Contract Vote Update– Ballots sent out!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Returned Ballots Must Be Postmarked By August 10th AND Received By August 15th

The tentative agreement includes many improvements to the existing contract.  But these improvements only go into effect if members vote YES to approve the contract.  Voting YES guarantees that these new and enhanced benefits become part of a fully-enforceable collective bargaining agreement.  

More than a third of the membership attended the informational meeting held on July 14th at Supreme Court.  At that meeting, I outlined how and why we arrived at the tentative contract as well as the reasons I and the Board recommend the contract for ratification.  The members present also instructed that the contract be submitted to the ENTIRE membership for a vote.  

Below are some of the many reasons why I believe you should approve the contract:

  • More than 20 additional or enhanced benefits on top of minor salary improvements, thousands of dollars of retroactive pay for each member and increased welfare fund contributions.  This includes, but is not limited to, increased monies to District Court members that work weekend arraignments, enriched holiday recess and emergency leave benefits,  upgraded FMLA time, and drastically improved employee organizational leave to represent our membership properly at investigatory interviews, grievances, disciplines, to continue to improve health and welfare benefits, administer the sick leave bank, to investigate safety and health issues at the workplace, to conduct more meetings of the Board of Directors and our committees, to prepare for and have social events and matters involving other terms and conditions of employment.
  • The risks, time, and expense of fact-finding and legislative imposition that likely would not include the negotiated enhanced benefits, retroactive monies to retirees (as of this writing, 46 retirees impacted, and if the battle takes another 5 years to resolve, nearly 200 COBANC members could be negatively affected), or a full 5-year contract (legislature only allowed to set terms for one fiscal year).
  • Wanting to be at the negotiating table for the next contract and not allow other unions to dictate COBANC’s future.  Nearly three-quarters of all NYS Court employees have a contract into 2016 and several unions are already back at the table to negotiate a new contract beginning this year.
  • The demand to COBANC’s offices to have a contract presented for membership ratification grew almost ten-fold since our May 24th rally.  I also became aware of a petition circulating that would have called on the last contract offer (less beneficial to members than this one) to be submitted to membership for vote - the Board was able to negotiate a better contract to present to you for ratification this time!

The things COBANC members might lose is too great NOT to recommend this deal and allow ALL members to vote.  

FACTS: The entire Executive Board was re-elected, unopposed on April 13, 2016. On April 20th I personally told Judge DiFiore that I would be proposing a 10-year contract. On April 22nd.  I announced the same in a web posting to the entire membership. On April 29th I made the offer to OCA, they rejected it.
 Yes, the rally of May 24th was very well attended and felt good. But after that, as I was preparing for fact finding, I came to realize that our recent and future retirees could be very severely impacted. It was then that I decided to let the members, as a whole, direct me whether or not to risk the retirees retro and pension increases and all the other day-to-day improvements that we were able to secure with this proposed contract by putting the contract out for a vote to the entire membership. The ultimate power of this union is its members and you will be able to decide if we will be stuck “on hold” because of the past actions of other unions, or to move forward and be part of building a better future, definitely with the Suffolk County Court Employees Association, and perhaps in a coalition with other unions.
See Summary Sheet for ALL benefits.  See charts provided by OCA as examples of retroactive monies and salary increases, which, if ratified by the members, should be in your pockets this October!

For examples of retroactive payments click here.

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