaningful story about the positive aspects of government and taxes that celebrate the concrete opportunity it offers we the people. Voters should vote no to dissolution on May 24.”

This is the second time the village’s voters have been asked to weigh in on dissolving village government. In 2010, residents overwhelmingly decided their village government and the public services they provide were worth the investment. The dissolution movement is primarily backed by a small group of wealthy landlords, who have been described by some residents as, “greedy, uncaring and uncivil.”

zvarenti

Brockport Village Police Chief Daniel Varrenti talks to media on May 19 about dissolution vote slated for May 24. Photo by Ove Overmyer, CSEA © 2016

This Week in Albany

Week ending May 20, 2016

Legislative Update

End of Session

There are only 12 days remaining in the 2016 legislative session.

Many major agenda items were addressed in the budget his year, but some of the outstanding issues that may be discussed over the next month include pension forfeiture for public officials convicted of a crime, extending Mayoral control of New York City Schools, and tax credits for housing developers.

While CSEA was able to accomplish a great deal in the budget, we will be advocating for a number of bills to benefit our members before the end of session. Please visit the Legislative & Political Action Department’s website for more information.

Pension Credit for Veterans

For the third consecutive year, both houses of the legislature have passed a bill that would remove existing limitations and allow public employees to purchase up to three years of pension credit for their military service.

Governor Cuomo has vetoed the legislation each of the past two years.

Elections

Amid a record low tax levy cap, nearly 99% of school district budgets were approved by voters this week. Thank you to everyone who voted to support our schools.

The last day to register to vote for the June 28th Congressional Primary Election is June 3. Download a voter registration form here.

Support Striking Workers

CSEA stands with our CWA and IBEW brothers and sisters striking against Verizon. As hard-working union members, we must stand together against the corporate greed that seeks to bring us all down.

Visit standuptoverizon.com to see what you can do to stand with our brothers and sisters and find an event near you for tomorrow’s Kids & Families Day of Action.

This Week in Albany

Week ending May 20, 2016

Headlines include:

  • Legislative Update
  • Elections
  • Support Striking Workers

Continue reading…


Get to the Ballgame with CSEA!

CSEA is a proud sponsor of Binghamton Mets baseball, and we’ve got some tickets to an upcoming home game to celebrate!

While they last, you can get free tickets to the CSEA Work Zone Awareness Night Game on Friday, May 27, 2016, to see the Mets take on the Trenton Thunder.