ROCHESTER — Robyn Carlton has seen an enormous amount of change and evolution in the way employees have delivered services at the Appellate Division Law Library the past three decades, including in her work as a library clerk.

Carlton, who recently retired, credits our union for her being able to retire with security and no regrets.

The Unified Court System negotiations team recently bolstered longevity payments in the new collective bargaining agreement, which means the benefit will not be added to the basic annual salary but shall be pensionable.

This was terrific news for Carlton.
“I have worked harder at this job than I have at anything else in my whole life,” Carlton said as she was preparing to retire. “My job has been very fulfilling, I have enjoyed my work and I appreciate the blessing that having a pension will provide. The longevity payments will add significantly to my bottom line when I retire.”

Carlton said she started her career at the Appellate Division Law Library in Rochester as a library clerk and will be retiring under the same title.

However, Carlton’s job responsibilities at the end of her career didn’t even exist when she started working at the library. Modern technologies and automation transformed her working life.

Feeling somewhat bewildered just a few months ago, Carlton was dealing with all the emotions that come with taking on the next chapter in life.

“I would very much appreciate being able to leave my job here with the comfort of knowing that I have done everything possible to maximize my benefits,” she said. “I wanted to retire with the assurance of knowing full well

I will have the financial security I will need throughout the rest of my life and that my work here at the library had true value and meaning.”

Carlton said the longevity bonus system seemed to be created to address her exact situation. Consequently, she now feels more comfortable with her compensation package.

“Thanks to our union and with the last few years of the longevity bonus in place, I will be able to retire at close to a paraprofessional title pay rate,” said Carlton. “I can’t express how much I appreciate this happening just in time to help me save my self-respect. Instead of retiring a bitter person, I will be retiring at peace and will be able to take pride in what I’ve accomplished. And I thank our union for making that happen.”

— Ove Overmyer


About Author

Ove Overmyer

Ove Overmyer is an award winning photojournalist and writer who has promoted the virtue of working people and the value of public service throughout his career. His work has been published by many well-respected international media outlets, including PBS Moyers & Co., Steward Update UCS Worker Institute Cornell ILR, CBS News, The Weather Channel, SCI-FY Channel, Associated Press and LOGO-TV. Before joining the CSEA Communications Department staff in 2015, Overmyer was a CSEA member employed by the City of Rochester and an officer of the union for more than 18 years. He covers a 14 county area of Western New York and lives in Rochester, NY.

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