Page 8 - Work Force September 2023
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“I am so glad I have a union”
Tax workers made whole after payroll error
 LATHAM — With help from our union, Marian Agars was able to catch and correct a payroll error that affected hourly workers at the New York State Department of Taxation & Finance.
co-workers were announcing the money had been deposited into their bank accounts.
When Agars checked her pay stub, she learned she was paid a pre-tax amount closer to $2,800.
On May 3, Agars contacted the agency’s Human Resources Department to inquire about the lower amount she received.
The agency responded that since Agars was an hourly employee, the $3,000 had been prorated to 89% based on the hours she worked in the contract’s eligibility window of Aug. 2, 2022 – March 31, 2023.
The email included calculations that seemed legitimate, but something wasn’t sitting right with
“I had a copy of the contract
language from the CSEA website and I never saw any mention of hourly workers getting less, so I decided I needed to contact our union,” said Agars.
Union takes action
Agars reached out to CSEA Department of Taxation and Finance (Albany) Local Secretary Shana Davis, who soon realized a mistake had been made.
Hourly and temporary employees at the state Department of Taxation & Finance are paid on the state’s Institutional Payroll schedule during the week opposite the Administrative Services Unit (ASU) payroll.
Institutional payroll is based on a 40-hour workweek, while ASU is based on 37.5 hours.
As such, ASU members like Agars, whose full-time week is 37.5 hours, were incorrectly pro-rated and paid less than the $3,000 that was owed to them.
Davis, who also serves as the CSEA Capital Region Executive Vice President, contacted our union’s Legal Department, which helped get
a correction set in motion.
Making workers whole
Just two days after Agars received the initial email about the lower payment, she received a far more welcome email from her agency’s Human Resources Department. Agency officials apologized and pledged to correct the pay error.
“Hourly workers like us don’t always think we have any rights,” said Agars. “But, we do have rights and I am so glad I have a union to reach out to.”
While Agars credits Davis for solving the issue, Davis said it was a team effort and that’s how unions are supposed to work.
“Union members come together to make the workplace effective and to make improvements,” said Davis. “Union members have the ability
to push the envelope and get the answers they deserve.”
“We were both giving each other credit for correcting the issue, but in the end, Shana and I agreed it was a shared effort,” said Agars, who last month received the money owed to her. “I pushed and she pulled.”
— Therese Assalian
 In early May, Agars, who works as a tax information aide in the agency’s Office of Real Property Tax Services, was expecting her $3,000 signing bonus from the NYS-CSEA Executive Branch contract.
When the bonus was paid, her
 Town highway workers save man's life
WEST SENECA — It was just another day on the job for West Seneca Highway Mechanics Nicholas Gugliuzza and Norman Locher when things took a turn for the worst.
While out picking up a fuel tank at the local auto parts store, they saw a car rear-end a truck at a car wash next to the store.
The workers also saw that the driver inside the car was slumped over the wheel.
Gugliuzza and Locher raced over to the vehicle and quickly attended to the man, who was not breathing.
Locher began CPR and instructed Gugliuzza to find scissors to cut
the man’s shirt to prepare to use
an automated external defibrillator (AED).
On top of being a highway mechanic, Locher serves as the West Seneca Fire Chief and alerted firefighters to the emergency.
The firefighters, along with a paramedic, almost immediately arrived.
After Locher’s CPR, the paramedic delivered two AED shocks to the man, whose pulse restarted.
“That AED, in my opinion, saved his life,” said Locher.
“Without that AED, this guy could be dead today,” said Gugliuzza
Locher and Gugliuzza were recognized by West Seneca town officials at a town board meeting for their heroic efforts.
CSEA West Seneca Blue Collar Unit President Brian Cummins commended Locher and Gugliuzza for their composure and quick thinking in a time of crisis.
“This is the perfect example of the right place at the right time,” said Cummins. “This just proves that you must be ready for anything at a job like this. Had they not been there, had the experience, the resources and the connections they had, this may not have had such a happy ending."
— Madison Ruffo
 Dixon-Lawrence named July PEOPLE Recruiter of the Month
— Patricia Dixon-Lawrence, secretary of the New York City State Employees Local in the Metropolitan Region, is
Recruiter of
the Month for
July, recruiting five new PEOPLE members at the MVP level.
“We can’t understate the importance of recruiting members
for the PEOPLE program,” said Dixon-Lawrence. “It evens the playing field and allows members to have a voice that’s heard by those in government who make the rules and laws that affect us.”
CSEA’s PEOPLE program protects and improves our jobs, benefits
and pensions in Washington, Albany and in your community. Your support and participation in PEOPLE strengthens CSEA’s clout
in the workplace, in the legislature, in your community and in the labor
— David Galarza
 8 The Work Force
September 2023

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