Erie County 911 Call Center Employees Ratify New Schedule Agreement

911Erie County— On October 6, CSEA members employed by Erie County Local 815 Central Police Services 911 call center voted to approve a pilot agreement to create a 12-hour work day schedule. A majority of personnel voted to approve what they consider to be an improvement to their work-life balance. There are 33 CSEA represented employees in the bargaining unit who were eligible to vote on this new agreement.

The deal between the county administration and the employee union will now implement a schedule of 12-hour shifts aimed at ensuring that no staff member works more than three days in a row, guaranteeing every other weekend off, and sharply reducing or eliminating forced overtime.

From the start of this year through midsummer, Erie County 911 call-takers reported high levels of staff turnover, high vacancy rates and scheduled vacation time resulted in a dangerous situation in which those being asked to respond to highly stressful crisis calls were forced to work full-time shifts seven or eight days in a row, with some employees working up to 16 hours a day. These employees answer all 911 calls from the City of Buffalo along with all those made from mobile phones throughout the county – more than half a million calls a year.

Denise Szymura, CSEA Erie County Local 815 President says making this operational change to work schedules will ultimately improve public services and perhaps save a life. She said, “When issues arise in the delivery of public services, especially public safety, it’s a comfort to know we have partners in local government who want the best for our community. This agreement ratified by the call center employees is a win-win scenario for the residents of Erie County.”

The schedule change will go into effect January 1, 2017 and be implemented on a six month trial basis. Although the county could put the schedule into place sooner, the union and the county has agreed to wait until the beginning of the 2017 to honor existing employee vacation requests through the holiday season.

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 CSEA is New York State’s leading union, representing employees of New York State and its counties, towns, villages, school districts, library systems, authorities and public corporations. Together with a growing population of private sector members and retirees, CSEA forms a union 300,000 strong. It is also the largest affiliate (and Local 1000) of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) which, in turn, is one of the largest affiliates of the AFL-CIO.

Help us advocate for at-risk children and CPS workers!

Across NYS, CSEA has been pushing for caseload limits for Child Protective Workers who have the daunting responsibility of overseeing the proper treatment and care of at-risk children. In some areas, these workers have more than 50 active cases per month, while, in one study, the State Office of Children and Family Services recommended capping caseloads at 12. CSEA pushed for the State Legislature to pass a reasonable compromise limit of 15 active cases per month and they did. We are now pushing for Governor Cuomo to sign the Child Protective Services Safety Act, and we need your help!

Statewide, CSEA represents about 1,500 CPS workers that this cap would impact. We are urging all our members working in Child Protective Services to write letters to the Governor (please send copies to us) to highlight the urgent need they see for this legislation.

Additionally, we urge all our members to call the Governor’s office at 877-255-9417 and urge him to sign the Child Protective Services Safety Act.

CPS caseload limit legislation – get the facts

Questions? Call CSEA Central Region Political Coordinator Rick Noreault at 800-559-7975.

We recently held a press conference in Binghamton with CPS workers in Broome County joining State Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, one of the bill’s prime sponsors, to urge the Governor to sign it into law.

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CPS workers in Broome County advocate for passage of the Child Protective Services Safety Act at CSEA’s recent press conference in Binghamton.

 

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State Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, left, speaks at the press conference, joined by CSEA Central Region Political Coordinator Rick Noreault and Broome County CPS workers standing behind them.

View coverage from our Binghamton press conference:

Federal Issues Update

AFSCME Legislative Weekly Report

Week ending September 30, 2016

Headlines include:

  • Congress Averts Shutdown, Funds Government Until Dec. 9; Includes Zika and Flood Aid
  • Don’t Take Away Overtime Pay
  • Paid Sick Leave for Employees of Federal Contractors
  • New EEOC Rule Promotes Equal Pay

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