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Union’s persistence rewards Lottery workers MANHATTAN — CSEA activists, fighting a long battle against a sophisticated outsourcing scheme at the state Lottery Division, scored a major victory when the state canceled a controversial contract with GTECH Corp. “It was through tremendous persistence and endurance,” said Lottery Marketing Representative John O’Brien, a CSEA member. “But, eventually it showed us that the system could work.” State officials awarded GTECH with a $25 million contract in September 2012 to create a pilot program that called for the hiring of private sector workers to do jobs identical to those of civil service workers at the Lottery Division. Since then, CSEA has repeatedly questioned whether the deal was truly in the public interest. “In fiscal year 2011-12, the NYS Lottery was budgeted for 50 lottery representative positions that were never filled. These positions are revenue generating for the state,” CSEA President Danny Donohue wrote in a letter to state legislators. Hiring just 20 state employees from the active civil service list would have cost less than $1 million over the same period. The original $25 million GTECH contract to hire about 20 workers was also amended from two to five years. “They (GTECH hires) weren’t qualified for these jobs,” said Lottery Marketing Representative and CSEA member Howard Friedman. “They didn’t know how to do the job and had no direction.” The final day for the GTECH hires was Jan. 31. GTECH, a private company owned by a foreign global conglomerate, already has hundreds of millions of dollars worth of contracts with the state. It’s also a company that had made questionable political contributions. GTECH had also “We’re going back to the ‘civil service’ list and every new hire will be a union member.” run afoul with lottery agencies in other states, including New Jersey, Indiana and Illinois. CSEA activists praised local elected officials who took on the Lottery Division on their behalf and asked the tough questions, including state Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, Sens. Diane Savino and Martin Golden, and Assemblyman Peter Abbate. The union was also instrumental in getting the state Civil Service Department to extend the hiring list, with more than 100 qualified applicants, last year. “If it weren’t for CSEA extending the list, there would be no one to hire,” said Lottery Marketing Representative and CSEA member John Montelbano. The list was set to expire in June 2014. “We’re going back to the ‘civil service’ list and every new hire will be a union member.” While only two marketing Lottery Marketing Representatives Howard Friedman, left, and John Montelbano worked with other Lottery activists, CSEA, and elected officials to expose GTECH’s union-busting scheme and get GTECH’s contract canceled by the state. representatives are set to be hired from the list in the short term, CSEA fully expects to fill all available vacancies soon. For Lottery workers, news of the victory has boosted morale and illustrated the importance of getting involved in the union. “The younger workers feel like they have opportunities to advance with the state, and older ones feel like they now have some job security,” said Friedman. The commitment and sacrifice that went into this successful campaign was not lost on any of the activists involved in this struggle. “This (union and worker rights) was passed on to me and it’s my obligation to pass it on to the next person,” said Friedman. “Without the union, this wouldn’t have happened. If you’re not going to get involved, don’t complain.” — David Galarza February 2015 The Work Force 3


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