COBANC Board of Directors Votes to send contract out to members

Friday, July 8, 2016

As per our Constitution and By-Laws there will be a
SPECIAL OPEN MEMBERSHIP MEETING
to discuss the proposed agreement.
When: Thursday, July 14th at 5:30 PM
Where: Supreme Court, CCP courtroom, 1st floor

Dear members, On Wednesday, July 6th the Board of Directors voted in the majority to send the new 2011-2016 Memorandum of Agreement out to the members for a ratification vote. We will be holding a Constitution and By-Laws mandated Special Open Membership Meeting at the above time and date.

If you have strong feelings about this contract going out to the members – or not, you MUST attend this meeting. There may be motions made and votes taken so if you want your vote (to vote or not), to count - again, YOU MUST ATTEND THIS MEETING. This is very important to your future.

WHY NOW?

I will make a presentation as to how we got to this point and answer all questions at the meeting, but I know people are wondering, why now?

The short answer is this: It is an accumulation of facts and circumstances but the tipping points were as follows;

Much to my surprise, AFTER our very well attended rally, I received on my phone/calls/text and emails, a 10-fold increase in the number of members contacting me telling me that they want to vote on the contract proposal.

  • We were able to secure more compensation then the prior proposal.
  • We were able to negotiate the amount of EOL (Employee Organizational Leave) that we actually need to best serve our members.
  • There are five new members on the Board of Directors that were not Delegates when the last proposal was submitted for a vote
  • The amount of time that has passed since the last vote
  • The final offer from OCA and deadline imposed stating that the money will be used for staff hiring’s if OCA’s offer is not accepted. There will probably be no additional offers for years.
  • Other considerations that I will bring up at the Special Open Membership meeting

Then the other large considerations that are always there are:

  • The likelihood of success is very, very low. In fact, no union in the history of NYS has ever had the legislature decide their contract. The most significant criteria used by a fact finder relates to the wages and benefits of other employees in the same jurisdiction, performing similar functions a/k/a “What did the other unions do”.
  • The cost of taking all the way to the legislature is estimated to be approximately $150,000; almost half of our general fund account. Again, with a very low chance of success.
  • Most benefits gained during these negotiations will not be addressed by the Fact Finder and/or the Legislature. They are ONLY going to be deciding on the pure money issues. Therefore, these negotiated gained benefits will probably be lost, at least for this contract.
  • Of all the contracts out there, ours is the best. In fact, it’s better than the Suffolk County agreement.

There is no way that I am going to try and tell you that this is a good contract. But the Negotiating Committee and Board of the Directors did their job in negotiating, what we think is the best contract we could under the circumstances. It’s now up to you, the members to decide if it is “good enough” so we can move on and go forward.

If ratified, we will instantly sit down with OCA and begin to negotiate our next contract. In fact, if that happens, Suffolk County Court Employee Association President, Bill Dobbins and I have agreed to form a 10th JD coalition and negotiate with our mirror union, together. I have also invited several of the other unions that had a 2011-16 contract just expire on April 1st to get together to discuss joining our coalition. Bill and I have agreed that our demands will be a four-year contract of 5%, 5%, 5% and 5% - similar to what the Judges received, except theirs was a five-year contract of all fives.

When this Executive Board of Directors was elected in 2014, all of the “zero” years were already in the rear view mirror and three unions already settled. It was like inheriting a chess game where we had no Queen, bishops and rooks – and the other side did. Since then 5 other unions have settled with the same compensation package.

I recommend the membership to ratify this contract to get raises and retro money in our members pockets now and to be a player at the next round of negotiations, rather than being a spectator watching other unions decide our “pattern bargaining” fate – the way it always plays out.

To some, this is not a popular opinion. But as the person charged with looking out for every COBANC member to the best of my abilities and based on all of the above I think this is the best route for now and for a better future.

Below you will find the PDF link that you can click on to open up the Memorandum of Agreement. This 84-page document constitutes all of the changes from our last contract (2007-2011) to the proposed 2011-2016. If it is not addressed here in these 84-pages, there is no change and you can refer to your 2007-2011 for the article covering what you are interested in.

I want the members to be able to review EVERY WORD of ALL the changes so that they can make a fully informed decision when they vote on the contract.

Then, I will feel that I stuck to my promise, when I was campaigning and elected, of informing every member of everything they need to know to make informed decisions, and letting democracy rule.

Most Fraternally,

Billy

A summary sheet will be provided at the Special Open Membership meeting on July 14th. Also, on the salary schedule; if a member’s 2% raise would be less than $1,000, it will be adjusted up to $1,000. That is not reflected in the salary schedule. That member’s new salary would most likely be in between increments.

Click here to read the Memorandum of Agreement.

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