In order to view all the content on this page, we need to verify your membership in CSEA. Please provide us with your CSEA ID below.

If you are not sure what your CSEA ID is, please click here.

CSEA ID:


This Week in Albany

Week Ending June 30, 2017

End of Session, Part Two

The Governor and legislature did not waste much time in returning to Albany to finish outstanding business. Only a week after the regularly scheduled session ended, Governor Cuomo issued a proclamation calling the legislature back to Albany for an extraordinary session to find an agreement on extending mayoral control of New York City schools and extending taxing authority for municipalities.

The agreement that was passed by both houses included a two year extender of mayoral control, three year extensions of municipal sales and other taxes, funds to help upstate communities deal with flooding and to assist the struggling Vernon Downs racetrack/casino, and a renaming of the new Tappan Zee Bridge for former Governor Mario Cuomo.

With these issues taken care of, there is no expectation that the legislature will return to Albany before next January unless called to do so to respond to federal spending cuts.

 

Health Care Vote Delayed in Senate

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that the Senate would not take a vote on their health care reform legislation this week. He had previously wanted a vote prior to the July 4 recess.

The vote was scrapped after at least nine Republican Senators stated that they would not vote for the legislation in its current form. With a united Democratic opposition, only two Republican Senators can vote against this legislation and have it pass.

The opposition to this legislation stems from the recent Congressional Budget Office’s analysis that over 20 million Americans would lose their insurance due to this legislation. In addition, several Republican Senators are opposing this legislation because their state has expanded the Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act, which would be severely curtailed under this legislation.

As discussed last week, this legislation would cost New York State and its local governments billions of dollars annually and would lead to reductions in available services.

The Senate will not be in session during the week of July 3rd. However, it is expected that Senator McConnell will release an amended version of this legislation prior to the July 4 holiday in order to try to get a vote on the bill prior to adjourning for the August recess.

 

Happy Independence Day

Happy 4th of July from the Legislative & Political Action Department.

As you celebrate our nation’s independence with friends and family, remember to support your union brothers and sisters by shopping for union-made products for your barbeques. Have a safe and happy holiday.

Labor Relations Specialist – Western New York (Wayne County)

New York’s leading union is seeking resumes for a Labor Relations Specialist to serve the Western New York area. Responsibilities include working with union activists to engage members at their worksites and in their communities and negotiating /administering collective bargaining agreements. Must be able to operate independently and  schedule workload. Salary $58,212 and excellent benefits. Drivers license/car for business use. High School/Equivalency & 3 years full time related experience or BA in related field or acceptable combination of work experience and education.

Email cseajobs@cseainc.org or send resume to Director of Human Resources, PO Box 7125, Capitol Station, Albany, NY 12224. Please note LRS on all correspondence.

 

Equal Opportunity Employer

This Week in Albany

Week ending June 23, 2017

State Contract

CSEA has reached a tentative five-year agreement with New York state.

See full details of the agreement on CSEA’s website. You will need your CSEA Member ID number to access this page.

In the coming weeks, our state negotiating team will be meeting with members around the state.

Visit https://cseany.org/state-contract-info to get dates, times and locations of meetings in your region. Keep checking here for meeting information – the page will be updated as more meetings are set.

End of Session

After a long year, the regularly scheduled 2017 legislative session came to an end this week. The legislature could not reach an agreement on some issues and will need to return to Albany later this summer or fall.

Of specific concern to CSEA members is the failure of the legislature to extend city and county sales tax and other tax authority. The Assembly passed an omnibus bill to extend these taxes along with mayoral control of New York City schools, while the Senate passed the tax bills individually but sought some expansion of charter schools in exchange for extending mayoral control.

While ensuring the continuation of these taxes is vitally important to CSEA members, there is plenty of time for the legislature to extend these taxes. County sales tax bills do not expire until the end of November, and many of the additional taxes have similarly late expiration dates. CSEA will continue to monitor the status of these taxes to ensure that counties and other municipalities do not lose the revenues needed to provide services.

At this point, it is unclear when the legislature will return to finish its business for the year. The two houses did not seem especially close to reaching an agreement on outstanding issues when they left Albany, but will continue to talk.

On the other hand, many of CSEA’s legislative priorities were passed by both houses of the legislature. Important legislation relating to CSEA’s tentative contract agreement with the State, state agency operations, and local concerns was passed. The following CSEA-priority bills passed both houses:

A.8540 – Abbate / S.6818 – Amedore

This bill is authorizing legislation for CSEA’s tentative contract agreement with the State. The contract must still be approved by the CSEA membership.

S.4630 – Gallivan / A.6505 – Kearns

This legislation would stop the relocation of Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center.

S.4324 – Tedisco / A. 5210 – Abinanti

This legislation would require local governments to give retirees 45 days notice prior to changing health insurance benefits for retirees. Current law does not require any notice be given.

S.2836 – Ortt / A.2229 – Gunther

This legislation would require that notices of closure of Office of Mental Health (OMH) facilities expire after one year and one month of being issued. Currently, the state can issue a one year notice of closure or downsizing and not close a facility during that year. The notice of closure then stays in effect in perpetuity, creating uncertainty for employees and patients.

S.5681 – Ortt / A.7399A – Gunther

This legislation would codify care pilots within the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). These programs offer community based care staffed by state employees. Codifying these programs will lead to more predictable funding and will expand available services to families in need.

S.3146 – Golden / A.4049 Lupardo

This legislation would cap the number of cases that child protective services workers can have at any one time to 15 cases per month.

S.5929A – Avella / A.7726A – Jaffee

This legislation would establish a Child Care Availability Taskforce to evaluate the cost, accessibility, availability, quality, and impact of childcare subsidies.

S.4574A – Marchione / A.6903A – Brindisi

This legislation would require an annual study from the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) to report on the ratio of non-administrative staff to residents at OCFS facilities, the total number of workers who are on workers’ compensation leave, and the number of staff involved in any incident involving the alleged misconduct of a resident.

S.6447 – Gallivan / A.8064 – Zebrowski

This legislation would return overnight and weekend calls to Child Protective Services (CPS) in Erie County to CPS rather than a not-for-profit organization. It would go into effect on December 31, 2017.

S.1850 – Ortt / A.6277 – Abbate

This legislation would allow county correctional officers, or deputy sheriffs who are performing correction officer duties, to retire after 20 years with a fifty percent final average salary pension. Counties would be required to opt-in to this plan.

A.473 – Paulin / S.2516 – Gallivan

This legislation would allow county probation officers the ability to receive 100% of their salary if they are unable to work due to an on the job injury. Counties would be required to opt-in to this provision.

A.8326 – Abbate / S.6529 – Murphy

This legislation would grant firefighters employed by the Division of Military and Naval Affairs (DMNA) a performance of duty disability retirement. Firefighters employed by municipalities currently have this benefit and it is only fair that the firefighters in DMNA have it as well.

A.7127 – Abbate / S.5705 – Phillips

This legislation would allow for a performance of duty retirement for various fire marshal titles within Nassau County who are injured in the line of duty.

A.7135 – Abbate / S.7223 – Phillips

This legislation would allow for a performance of duty retirement for various ambulance medical technician titles within Nassau County.

A.7891 – Hooper / S.6788 – Rules

This legislation would allow employees in Nassau County to receive a step increase if a wage freeze is ordered by the Nassau Interim Finance Authority.

All of these bills must be sent to Governor Cuomo for his approval or denial.

Stay tuned for more updates when the legislature returns to Albany to finish its remaining business.

U.S. Senate Releases Health Care Proposal

This week, the U.S. Senate released the “Better Care Reconciliation Act” which is their proposed health care reform legislation.

The legislation would fundamentally alter the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) and would make it more difficult for various populations to afford and qualify for health insurance.

Of critical importance, this legislation would cut Medicaid funding starting in 2021, and further reductions would start again in 2025. These cuts would cost New York State billions of dollars in funding annually. This funding is used by both state and local governments to offer services within the Office of Mental Health, Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, Department Health, county health departments, nursing homes, and substance abuse centers. The loss of this funding will force many of these providers to downsize and eliminate the jobs of CSEA members throughout the state.

Under this proposal, states would be authorized to seek permission from the federal government to reduce required coverage of essential health benefits, which could lead to individuals with preexisting conditions being denied health insurance.

This legislation would no longer require Medicaid to cover mental health services after 2019. This asinine proposal will only exacerbate the mental health crisis we are facing in our country and make it harder for those in the middle of a mental health crisis to receive services.

Lastly, this legislation contains a massive tax cut for multi-national corporations and the wealthiest Americans which is directly paid for by the massive cuts to critical health care services discussed above.

New York State Senators Schumer and Gillibrand strongly oppose this legislation. If the Senate passes this legislation next week, it must then go back to the House of Representatives for final action. At this point it is not clear if the Senate has the votes to pass this legislation. However, if they do and this bill returns to the House of Representatives we will need to be very active in contacting members of the New York Congressional delegation to ask them to oppose this legislation. Stay tuned.


Region scholarships awarded to four graduating seniors

Four children of CSEA members are the recipients of $1,000 scholarships, courtesy of the generosity of CSEA Southern Region members and friends.

Southern Region President Billy Riccaldo and Scholarship Committee Chair Marietta Schultz presented the scholarships at a meeting of the Southern Region Executive Board on June 15. Funds for the scholarship come from proceeds of the annual Southern Region Golf Classic.

This year’s recipients are:

Humanitarian Scholarship

Scholarships_2

Mark Clase, Ossining High School

Mother is CSEA member Astrid Charez, Ossining School District Unit

Community Scholarship

Abbygail Hoke, Webutuck High School

Scholarships_3

Mother is CSEA member Mari-Ann Hoke, Webutuck School District Unit

Diane Hewitt Scholarship

Morgan Sicuro, Port Jervis High School

Mother is CSEA member Marie Cain-Sicuro, Orange County Unit

Region 3 Scholarship

Ashley Crusie, Lourdes High School
Parents are Ken Crusie, Village of Wappingers Falls Highway Unit, and Theresa Crusie, Village of Wappingers Falls Administrative Unit

Members of the Southern Region Scholarship Committee

Scholarships_1Scholarships_1

This Week in Albany

Week ending June 9, 2017

Legislative Update

Several of CSEA’s legislative priorities were passed by at least one house in the legislature this week, including the following bills. The bills that passed only one house still need to pass in the other house before getting sent to the Governor’s desk.

S.4574A – Marchione / A. 6903A – Brindisi (Passed Both Houses)

This legislation would require an annual study from the Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) to report on the ratio of non-administrative staff to residents at OCFS facilities, the total number of workers who are on workers’ compensation leave, and the number of staff involved in any incident involving the alleged misconduct of a resident.


S.4630 – Gallivan / A.6505 – Kearns (Passed Senate)

This legislation would stop the relocation of Western New York Children’s Psychiatric Center.

A.6416A – Abbate / S.5877A – Golden (Passed Assembly)

This legislation would grant all honorably discharged military veterans the ability to use additional veterans points on civil service examinations. The current law limits this to only those that fought in certain combat time periods. As you may remember, this same situation applied to buying back pension time for military veterans until we successfully lobbied the state to change this law last year. This bill would bring parity for all military veterans.

S.2516 – Gallivan / A.473 – Paulin (Passed Senate)

This legislation would allow county probation officers the ability to receive 100% of their salary if they are unable to work due to an on the job injury. Counties would be required to opt-in to this provision.


S.2728 – Griffo / A.2136 – Brindisi (Passed Senate)

This legislation would impose a Class D felony against anyone who assaults an employee of OCFS secure and limited secure residential facilities in the performance of his or her duties.


S.2836 – Ortt / A.2229 – Gunther (Passed Senate)

This legislation would require that notices of closure of Office of Mental Health (OMH) facilities expire after one year and one month of being issued. Currently, the state can issue a one year notice of closure or downsizing and not close a facility during that year. The notice of closure then stays in effect in perpetuity, creating uncertainty for employees and patients.


S.4324 – Tedisco / A. 5210 – Abinanti (Passed Senate)

This legislation would require local governments to give retirees 45 days of notice prior to changing a health insurance contract that covers retirees. Current law does not require any notice be given.

These bills are only a few of CSEA’s legislative priorities for the remainder of the 2017 session. The Legislative & Political Action will provide updates on other legislation when available.

Economic Development Report

Despite massive spending on job creation initiatives, New York State has failed to meet its goals of creating new jobs according to a report released this week.

The report by USA Today Network and others found that New York spends at least $8 billion a year on economic development programs, more than any state in the nation and three times as much as the next three largest states combined.

The investigation found many problems with the state’s economic-development efforts, ranging from under-performing programs to a lack of transparency and accountability in how taxpayers’ money is spent. For example, the START-UP NY program, which provides tax-free zones to businesses, spent nearly $6 million in tax breaks and another $53 million for advertising. The program was supposed to create 3,324 jobs, but only created a third of that as of the end of 2016. To make matters worse, the final 2017-18 state budget removed detailed reporting requirements for the program.

CSEA has long argued for more transparency and oversight of how taxpayer money is spent on these “job creation” programs, and supports legislation to do so.

At a Glance

The state legislature will be in session for four days next week. There are only 7 scheduled session days remaining this year.

 

New CSEA discounts for Rockland Boulders baseball!

The Rockland Boulders are offering CSEA members some sweet deals for 2017! These four deals, seen below, are available to all CSEA members. To take advantage, you must use your CSEA member ID number (ordering by phone or buying tickets at the box office). If you do not have your member ID, you can access a copy by visiting the CSEA website and using the red tab at the top right-hand corner, which says “Look Up Your CSEA ID.”

This is just another value you get by being part of our union!

CSEA Benefits Flyer Export-page-001

Send a Kid to Camp Scholarship

The application for the Long Island Region’s Send a Kid to Camp Scholarship is now available. Please send your completed application to the Long Island Region office by August 4, 2017 to be considered. Good luck!

Summer Camp Flier

Keep 5 Alive! – Our latest edition, Spring 2017

 

This Week in Albany

Week ending June 2, 2017

Legislative Update

CSEA strongly supports S.1113 – Akshar / A.733 – Gunther. This legislation amends the mental hygiene and executive law to require a written report to the legislature at least one year prior to the closure of a facility operated by the Office of Mental Health, Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, and the Office for Children & Family Services. In addition, if the legislature finds that the proposed closure if not justified then the closure cannot occur until it is approved by a majority vote of each house of the legislature.

Over the past several years, the state has continuously downsized and eliminated mental health treatment beds, residential service opportunities for the developmentally disabled and juvenile justice treatment options. Many of these closures have happened haphazardly and in a way that has disrupted the care for clients and patients as well as the lives of the workers at these facilities.

This bill would allow any final decision to be in the best interest of the most vulnerable residents of our state, our communities, and the workforce.

Veterans Pension Buyback Signed One Year Ago

One year ago this week, Governor Cuomo signed into law legislation to allow all public employee military veterans who were honorably discharged, regardless of where or when they performed military duty, to buy back up to 3 years of military service time for pension credit. Previously, only veterans who served in specific military conflicts were eligible for the credit.

The new law, strongly supported by CSEA,  recognized that all military service, including that in peacetime, matters and is valued by New York State.

After one year, many public employees have taken advantage of this benefit.If you are a veteran who has yet to apply and would like to learn more, visit the State Comptroller’s website for more information.

Federal Issues

Federal Budget

In addition to massive cuts to Medicaid, Social Security, and dozens of other programs, President Trump’s proposed budget contains devastating cuts to public education. The budget proposal would cut education funding by $9.2 billion (13.5%), encourage school vouchers, and increase support for charter schools. It would also eliminate several important programs, including literacy and after-school programs.

Further, the education budget would greatly reduce federal support for student loans by eliminating the federal subsidy of interest on student loans, and phasing out public service loan forgiveness programs.

The President’s budget proposal could do real harm to many of the programs that CSEA members and their families depend on. Stay tuned for more information.

Climate Agreement

President Trump also announced this week that the United States will pull out of the Paris climate agreement. The 2015 agreement, to which 195 countries signed on to, is a voluntary, non-binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Con Con Fact

Standards for public health protections, social service needs, healthcare institutions and mental health facilities are protected by the state constitution. A state constitutional convention could put all of these protections at risk.

At a Glance

The legislature will be in session for four days next week. There are only 11 session days remaining in the 2017 legislative session.

Visit the Legislative & Political Action Department’s website for more information on the legislation CSEA is supporting or opposing.