I just want to say that I hope everyone has a healthy and happy holiday. I also wanted to thank you for all the hard work you do, especially under the circumstances. You all should be proud of your reputation for professionalism and proficiency. You make ME proud every day!
Regarding the proposed Court Officer upgrade. Congratulations Officers, you deserve it and much more. I was at a meeting with Dennis Quirk, (NYSCOA), Pat Cullen (SCOA) and Suffolk President, Bill Dobbins regarding the review process to revise the Court Officer title as stated in the memorandum from Ronald Younkins dated December 2, 2015. All of the above unions are (or contain) Court Officers and we're all keeping an eye on the process. The Presidents have agreed to get together, as more information is known, and to work TOGETHER, if the implementation is not done properly. I'll pass on more information as I receive it.
Also I'd like to say to the rest of the members, do not begrudge the Officers an upgrade. The essence of "unionism" is to embrace enhancements to others and work with them to "pull the rest up". I would like to point out the Ron Younkins letter states, "For a number of reasons we are addressing the classification structure for the security series before continuing the review of the remaining series." Great, my thoughts exactly. Please continue reading.
CLERKS: COBANC will be joining the Clerk letter writing campaign to Judge Marks asking for an upgrade for Court Clerks. These letters will accompany a request for a meeting with Judge Marks and, at this meeting, I will be delivering these letters in person. Pam Browne, the President of the NYS Court Clerks Association has already put out the message to her members to write letters for her also to deliver. I've been in touch with and/or met with the Suffolk County Court Employees President, Bill Dobbins, who is also 100% on board and will request the same from his members. President Selene Jackson, from The Ninth Judicial District, who did not attend the PEC conference meetings where all the meetings referred to in this message took place, has told me that she is onboard with the concept. These letters are a first step in a well thought out and detailed plan as to how to make ALL our Clerks whole.
President's Browne, Dobbins and myself are requesting that ALL of our Clerks write a letter to Judge Marks which should include: Your name (no anonymous), Where you work and your concerns as they relate to the reclassification. You can speak of how much harder you are working and the increase in your workload. You should also include any additional duties, responsibilities and new training you have received and certainly if you are doing the job of a previously higher title. There is no reason why you cannot express your outrage and the full force of your anger, while refraining from insulting language or profanity. Make your letter as professional as you are. They do not have to be long, two sentences or two pages is fine. BUT I am asking that ALL 200 OR SO COBANC CLERKS PARTICIPATE. If we get 100% participation, we will have over 2,000 letters from the four unions. That cannot be ignored. MAKE SURE YOUR FELLOW CLERKS WRITE SOMETHING AND SEND IT TO ME. BUG THEM IF YOU HAVE TO. I WANT 100% PARTICIPATION!
Please address your letter to Judge Larry Marks and send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to the union office at COBANC, 2545 Hempstead Tpke., Suite 105, East Meadow, NY 11554. Attention: Court Clerk Upgrade. All Presidents are asking that you get these letters to us NO LATER THAN December 28th, 2015.
The above mentioned Presidents will be meeting next week, in the Court Clerk's union headquarters in Manhattan to continue strategizing to determine the best way to get our Clerks upgraded. We are working together on this. We are sick and tired of how we are being overworked and how we are being treated and we will not take it anymore! Three decades of broken promises with far more responsibilities and no compensation is too long to wait - and we will not wait any longer. We will be requesting a meeting with the new Chief Judge the moment she is confirmed to discuss this matter. I want an immediate "good faith" gesture to show we are seriously being considered. No more waiting!
Non-Peace Officers in COBANC. Another meeting that I organized this week was with the union Presidents of the downstate court unions that have non-peace officer's in them.
MISSION: work on getting upgrades for those members. I have spoken to and/or met with Presidents from the following unions; Suffolk County, 9th Judicial District, DC37, CWA, Court Attorney and Court Reporters unions. When we met at PEC (Public Employees Conference) we learned that the Court Attorneys and Supervising Court Reporters were also promised upgrades in the past that never happened.
We will be meeting, also next week, at the CWA headquarters in Manhattan to discuss upgrades for all non-peace officers. Upon formulating a plan, we will also request a meeting with our newly confirmed Chief Judge solely to discuss upgrades for those titles. Too much work with no additional compensation for so long is unacceptable.
And of course there is the CONTRACT:The four unions without a contract (NYSCOA, SCOA, NYSCCA and COBANC) have also formulated a plan to request a meeting with the newly confirmed Chief Judge, to discuss our compensation package. We were told (sold) at contract negotiations that there is no money available to even talk about a higher compensation package then what OCA offered us and the other unions.
- An INCREASE in the "Civil Legal Services program" from the OCA budget to $115,000,000 a year and the declaration from Judge Lippman that it will be a permanent program.
- Court Officer trainee upgrade (Note again, I DON'T begrudge the Officers an upgrade, I'm just stating facts that shows that they have money.)
- The whopping increase to Judges (not begrudging, just stating) of an over $60,000,000 PER YEAR statewide increase.
- The proposed Court Officer upgrade
For an agency that claims they have absolutely NO MONEY for the extra hard working rank and file - THIS IS AN INSULT!
If we don't get some serious conversation about an increase in our pitiful contract compensation package, I will be back to you soon to discuss holding rallies. ENOUGH!
So, unfortunately, COBANC is involved in each of the four partnership groups mentioned above. Fortunately, I have been able to bring all the similarly situated union Presidents together for these fights (with the Officer unions spearheading the "bump up" union partnerships), and they ARE ready to fight. Together we have a more influential representation, more minds working on the goal AND deeper pockets.
I wish this could just have been a nicey-nice "Have a healthy and happy holiday" message but, I know ALL these matters are on your mind and I wanted you to know that I and the entire Executive Board and Board of Directors are working on these issues EVERY DAY!
I wish you peace during this holiday season, Be safe.