Wednesday, April 29, 2020
I hope this email finds you all safe and healthy. A few things that are coming down the pipe that you all should be aware of.
First, let's talk comp time while volunteering. With the 2011-2019 contract, the comp time cap changed if you recall. Comp Time will accumulate until time of separation, at which time anything over 378 hrs. will convert to sick, if not grandfathered.
Next, let's talk about this upcoming paycheck. In this check, the members will see there longevity bonus and SLED money. Now many have asked about the 2% that was not paid as contractually required. Rest assured that we, along with the other court unions, are on top of this, and OCA has agreed to toll grievances which would have been caused by incident after March 17, 2020 until June 1. All 12 unions have been in discussions on when we all will file to protect our members.
Lastly, the topic of when and how to reopen. The Governor announced plans for a phased-in reopening starting on May, 15th if you believe that. It appears to be focused on business/services that were not deemed essential during this period and were, therefore, not operational.
That said, we understand the critical importance of planning how to safely and effectively resume court operations in our facilities and OCA has said that when the time comes they will involve the unions in the process. I have made some suggestions such as ordering cubicle barriers now for offices that do not, and temperature devices to test the body temperatures of individuals.
I have received a few calls and emails since the Governor came out with his essential list for testing to reopen. OCA has reached out to the Governor's Office to get a sense of where the Court System falls with regards to access to testing for essential workers, i.e. will we be included among health care workers, first responders, transit workers, etc. for which testing will be made readily accessible. We also have contacted our lobbyist to help rectify this injustice. As soon as OCA gets clarification on testing, we will let you know.
As you can imagine, there is a lot involved with returning staff and operations, not the least of which is ensuring that there is adequate space to allow for social distancing and that staff is provided with the appropriate PPE.
Concerning testing, there is a COVID-19 Online Testing Assessment which can be found directly at the below link (and would eliminate the need to call and sit on hold for 2 hours):
The assessment is pretty self-explanatory....
1) First asks you to mark any of the identified symptoms that they are experiencing -- even if you mark none, you can proceed to the next section.
2) Then, whether you are a first responder.
3) Then whether you've been in close contact (within 6 feet) of someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
4) Finally, you enter contact information and the last question asks if you are a New York State Employee -they would mark yes but leave the "state agency" section below that blank.