MINEOLA — After six years of litigation, Nassau County Local members have finally gotten justice when they were recently compensated for the unlawful subcontracting of their union jobs.
Around 300 members working as social welfare examiners at the Department of Social Services will divide $275,000 in retroactive pay from the county. This payment is in addition to the $2.5 million retroactive pay settlement the county recently paid to CSEA-represented county Social Services workers earlier this year.
Members whose jobs were mostly affected by the subcontracting received the highest dollar amount. In this case, those members were cut a check for about $815. All other members affected received a partial amount.
“We have binding arbitration in our contract,” said Glen Tuifel, the local’s grievance chair. “Despite that, Nassau County wouldn’t pay, so we had to take them to court.”
Also part of the successful litigation is the hiring of four additional workers to the unit. For a unit that now employs 15 to 20 people, the new hires are a significant addition.
An important factor in the local’s court victories is member involvement.
“We have a provision in our contract that requires the county to inform us if they are seeking workers outside of the bargaining unit, but they rarely do,” said Tuifel. “We count on our members to come into the local and let us know if they see anyone at their job site working a subcontracted position.”
Tuifel said many members don’t realize how subcontracting negatively affects their job security.
“Some members are happy because they think someone is there to relieve them of some of their workload,” said
Tuifel. “I explain to them that the county is giving away their union work and the next time, the job they give away could be theirs.”
The Nassau County Local seizes other opportunities to educate their members, beyond walk-ins. At unit and locals meetings, when they have a collection of activists available to them, they teach members about the subject.
Due to the local’s recent arbitration wins, members have been encouraged to get more involved in union activities.
“There’s been a big uptake in member involvement because people are seeing that CSEA is at its most productive when members get involved,” said Tuifel.
— Wendi Bowie