This Week in Albany

Week ending August 11, 2017

CSEA Members Ratify New Contract

CSEA members ratified a new five year contract with the state that provides annual 2 percent raises, improvements to the longevity payment structure, and double-time overtime pay for those working in the Office of Mental Health and the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities to control the excessive mandated overtime rampant in that sector.

All of our four state bargaining units (Administrative, Institutional, Operational and Division of Military and Naval Affairs) individually approved the agreement.

“Our negotiating team worked tirelessly to secure a well-rounded agreement that provides hard-earned cost-of-living increases while keeping health insurance expenses reasonable for working families,” said CSEA President Danny Donohue. “This contract is the product of members negotiating as a team for what is fair, and it recognizes the exceptional value of your innumerable contributions across the state. You are the often-unrecognized backbone of our communities.”

The governor signed the legislation into law late Tuesday, along with a separate contract bill for CSEA’s agreement with the Office of Court Administration.

Click here for full details of the agreement. (CSEA ID # required)

Pension Fund Report

Comptroller DiNapoli announced this week that the Common Retirement Fund had an estimated value of $197.1 billion at the end of the first quarter of state fiscal year 2017-18. The Fund earned a return of 2.9 percent during the quarter.

The Common Retirement Fund is the third largest pension fund in the country, providing benefits to over one million workers and retirees. Under the leadership of Comptroller DiNapoli, it continues to be one of the best funded and best managed plans in the country.

Register to Vote!

The deadline to register in the September 12 Primary is August 18th (next Friday). Check with your local county Board of Elections to see which races will be on the ballot in your area.

 

You can find a printable voter registration form here, or you can register online at the DMV’s website.

Con Con Fact

Powerful special interests would pressure delegates to rewrite the constitution to benefit  themselves, not working families.


    This Week in Albany

    Week ending December 16, 2016

    Legislative Update

    Discussions about a special session continued this week as lawmakers work to find common ground between Senate and Assembly proposals and the Governor.

    There are still 25 bills that passed both houses this year that have not yet been delivered to the Governor, including CSEA’s CPS caseload standards bill. Stay tuned for more information when this bill gets delivered.

    Federal Update

    A continuing resolution was passed by Congress last Friday shortly before federal spending was set to run out. Several Democratic Senators had said that they wouldn’t vote for the spending plan without an extension of benefits to certain coal miners, but the Senators didn’t end up shutting down the government over the issue. The spending plan funds the government until April 28th.

    This week, President Obama signed a large health care bill, known as the “21st Century Cures Act” into law. The law increases resources to combat the heroin and opioid crisis, as well as increased funding for cancer and other research, as well as provisions to address mental health services.

    More information on these and other important federal issues can be found here.

    Happy Holidays

    Happy Holidays from the Legislative and Political Action Department. Stay safe while traveling and be sure to make room for snow removal vehicles so they can get the edge on ice.

    “This Week in Albany” will return on January 7th unless important issues arise in the interim.


      This Week in Albany

      Week ending December 9, 2016

      Economic Development

      This week, Governor Cuomo announced over $700 million in “economic development” funding that will be distributed as part of the annual Regional Economic Development Council process.

      While the State continues to spend billions on programs with a questionable return on investment, CSEA will continue to fight to ensure that New York properly funds the services that our communities depend on.

      At a Glance

      The State Senate and Assembly have been discussing the possibility of holding a special session next week to address a number of issues, including possibly the first pay raise for legislators since 1999. Governor Cuomo has publicly released a list of reforms he would like to see taken up if the legislature does hold a special session, but no session has been officially called yet.

      Federal Update

      Congress has been working to reach an agreement on a continuing resolution to keep the government funded until April 28. The bill generally maintains current government funding, with additions including $872 million for healthcare measures and $170 million to deal with water contamination issues.

      At the time of this writing, the bill had passed the House but faced a potential roadblock in the Senate. Several Senate Democrats have said that they will not vote for the bill unless it contains a longer-term extension of healthcare and retirement benefits for miners whose benefit fund is running out of money.

      Current funding for the government expires on Saturday.

      In other federal news, President-elect Donald Trump announced Andrew Puzder as his choice for secretary of Labor. Puzder, who is the CEO of a fast-food company that includes Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr., has a long record of opposing provisions to help workers. Puzder is skeptical of raising the minimum wage, opposes the Obama administration’s efforts to expand eligibility for overtime pay, has criticized paid sick leave policies, and supports increased automation in his industry.

      Constitutional Convention Poll

      Please take a moment of your time to answer our quick poll regarding a state constitutional convention.

      Click here to take the poll. It will only take a minute.


        This Week in Albany

        Week ending December 2, 2016

        Legislative Update

        Governor Cuomo vetoed 72 bills this week. Unfortunately, the list of bills vetoed includes several of CSEA’s priorities. The bills vetoed include:

        A.9715 Abbate / S.7120 Golden: This legislation would have prevented the president of the New York State Civil Service Commission from denying or interfering with collectively bargained rights regarding health insurance buyouts.

        9515 – Brennan / S. 7112 – Golden:This legislation would have increased transparency and accountability within the Kings County Health Care Facility Demonstration Program.

        A.10614 – Abbate / S.8071 – Murphy: This bill would have created a performance of duty disability retirement for airport firefighters employed by the Division of Military and Naval Affairs who contract various ailments of the heart, lung or cancer and can no longer perform their duty.

        S.7627 – Ortt / A.10557 – Gunther: This legislation would have provided that a notice of closure or service reduction in the Office of Mental Health would expire after 13 months so that employees and communities aren’t left twisting in the wind.

        S.4001B – Ortt / A.6612B – Abbate: This legislation would have allowed counties the option to cover correction officers and deputy sheriffs engaged in correction officer duties under the provisions of a special 20 year retirement plan.

        CSEA will continue to work with the legislature to address these important issues.

        There are 25 bills that passed both houses but have not yet been sent to the Governor, including CSEA’s CPS caseload standards bill (S.2691/A.10506).

        Talk has begun to surface about the possibility of a special session before the end of December to address a variety of issues, but no such session has been called yet.

        Election Update

        Incumbent State Senator Michael Venditto (SD8 – Parts of Nassau and Suffolk counties) trails his Democratic challenger, John Brooks, by 41 votes after a recounting of ballots. Nearly 1,100 ballots are being challenged and will be reviewed in court, but Brooks and the Democrats have claimed victory.

        A Brooks win would further muddle the already complicated situation in the Senate. In a chamber where 32 votes holds a majority, there would be 31 elected Republicans, 24 “mainline” Democrats, 7 members of the Independent Democratic Conference (IDC), and Brooklyn Senator Simcha Felder, who ran on both Democratic and Republican lines but has conferenced with Republicans since first being elected in 2012. Senator Felder has said that he plans to remain with the Republican conference, which would give Republicans 32 votes and the majority.

        The IDC has joined with Republicans in a majority coalition for the past several years, but the conference has not yet indicated its plans for 2017.


          This Week in Albany

          Week ending November 18, 2016

          Legislative Update

          Multiple bills were delivered to Governor Cuomo this week, including several of CSEA’s legislative priorities. Bills delivered include:

          A.9715 Abbate / S.7120 Golden: This legislation prevents the president of the New York State Civil Service Commission from denying or interfering with collectively bargained rights regarding health insurance buyouts.

          9515 – Brennan / S. 7112 – Golden:This legislation would increase transparency and accountability within the Kings County Health Care Facility Demonstration Program.

          A.10614 – Abbate / S.8071 – Murphy: This bill would create a performance of duty disability retirement for airport firefighters employed by the Division of Military and Naval Affairs who contract various ailments of the heart, lung or cancer and can no longer perform their duty.

          S.7627 – Ortt / A.10557 – Gunther: This legislation would provide that a notice of closure or service reduction in the Office of Mental Health would expire after 13 months so that employees and communities aren’t left twisting in the wind.

          No Pay Raise for Legislators

          A commission established to consider a pay raise for legislators, agency commissioners, and statewide elected officials met for the final time this week. The commission could not come to an agreement on a proposal, thereby apparently denying any increases.

          Election Update

          The results of two state senate races on Long Island have not yet been finalized. Senator Carl Marcellino (SD5) has claimed victory, but the race will go to a recount with Marcellino leading by roughly 2,500 votes. Additionally, Senator Michael Venditto (SD8) is currently trailing his opponent by 33 votes. Ballots in that race will be recounted as well. If incumbents win both races the Republican conference will retain its majority in the Senate.

          Click here to see (unofficial) election results for races across the state.

          Schumer Elected Minority Leader

          Democrats in the U.S. Senate elected New York Senator Chuck Schumer to serve as minority leader for the new Congress in 2017. Senator Schumer will have a key role in fighting for New York’s interest under the Trump administration.


            This Week in Albany

            Week ending November 4, 2016

            Elections

            Election Day is this Tuesday, November 8. Polls open at 6AM and close at 9PM.

            What time do you plan on voting?

            Where is your polling place?

            Please remember to get out and vote and encourage your friends and family to do the same. It is critical that we turn out and elect candidates who support our jobs and the services we provide.

            Visit our website to see the list of CSEA endorsed candidates and all of our election spotlights.

            Don’t Forget to Vote!

            Election Spotlight – SD 41

            This week, our “Election Spotlight” focuses on the 41st Senate District, covering parts of Dutchess and Putnam Counties. CSEA has endorsed State Senator Sue Serino for reelection.

            At a Glance

            “This Week in Albany” will return on November 18 with a recap of election results and more information.

            As we celebrate Veterans Day next Friday (November 11), CSEA thanks those who serve and have served in the U.S. Armed Forces. The men and women who risk their lives as a duty to our nation deserve our recognition and respect.


              This Week in Albany

              Week ending October 28, 2016

              Election Spotlight – SD 7

              This week, our “Election Spotlight” focuses on the 7th Senate District, covering part of Nassau County. CSEA has endorsed Elaine Phillips to fill the seat being vacated by Senator Jack Martins.

              Get Out the Vote

              As we enter the final days of the election, it is crucial that we talk to our friends and coworkers about getting out and voting.

              Two simple questions that you can ask to encourage voter turnout are:

              1. What time do you plan on voting?
              2. Where is your polling place?

              Being asked these questions gives people the opportunity to think about actually going to the polls and can have a dramatic impact on turnout. By working together and talking to our colleagues, we can help ensure that our voices are heard.

              Another critical way you can help during this election season is to volunteer and help ensure CSEA endorsed candidates win on Election Day.

              To volunteer, please contact your region political action coordinator. Visit our website to see the list of CSEA endorsed candidates and all of our election spotlights.

              Election Day is November 8.

              Region 1

              Sue Castle – (631) 462-0030

              Region 2

              Matt D’Amico – (212) 406-2156

              Region 3

              Chris Ludlow – (845) 831-1000

              Region 4

              Bryan Miller – (518) 782-4400

              Region 5

              Rick Noreault – (315) 433-0050

              Region 6

              Chris Rackl – (716) 691-6555


                This Week in Albany

                Week ending October 21, 2016

                PEF Contract Announced

                Governor Cuomo announced a contract agreement with the Public Employees Federation (PEF) this week. Many details of the contract have not yet been released.

                CSEA President Danny Donohue said, “Congratulations to our brothers and sisters at PEF on their tentative agreement with New York state. CSEA will continue to work with the governor’s administration to reach a contract agreement that best serves CSEA’s members.”

                Opioid Treatment Coverage Guidelines Released

                The heroin and opioid crisis has negatively impacted lives across our state. Families have lost loved ones, lives have been cut short, and social service caseloads have skyrocketed.

                The state legislature passed a package of legislation addressing some of these issues this year. One major part of the package focused on making it harder for insurance companies to deny coverage for treatment.

                This week, the Department of Financial Services released its guidelines for insurers to cover the cost of treatment. Specifically, insurers must cover medication for treatment and are forbidden from requiring preauthorization for coverage of inpatient substance abuse treatment.

                This package of legislation was a good start, and CSEA will continue to work with state legislators to come up with solutions to these problems. Special thanks go to Senators Amedore, Murphy, Ortt, Funke, Hannon, Marcellino, and Serino for their work on getting this package of bills signed into law.

                Election Spotlight – SD 60

                This week, our “Election Spotlight” focuses on the 60th Senate District, covering part of Erie County. CSEA has endorsed Chris Jacobs to fill the seat being vacated by Senator Marc Panepinto.

                As we enter the final weeks of the election, it is crucial that you volunteer to help ensure CSEA endorsed candidates win on Election Day. To volunteer, please contact your region political action coordinator. Visit our website to see the list of CSEA endorsed candidates.

                Election Day is November 8.

                Region 1

                Sue Castle – (631) 462-0030

                Region 2

                Matt D’Amico – (212) 406-2156

                Region 3

                Chris Ludlow – (845) 831-1000

                Region 4

                Bryan Miller – (518) 782-4400

                Region 5

                Rick Noreault – (315) 433-0050

                Region 6

                Chris Rackl – (716) 691-6555


                  This Week in Albany

                  Week ending October 14, 2016

                  CSEA Responds to Governor’s Flat Funding Call

                  This week, CSEA President Danny Donohue responded to Governor Cuomo’s call to State agencies to hold their budgets flat once again.

                  President Donohue questioned the administration’s priorities, focusing on the $8 billion the state spends every year on so-called “economic development” initiatives while straining the services that our communities depend on every day.

                  “The Cuomo administration must think state workers are magicians or something,” President Donohue said. “The governor’s approach completely ignores the fact that state agency overtime has reached a critical mass and that real people are suffering because of this administration’s mismanaged priorities.”

                  Legislative Update

                  This legislative session, CSEA strongly advocated for a bill that would require the Office of Mental Health to a report on the number of assaults on staff members in any of the state’s four forensic facilities. That legislation (S.6916C – Ortt / A.9620 – Gunther) has now been signed into law.

                  There are still 209 bills that passed both houses but have not yet been sent to the Governor.

                  Election Spotlight – SD 46

                  This week’s “Election Spotlight” looks at the 46th State Senate district, represented by Senator George Amedore. The district covers Greene and Montgomery counties, as well as parts of Albany, Schenectady, and Ulster counties.

                  As we enter the final weeks of the election, it is crucial that you volunteer to help ensure CSEA endorsed candidates win on Election Day. To volunteer, please contact your region political action coordinator. Visit our website to see the list of CSEA endorsed candidates.

                  Election Day is November 8.

                  Region 1

                  Sue Castle – (631) 462-0030

                  Region 2

                  Matt D’Amico – (212) 406-2156

                  Region 3

                  Chris Ludlow – (845) 831-1000

                  Region 4

                  Bryan Miller – (518) 782-4400

                  Region 5

                  Rick Noreault – (315) 433-0050

                  Region 6

                  Chris Rackl – (716) 691-6555

                    This Week in Albany

                    Week ending October 7, 2016

                    Cuomo Wants to Starve State Agencies Once Again

                    Governor Cuomo has once again asked State agencies to propose zero-growth budgets for the 2017-18 fiscal year.

                    The Governor’s approach completely ignores the fact that state agency overtime has reached a critical mass, as has the state’s reliance on temporary, per diem, and part-time workers. Agencies can no longer do more with less and services are suffering.

                    CSEA is prepared to fight to ensure that state agencies get the resources they need and deserve. Our state should be investing in the services our communities depend on and the dedicated employees who provide them instead of bleeding them dry year after year.

                    CPS Campaign Continues

                    CSEA’s efforts to protect vulnerable children have ramped up in recent weeks.

                    CSEA members and activists have held press conferences with elected officials across the state to urge Governor Cuomo to sign into law legislation that would limit the number of cases assigned to Child Protective Services workers at one time. This will help to ensure that CPS staff are able to dedicate themselves to each abuse and neglect case and will help ensure that children will not be further victimized.

                    The legislation has passed both houses, but has not yet been sent to the Governor’s desk for action. Click here to sign up for updates on this campaign.

                    Election Spotlight

                    This week, our “Election Spotlight” examines the race in the 40th State Senate District represented by Senator Terrence Murphy.The 40th district encompasses parts of Dutchess, Putnam, and Westchester Counties.

                    The deadline to register to vote in the November 8 General Election is October 14. Click here to download a voter registration form.