This Week in Albany

Week ending May 26, 2017

CSEA Testifies at Child Care Hearing

This week, CSEA testified at a legislative hearing to examine the barriers to accessing quality child day care. CSEA’s testimony focused on expanding and protecting access to safe and affordable childcare for working families and investing in the childcare workforce.

Click here to read CSEA’s testimony.


Legislative Update

This week was an especially busy week in the State legislature, with multiple CSEA-supported bills moving in committee. CSEA issued support memos on the following legislation:


Pension Fund Grows

Comptroller DiNapoli announced that the New York State Common Retirement Fund posted an estimated 11.42% return on investments during fiscal year 2016-17. The total value of the fund grew from $178.6 billion at the end of 2016 to $192 billion at the end of 2017. New York continues to have one of the best funded pension systems in the country under the leadership of the Comptroller.

Special Elections

Democratic candidates won both legislative special elections this week. Brian Benjamin won the race in the 30th Senate District, replacing former Senator Bill Perkins, now a member of the New York City Council. In the State Assembly, Christine Pellegrino won the race for the 9th Assembly District, which was vacated when Assemblyman Joe Saladino was appointed Supervisor of the Town of Oyster Bay.


Trump Budget

President Trump released his 2018 budget proposal this week.

Over the next decade, the proposal would cut Medicaid spending by $800 billion, cut Social Security Disability Insurance by $72 billion, and slash the budgets of essentially every federal agency and department. Sixty-six programs would be eliminated entirely. To achieve the appearance of a balanced budget in ten years, the proposal depends on an extremely questionable assumption of $2 trillion in economic growth to be created by the President’s proposed tax cuts.

The President’s budget proposal would devastate many of the programs that CSEA members depend on in their professional and personal lives. Stay tuned for more information on the proposal as it becomes available.


At a Glance

State legislators will be in their home districts next week, and will return on June 5. There are 11 scheduled session days remaining in the 2017 legislative session.


Memorial Day

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 to our country so that we may enjoy our freedoms.

Enjoy a safe and happy holiday weekend.


Empire Plan to Cover 3D Mammograms

Effective February 20, 2017, the Empire Plan carriers, United HealthCare and Empire BlueCross, will cover services for 3D mammograms. Until recently, 3D mammogram tomography has been considered an unproven technology by many insurance plans, including the Empire Plan. Consistent with a recent Circular Letter by the NYS Department of Financial Services, the Empire Plan will cover in-network 3D mammogram services with no copayment and non-network 3D mammogram services will be covered, subject to deductible and coinsurance. Claims for 3D mammogram services rendered on or after February 20, 2017 which were previously processed and denied by Empire Blue Cross and/or United HealthCare will be readjusted as a covered service.

New discount for Bronx Zoo & other NYC sites

BronxZoo

CSEA members are now eligible to receive a 20 percent off discount on pre-paid tickets to the Bronx Zoo and its sister properties across New York City!

This discount is eligible only for pre-paid tickets purchased via CSEA’s online ordering site, linked below.

The Wildlife Conservation Society is offering CSEA members this discount to its five NYC-area properties:

  • Bronx Zoo
  • New York Aquarium
  • Central Park Zoo
  • Prospect Park Zoo
  • Queens Zoo

Click here and then enter code CSEA to access our online e-store.

Upcoming CSEA Retiree Local events

NOTE: If you would like to add an event, please contact csearetiree@cseainc.org or call CSEA Headquarters at 800-342-4146.


Local 902 Broome-Chenango-Delaware-Otsego Tuesday, July 25 at Brooks House of BBQ – The Roost, I-88, Exit 16, State Hwy 7, Oneonta. Buffet Luncheon. 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Cost is $12 members/$22 non-members; Wednesday, Sept. 6 at Fred’s Inn, 5149 State Hwy 12, Norwich, Buffet Luncheon. 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Cost is $15 members/$25 non-members; Tuesday, Oct. 10 at Relief Pitcher, 195-197 Conklin Ave., Binghamton. Buffet Luncheon. 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Cost is $10 members/$20 non-members.

Local 903 Buffalo-Niagara Aug. 3: Membership meeting/Picnic, Fontana’s Grove; Nov. 11: CSEA Western Region Veterans Day Ceremony, Buffalo Naval Park, 11 a.m. More information TBA.

Local 907 Steuben, Allegany and Yates Oct. 25 at the Lakeside Restaurant, 13780A West Lake Road, Hammondsport (Route 54A, approximately halfway between Branchport and Hammondsport).

Local 909 Duchess-Putnam Sept. 21 at the CSEA Southern Region office, Rt. 52, Beacon; Oct. 19 at the CSEA Southern Region office, Rt. 52, Beacon (sign up and pay for holiday luncheon); Nov. 16 Holiday Luncheon at the CSEA Southern Region office (sign up and pay for Christmas Party); Dec. 14 Christmas Party at the Italian Center, 227 Mill St. , Poughkeepsie. All meetings and events start at noon. A light lunch will be served at the CSEA Southern Region office at all meetings.

Local 910 New York Sept. 19 and Nov. 21 General Membership Meeting at 1 p.m. at the CSEA Metropolitan Region Office, 125 Maiden Lane, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10038.

Local 913 Syracuse Area Oct. 10 at 12:30 p.m., Lasca’s Restaurant, 252 Grant Ave. Auburn. Members: $10; Non-Members: $16.

Local 915 Jefferson-Lewis Sept. 20 at noon at the The Ramada Inn, 21000 NYS Route 3, Watertown. Lunch will be served. Please RSVP to Local President Fred Gerloff by Sept. 13 at 315-222-6199 or fgerloff@twcny.rr.com.

Local 917 Orange-Ulster-Sullivan Aug. 8, Sept. 12, Nov. 14 and Dec. 12 at 12:30 p.m., Orange County Local 836 office, Middletown. A light lunch will be served. Oct. 10 Annual Luncheon, Kuhl’s Highland House, Middletown.

Local 918 Rockland Sept. 13 at noon, picnic lunch, Haverstraw Elks Lodge, 62 First Street (Elks Drive), Haverstraw; Dec. 13 at noon, luncheon, Lynch’s, Route 9W, Stony Point.

Local 919 Nassau Sept. 19, Oct. 17, Nov. 21 and Dec. 5 (Holiday Meeting and Party) at Levittown Hall, Levittown Parkway and Beech Lane, Hicksville, 11:30 a.m. refreshments, noon meeting.

Local 920 Suffolk Sept. 13, Oct. 11 and Nov. 8 at 1 p.m. (lunch will be served). All meetings will be held at the CSEA Long Island Region office in Commack.

Local 921 Westchester Oct. 19 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Coffee hour meeting at the Greenburgh Public Library, 300 Tarrytown Road, Greenburgh.

Local 924 Schenectady Oct. 6 at 10:30 a.m. at the Rotterdam Senior Citizens Center, 2639 Hamburg Street, Rotterdam NY, 12306. Dec. 1, Christmas Party at Mallozzi’s, Curry Road.

Local 925 July 25, Clam Bake, Johnstown Moose Family Center, 109 S. Comrie Ave., Johnstown; Aug. 22 at Lanzis on the Lake, Rt. 30, Mayfield, Sept. 26 at Hales Mills Golf Course, Rt. 29, Gloversville; Oct. 24 at Harold’s, 176 West Fulton St., Gloversville; Nov. 28 at Holiday Inn, Rt. 30, Johnstown and Dec. 18 Holiday Party at Winner’s Circle, State Highway 5, Fonda. All meetings start at noon. RSVP to Local President Grace Bevington-Eglin or another member listed on your meeting schedule.

Local 999 Capital District Dec. 7 Holiday Meeting Luncheon at the Shaker Ridge Country Club. More information TBA.

This Week in Albany

Legislative Update

Several of CSEA’s end of session priority bills have begun to move through the legislature, including the following bills that moved in committee this week:

  • S.2728 – Griffo: Increases penalties for assaulting an OCFS employee in a limited or secure facility.
  • S.2949 – Ritchie: Requires DOCCS to create a report on the staffing levels of both the uniformed and non-uniformed staff at DOCCS facilities.
  • S.3027 – Ranzenhofer: Prohibits sex offenders at OMH/OPWDD group homes.
  • S.4630 – Gallivan: Prohibits the collocation of the Western NY Psychiatric Center at another facility.
  • S.5681 – Ortt / A.7399A – Gunther: Codifies CSEA’s OPWDD care pilots in law.
  • A.2229 – Gunther: Requires a notice of closure to expire after one year and one month within OMH.

Additionally, the Assembly passed legislation that would give the Office of the State Comptroller authority to audit local development corporations (LDCs). Increasingly, LDCs are being used to finance the day-to-day operations of local governments. This legislation would provide critical oversight of the use of taxpayer money.

Visit the Legislative & Political Action Department’s website for more information on the legislation CSEA is supporting or opposing during the final weeks of the 2017 legislative session.

 

Comptroller Audit: Economic Development Reporting is Lacking

An audit released by Comptroller DiNapoli this week showed that the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC) has failed to meet reporting requirements for its economic development programs.

ESDC’s audited financial statements show that it spent almost $2 billion on economic development grants and hundreds of millions of dollars in loans, tax credits, and other incentives between April 2012 and September 2016. But according to the Comptroller’s audit report, ESDC failed to complete more than half of the performance and outcome reports it was required to produce during those years.

The Comptroller’s report highlights the lack of public accountability in State tax credits and other job-creation programs. CSEA will continue to advocate for more transparency and oversight of economic development programs.

 

School District Budget Votes

Voters approved roughly 99% of school district budgets this week. With a tax cap of 1.26% for the 2017-18 fiscal year, 12 districts sought to override the cap. Three of those budgets failed to pass.

Thank you to all who supported our schools.

 

At a Glance

The legislature will be in Albany for three days next week before heading back to their home districts for a week. The legislature will then return on June 5 for the final weeks of session.


State Office Assistant/Stores & Mail Operations/Payroll Examiner Test Prep class planned

Education

Education

The CSEA WORK Institute has planned another test prep class for workers taking the upcoming NYS civil service exams for Office Assistant 3 titles, Stores & Mail Operations Supervisor, and Payroll Examiner titles.

Click here to download the flyer, which has more details on the class and contact information for enrollment. Please sign up ASAP, as classes fill up quickly.

We encourage you to print and post the flyer on your union bulletin boards, as well.

Space remains in Steward Workshop for May 23 & 24

Looking to step up in our union? One way to learn more about CSEA and work toward becoming a certified shop steward is by attending our Steward Workshop, scheduled for May 23 and 24 at the Southern Region Office in Beacon.

Space remains in this training, so please sign up ASAP. Whether you’re new to union activism or a seasoned leader, there’s good material for everyone in this training!

Click here to download a flyer with more information.

This Week in Albany

Week ending May 12, 2017

Legislative Update

The recently enacted 2017-18 State budget removed important reporting requirements for the START-UP NY program. This week, CSEA issued a memorandum in support of legislation (A.7427 – Schimminger / S.5985 – Boyle) that would reinstitute and expand those reporting requirements. CSEA has opposed the START-UP NY program since its inception, and New Yorkers should know whether their taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely.

Legislation that would give the Office of the State Comptroller oversight over local development corporations (LDCs) has made it to the floor of both houses. CSEA strongly supports this legislation (A.3047 – Magnarelli / S.4827 – Marchione), which will hold LDCs responsible to the taxpayers that fund their operations.

Legislation that would establish caseload standards for child protective services workers made it to the floor of the Assembly this week. This legislation (A.4049 – Lupardo / S.3146 – Golden), strongly supported by CSEA, has already passed the Senate.

 

Chair of Assembly Ways & Means Committee Won’t Run in 2018

Assemblyman Herman “Denny” Farrell (D-Manhattan), announced this week that he will not seek re-election in 2018. Farrell, who has served in the legislature for 42 years, chairs the Assembly’s powerful Ways and Means Committee. The Chairman has not indicated whether or not he will serve out the remainder of his term before stepping down.

 

Constitutional Convention Fact

The rights to join a union and collectively bargain are guaranteed in the state constitution. A state constitutional convention controlled by corporations and their lobbyists could eliminate this guarantee.

 

At a Glance

The state legislature will be in session for three days next week. There are 17 days remaining in the 2017 legislative session.

Test prep classes in the works for upcoming state exams

The CSEA WORK Institute is planning a number of test prep classes across the state to prepare CSEA members for upcoming state promotional exams. Click here to download a flyer with more information.

The NYS Department of Civil Service has announced that promotional exams will be held July 15, 2017 for the following titles:

  • Office Assistant 3 (G-14)
  • Office Assistant 3 (Calculations) (G-14)
  • Office Assistant 3 (Human Resources) (G-14)
  • Stores & Mail Operations Supervisor (G-12)
  • Payroll Examiner 1 (G-12)
  • Payroll Examiner 2 (G-15)

Qualifying titles for these upcoming exams can be found by clicking here.

Southern Region One Day Conference draws new activists

Our Southern Region Education and Programs Committee members.

Our Southern Region Education and Programs Committee members.

Over 100 CSEA activists gathered Saturday, May 6, 2017 for the Southern Region One Day Conference, held this year at the Hyatt House in Fishkill.

The conference was open to CSEA members from across the Hudson Valley and Westchester. Workshops included: active shooter training, responsible social media usage, an update on the Justice Center, and an info session from the New York State and Local Retirement System. The day concluded with a plenary session featuring Southern Region President Billy Riccaldo and CSEA Legislative Director Joshua Terry, who discussed the current challenges we are facing on both the state and national levels.

Riccaldo welcomed all the first-time conference attendees, and extended thanks to the Southern Region Education and Programs Committee and CSEA staff for their help in planning the event. He said he hopes to increase the number of shorter trainings, allowing for greater accessibility for rank-and-file members.

A photo album from the event can be viewed on the Southern Region Facebook page.