SYRACUSE — The New York State Department of Labor recently issued a judgment against Onondaga County, awarding almost $1 million dollars to more than 80 CSEA members who work for the county’s Department of Social Services.
The judgment recognized that Onondaga County forced employees to work above and beyond their normal hours without compensating them for it.
“The Department of Labor investigation confirmed what DCFS employees already knew — that a culture of fear was cultivated by management to extort free labor from employees due to critical staffing issues created by management,” said CSEA Onondaga County Department of Social Services Unit Vice President Sara Fuller. “While workers did receive some compensation they never thought they would see, the greater hope is that this sends a clear message that workers will no longer tolerate this treatment and positive change will be seen in the workplace.”
Onondaga County Local President Daniel Vadala agreed.
“It’s unbelievable that despite how far labor has come, an employer could still somehow not pay employees for their hard work,” he said. “I’m hopeful, however, that this decision means moving forward we won’t run into this issue again.”
“I’m proud of our CSEA members and leaders for standing up to Onondaga County,” said Central Region President Kenny Greenleaf. “While they may not have gotten everything they deserve, they corrected a great injustice and have ensured their future will be better. This is exactly what being in a union is all about.”
— Mathew L. Cantore