ALBANY — CSEA Judiciary members across the state overwhelmingly ratified a one-year contract extension with the New York State Unified Court System (UCS).
The contract extension runs from April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021. Extension highlights include annual salary schedule increase for all employees in the unit, increases to longevity payments, location pay increases, improved overtime provisions and uniform and equipment allowance increases.
When asked, ‘why negotiate a contract extension instead of just waiting another year,’ CSEA Judiciary Negotiating Team members explained why the extension was negotiated. “It was critical for the membership that we reached an extender agreement, as there were no guarantees that UCS would give us the same financial package in our next upcoming round of negotiations,” said New York City State Employees Local President Vincent Martusciello, who is employed as a principal appellate court clerk at the State Supreme Court in Brooklyn.
“There is a guaranteed 2 percent now until 2020 where we were going to just get our increments. It’s really an extra 2 percent in our members’ pockets,” said Western Region Judiciary Local activist Bob Pazik, also a negotiating team member.
“In addition to the 2 percent, there are increases to the Employee Benefit Fund contribution — we were able to stabilize that funding and hopefully increase it with these negotiated funds,” Central Region Judiciary Local President Don Lynskey said. “There are increases to the Security and Law Enforcement Differential (SLED) payments to our members, increases to Family Sick Leave and many other benefits that we were able to negotiate in this extender agreement.”
“The non-financial package was critical to our membership,” Martusciello said. “For example, the provision allowing for increased use of sick leave to care for ill family members, ill siblings and to care for ANY individual for whom our members are primary caregivers was monumental. The CSEA team and UCS realize that the caretaking duties are changing while society’s concept of family is changing.”
With this understanding, the contract extension also expands bereavement leave to cover absences due to the death of a domestic partner’s children; son or daughter-in- law of a domestic partner or the brother or sister of the employee’s domestic partner.
The new negotiated agreement has strong protections for our members and keeps up with some big issues for court workers, including expanded criteria for Line of Duty leave for uniformed personnel to include injury while administering Naloxone (Narcan) and non-uniformed employees injured due to an assault at work.
“Our members’ rights to privacy and the integrity of the disciplinary procedure are protected when it was agreed to serve notices of discipline in sealed envelopes. In some court facilities, NODs were served and paraded around like celebratory flags,” said Martusciello.
“The extension agreement puts us on par with all the other court unions who were negotiated a year past our contract, before the extension,” Region IV Judiciary Local President Scott Gartland said. “It was important to get us up to speed with everyone else before we entered contract negotiations because if we stayed a year behind everybody else, that could have put us at a disadvantage.”
“We got pretty much all that we were asking for. We felt it was a good contract, so we brought it to the membership and by the results we see they feel the same way. It’s an overwhelming YES [by the membership],” said Long Island Region Judiciary Local President Diane Hansen.
“This agreement is a perfect example of how a union fights to increase members’ wages, benefits, security and protections. Being union puts money back in our pockets, provides us a secure place to work, a safer place to work and the benefits not only benefit us, they benefit our loved ones. That is what CSEA is here for day in and day out,” said Lynskey.
— Jill Asencio