Page 12 - Work Force February 2017
P. 12

Town using beets to beat winter weather
 BROOKHAVEN — Ice and snow are
a part of winter, but CSEA members working for the Town of Brookhaven are using an unlikely ingredient to help keep the roads safe — beet juice.
The town is using a beet juice- based solution to pretreat roads before winter storms, which it has done in a limited capacity for about one year. Not only does the beet juice do its job, but it saves the town money and helps protect the environment.
“I was doing some research and came across some information about people in the Midwest using beet juice to treat the roads,” said Town of Brookhaven Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro. “I’m always interested in finding ways to use less material and get the same result.”
Protecting the roads at a lesser cost
Traditional road salt is less effective in very cold temperatures, so many communities in New York
have opted for brine solution. In recent years, many roads across the state have been treated with a brine solution, which is water saturated or nearly saturated with salt and has a lower freezing point than water. The brine loosens the ice or snow from the pavement.
Communities across the state have been examining alternatives to not only salt, which can be costly, but brine itself, as brine can be tough on natural resources.
When pretreating brine solution with beet juice, half of the brine
used in the traditional solution is required for the beet juice solution because beet juice makes the brine more effective at melting snow. It also makes the salt sticky so when the solution hits the road, it stays there.
“You have to mix 1,500 gallons of beet juice with 3,500 gallons of brine to create the solution,” said Town of Brookhaven Highway Unit President Walter “Wally” Green. “You can mix
Beet juice is deposited into the rig that will disperse it onto town roadways.
(Photo provided by Kristen D’Andrea, town of Brookhaven)
CSEA legal corner
the two together like we mostly do or, alternatively, you can just spray the beet juice on top of the brine.”
Saving our environment
Using less brine will also have a positive effect on the environment.
“Salt water intrusion into the drinking water is a concern in coastal areas,” said Losquadro. “If we can reduce the amount of salt that we
are applying to the ground, with
the addition of beet juice, it’s better for the environment because we’re putting less salt on the ground.”
If you’re wondering if the beet juice
arbitrator, and to post a notice indicating that the county will not consider use of union leave time when considering positions it will eliminate from its budget.
Teaching assistant awarded back pay for substitute teacher duties
A teaching assistant at the Pelham Union Free School District had filed
a grievance alleging that district officials violated the CSEA contract when the district did not pay her
out out-of-title pay when she worked one-on-one with an assigned special education student during school hours at an off-site specialized learning facility.
The teaching assistant handled these duties without the assistance of another district employee and also provided the necessary data for the completion of the student’s Individualized Education Plan
will color the roads Pepto BismolTM pink, wonder no longer.
“The brine solution dilutes the beet juice and lightens the color,” said Green. “There’s only a slight detection of pink. You have to look closely to notice it.”
CSEA members find using the new solution to be helpful because it helps to maximize their time and effectiveness.
“The members here like it because it helps us get a jump on our work,” said Green. “Anything that helps us to do that is good.”
— Wendi Bowie
regarding job training skills.
The contract language at-issue
stated that “Any employee who
is required to perform duties in a higher title shall be placed on the corresponding step of the higher
title commencing with the sixth (6th) day, retroactive to the first (1st) day of said assignment. In case of an employee who covers the class of a teacher, he/she shall receive the daily rate paid to substitute teachers in addition to the regular day’s pay. The hourly rate is one third of the daily rate.”
An arbitrator agreed with the teaching assistant, finding that her work with the student at the off-site facility was the equivalent of covering a class. The teaching assistant was awarded with retroactive pay as a substitute teacher.
 Editor’s Note: Your CSEA Legal Department is a team of 11 in-house counsels and a regional attorney network representing members across New York state. The department handles more than 1,000 cases each year, including grievance arbitrations, court actions, and administrative proceedings. Here are some recent victories your legal team secured for CSEA members.
State board upholds reinstatement of CSEA officer
Westchester County appealed
to the state Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) a decision by an administrative law judge (ALJ), who found that the county had violated the Taylor Law, which protects public employees’ right
to unionize, when it abolished a Secretary I position held by a union officer. The ALJ also found that the
position was eliminated because the officer had exercised her contractual and protected right to full-time employee organization leave (EOL) to conduct union business.
The county also argued that the ALJ’s decision to reinstate the officer to a former position in the Parks Department was improper since the county had already restored her to a position in the Department of Social Services and paid lost wages and benefits to her pursuant to a related grievance and arbitration award.
PERB found that the county acted perversely when it required the Parks Department to provide a full-time EOL position, while at the same time requiring it to reduce that budget.
PERB agreed with the ALJ and arbitrator, ordering the county to provide the union officer any lost wages and benefits that she had not already been awarded by the
12 The Work Force
February 2017

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