From left to right, CSEA Nassau County Local 1st Vice President Glen Tuifel and CSEA Nassau County Local 5th Vice President Jason Perkowsky meet in the local office to discuss the details of our union’s recent victory over subcontracting in the Department of Social Services.

MINEOLA — After a three-year subcontracting dispute, CSEA’s Nassau County Local has secured 40 promotions and five new hires in the Nassau County Department of Social Services, ensuring county taxpayers will save more than $1 million in subcontracting fees. 

Illustrating the importance of contractual language, CSEA’s contract with the county states that CSEA must be informed when Nassau County is entering into a contract with outside vendors that may compete with CSEA members’ duties. This point allows CSEA an opportunity to question the county before subcontracting can begin. 

Once it was determined that the county was attempting to outsource the Department of Social Services’ work, Nassau County Local officers documented their objection to the contract moving forward. 

“At that point, we began to meet and confer meetings where our local representatives presented evidence to the county that the work they were attempting to outsource belonged to our members,” said CSEA Nassau County Local 1st Vice President Glen Tuifel. 

While the conversations were happening, the local filed a grievance to prevent the county from entering a contract with outside vendors. 

“The county’s usual M.O. [modus operandi, or method of operation]is to lose the case, appeal and kick the can down the road for years until they are required to pay the outside contractors in addition to our members’ back pay,” said Tuifel. “To their credit, this time around was different. The county could see they were going to lose the case, so we started conversations regarding how to resolve the issue.” 

In addition to the 45 promotions and new hires, the Nassau County Local was able to secure a rate increase for the Department of Social Services’ emergency night staff and end a separate contract for child support collections. 

Nassau County Local representatives count on member feedback, as much as direct information from the county, to keep abreast of contract violations. 

“A lot of times, members notify us when there’s someone they don’t know walking around the building,” said Jason Perkowsky, CSEA Nassau County Department of Social Services Unit President and Nassau County Local 5th Vice President. “That leads the local to further investigate the issue.” 

As for Department of Social Services Unit members, they are “ecstatic” to have received promotions or been hired. 

“Without CSEA, a few people would’ve never been promoted,” said Perkowsky. “They had been skipped over for promotions in the past. We were able to come to an agreement that would allow for everyone to be promoted, including people who had previously been passed over.” 

The members knew change was coming and they practiced their patience as the first 15 people began working in their new positions. The last group of promoted employees started working their new jobs after some months. 

Above anything else, Nassau County Local representatives want to impress the importance of having a union contract. 

“People need to understand that their contract is very valuable,” said Tuifel. “Some people may not understand the provisions that contracts contain, but those details will reap rewards down the line.” 

— Wendi Bowie


About Author

Wendi Bowie is an award-winning journalist who has focused the majority of her career on covering Long Island news. Her efforts have earned her the Press Club of Long Island Media Award for Public Affairs and the Long Island Coalition for Fair Broadcasting Folio Award. Wendi was drawn to her current position as Communications Specialist for CSEA’s Long Island Region because it speaks to her strong desire to champion the rights of the common man and woman.

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