Contract Progress

Tuesday, November 1, 2016
  • Our Attorney has called the PERB Director of Conciliation, the person that will be assigning the fact-finding panel for our impasse, several times now to try and expedite the appointment of a panel. Like many governmental agencies, they will do it at their own pace. We'll keep trying to move this along as soon as possible
  • Delegates and Executive Board met for a "contract strategy" meeting to hammer out strategies  and what approach we are going to take that would give us the best chance to succeed.
  • Spoke to several Union Presidents regarding the possibility of forming a contract coalition. Not forthcoming.
  • Met face to face with the Assembly's Governmental Employees (one of the three committees that will decide on our contract) Chairman, Peter Abbatte to discuss our contract plight. He is very sympathetic of our cause and said he will discuss it with his committee members and members of the Judiciary committee and Ways and Means committee (the other two committees that will decide our contract) in an attempt to bring them onboard. He sounded upbeat and positive about the prospects of accomplishing this. I have another face to face meeting with him in a few weeks for a progress report.
  • COBANC's Executive Board met with Suffolk's Executive Board to discuss, amongst other things, contract issues and strategies
  • Something we should pay attention to: PEF (Public Employees Federation) announces that they have reached a Memorandum of Agreement on the 3-year 2016-19 contract which includes 2%, 2% and 2% with no negotiated changes to Health care costs. There next step is for their Contract Team to get it to their Executive Board and then to the membership for a vote. Note: In June 2016, PEF voted in favor of a one year contract (2015-16) of 2%, to catch them up and put them on the same cycle as all the other state unions that took a 5-year deal (2011-2016). They ratified that contract 97% YES - 3 % NO. We anticipate that the new MOA will be ratified overwhelmingly too. Ballots will be counted on December 14, 2016.
  • On October 27th at an extra curricular Delegate Town Hall meeting, after hours at the union office, we interviewed a public relations firm regarding handling the media "prong" of our attack (News articles, print ads, interviews, website, press releases and media blasts). We laid out our problems and our needs and they will be formulating a proposal of what they can do for us. This week we will be interviewing UCOMM, our own website media firm, to obtain a proposal  from them.
  • On November 2nd, Vice President, Mike Riveiro and I will be meeting with our attorney, at the COBANC office, to get an A to Z step-by-step roadmap for fact-finding. We already have been in discussion (and in writing) about it many times before but I requested a category & task list to be written in a way that I can hand out assignments to Board of Directors/Negotiating committee to have us work as efficiently as possible. The Negotiating team and the board of Directors will be meeting again shortly after November 2nd to implement the task list. 

DEFENSIVE DRIVING CLASS: Save on your insurance! Neil Schloth will be holding classes again at the COBANC office on Monday, December 5th and Wednesday, December 7th from 5:30 - 8:30. Please email  Neil Schloth at Neil.Schloth@cobanc.org to reserve your spot. Classroom is limited to 15 people so please contact Neil early so you are not shut out.

We have tickets to the SCOA (Supreme Court Officer's Association dinner dance on Thursday, November 10th  at Russo's on the Bay in Howard Beach. Please email me at billy.imandt@cobanc.org, or call the union office 516-794-0600 if you would like to be considered.

Hats off to our own Howard Seifert who has been selected as the Hewlett Republican Club "Man of the Year". Howard will be honored on Tuesday, November 1st at Mio Posto in Oceanside.

New COBANC Health and Welfare book has been updated with all the new benefits that your Health and Welfare committee approved since it was last published. It is already posted on the COBANC website along with the new retiree's booklet under "members" then "benefits". Hard copies will be handed out by building Delegates in the next few weeks.

We have had an excellent response, (at this writing 35 retirees) to our "interest letter" about forming a COBANC Retiree's Association. This group will not be an official branch of COBANC and it will be self-funded. We are planning on breakfast (about every other month) and perhaps a website and a newsletter. We want to hear how our retirees are doing and what are their particular needs going forward so that the Health and Welfare committee can address them. Everybody's goal is to one day be a COBANC retiree and it will be nice to have a group "of your own" that has a direct line to the Health and Welfare committee speaking on behalf of the group.

CONCON - Is what they are calling the Constitutional Convention in and around Albany and it will be on the ballot NEXT November for an up or down vote as to whether there will be one in 2019. Make no mistake about it this could be a real game changer for our members and our retirees...... and NOT for the better. Just in Article 1, the Bill of Rights, you can see things on the table that could seriously hurt COBANC members, civil service workers, the middle class and almost ALL NYS citizens. Here's a partial list of what can be addressed:

BILL OF RIGHTS

  1. Rights, privileges and franchise secured; power of legislature to dispense with primary elections in certain cases.
  2. Trial by jury; how waived.
  3. Freedom of worship; religious liberty.
  4. Habeas corpus.
  5. Bail; fines; punishments; detention of witnesses.
  6. Grand jury; protection of certain enumerated rights; duty of public officers to sign waiver of immunity and give testimony; penalty for refusal.
  7. Compensation for taking private property; private roads; drainage of agricultural lands.
  8. Freedom of speech and press; criminal prosecutions for libel.
  9. Right to assemble and petition; divorce; lotteries; pool-selling and gambling; laws to prevent; para-mutual betting on horse races permitted; games of chance, bingo or lotto authorized under certain restrictions.
  10. [Repealed]
  11. Equal protection of laws; discrimination in civil rights prohibited.
  12. Security against unreasonable searches, seizures and interceptions.
  13. [Repealed]
  14. Common law and acts of the colonial and state legislatures.
  15. [Repealed]
  16. Damages for injuries causing death.
  17. Labor not a commodity; hours and wages in public work; right to organize and bargain collectively.
  18. Workers' compensation.

Please pay particular attention to #17 and 18 above.

PEC, [Public Employees Conference] which represents over 80 unions with 250,000+ members, including COBANC, has been on the forefront since 2013 to do everything possible to stop the convention from happening. PEC has a CONCON committee that is comprised of 17 NYS Union Presidents to assist in this task. I am one of the 17 along with Bill Dobbins, of Suffolk County Court Employees Association and Pat Cullen of Supreme Court Officers Association. Since I was elected in 2014 I have attended six such meetings. Very interesting and very disturbing. One more notable thing to mention; because of the recent convictions, and pending cases of Skelos, Silver, Cuomo's aides and now Ed Mangano and John Venditto, there are a lot of citizens who think that there should be a pension forfeiture amendment added to the constitution. I think most people believe that crooked politicians SHOULD lose their pensions if they commit crimes related to their office. BUT, there is a fear that a "runaway" public attitude along with a faint-hearted legislature could undermine our pension system, it's structure and guarantees as we now know them. In the near future, we may ask you to write letters or take bus trips to Albany. Get mad and get involved. Your future depends on it.

CERT (COBANC Emergency Response Team) and HELP (Helping Employees through Life's Problems)

At our last General Membership meeting, CERT Chairman, Eric Robinson, spoke to the members to remind them that COBANC has two groups of volunteers to aid them in the event of catastrophic incidents (CERT) or if they are having a tough time in their life (HELP). Eric asked if anyone else would like to volunteer, because we could always use more help. I am happy and proud to say that 17 new members graciously decided to join the volunteer ranks which now totals 30. Our CERT team goes in right after the first responders leave and our HELP squad is available when members need help for life's important but non-emergency situations. Thank you, Eric, Debbie Verity (our HELP Chairperson) and everyone who signed up. You should be proud of yourselves and of your union. We hope you are not needed but so glad that you will be there if any members need assistance.

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