Wednesday, July 31, 2013


CSEA Rochester Library Workers Ratify New Labor Deal

Rochester, N.Y.-- The Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) City of Rochester Library Workers Local 828 Unit 7420, which represents 133 part time employees serving the Central Library and 10 city branch libraries, overwhelmingly ratified their collective bargaining agreement on July 29, 2013.

The new deal includes a 6.75 % increase in a cost of living adjustment over the 4 year duration of the contract ending June 30, 2017. The contract highlights include additional paid leave, a new dental and vision plan through CSEA EBF Benefits, an increased life insurance benefit, a parking subsidy for Central Library workers and wage incentives for long term employees. 

“This agreement is a victory for decent wages and improved working conditions. I am especially thankful for a great working relationship with library management, Mayor Tom Richards, our city officials as well as CSEA staff," said Ove Overmyer, President of the Unit. He added, "This is a fair deal that helps workers improve their lives so we can continue to deliver the high quality of library services our community has come to know, love and respect.”

 CSEA is New York State’s leading union, representing employees of New York State and its counties, towns, villages, school districts, library systems, authorities and public corporations. Together with a growing population of private sector members and retirees, CSEA forms a union 275,000 strong. It is also the largest affiliate (and Local 1000) of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) which, in turn, is one of the largest affiliates of the AFL-CIO.


Saturday, July 27, 2013


Week Ending July 26, 2013

DiNapoli Discusses Detroit's Bankruptcy Filing

Last week Detroit became the largest American city to ever file for bankruptcy, causing some to question whether cities in New York could face a similar fate. State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli said that policies put in place by his office will help New York avoid some of the pitfalls that led to Detroit’s bankruptcy and "avoid steps that may cause needless harm to our communities."

“Even though many of New York's communities face significant economic and budgetary problems, no municipality in our state has ever declared bankruptcy, and with good reason. Bankruptcy proceedings of municipalities in other states have left fiscal problems unresolved for years, while making it more difficult for local governments to deliver essential services," Mr. DiNapoli said.

The Comptroller later added, “We’re all going to do everything we can to make sure we don’t have bankruptcies in New York State, which would be a terrible outcome.”

Schneiderman Investigating Superstorm Sandy Charities

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating how charitable organizations are spending money raised in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy after a preliminary report raised questions over how that money has been spent. The initial report showed that of the $575 million in funds raised for Sandy relief, only $336 million has been spent thus far.

Affordable Care Act Employer Mandate Delayed
The implementation of a major component of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act will be pushed back one year to 2015. The provision will establish penalties for employers with at least 50 employees who do not provide health insurance. The delay is intended to allow businesses more time to comply with the new regulations.

Continue the Pushback Against OMH Plan 

The Office of Mental Health’s “Regional Centers of Excellence” plan will close and consolidate state psychiatric hospitals and leave mentally ill people without the services they need. Families will be forced to travel hours to find services for their loved ones or rely on county jails that have become de-facto treatment centers after years of cuts and a failure by the State to invest in mental health services.

CSEA is committed to fighting this vague and irresponsible plan that will only worsen the current shortage of mental health services in the state. Please visit our website and sign the petitions urging Governor Cuomo not to abandon State services for the mentally ill.  

Thursday, July 18, 2013


New York State-- Have you ever heard anyone say: CSEA is only as strong as our agency fee payers? Well, there is a good reason no one ever says that. As everyone knows, our union is as strong as the membership.

The union’s ability to negotiate good contracts, protect workers and jobs, win elections and more depends on members. The CSEA Membership Achievement Award honors a CSEA member, group of members, committee, unit or local that has done the hard work of strengthening the union by signing up newly hired employees as CSEA members or converting agency shop fee payers into members.

If you know of a member, group of members, committee, unit or local that has worked successfully to sign new members into the union or convert agency shop fee payers into members, now is the time to recognize their hard work!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


CSEA WNY Region 6 President Flo Tripi (center) swears in new officers
from Monroe County Local 828 and its 22 Units. photo: RCB staff
Rochester, N.Y. -- The CSEA Local 828 executive board and its Unit officers attended the first Local board meeting under the newly minted elected officers. CSEA WNY Region 6 President Flo Tripi presided over the swearing-in ceremony.

The Local 828 Executive Board ran unopposed earlier this year. They are: Bess Watts, President; Cris Cowan-Zaffuto, 1st Vice President; Ove Overmyer, 2nd Vice President; T. Judith Johnson, 3rd Vice President; Sue Trottier, Treasurer; Sue Perkins, Secretary. The new union leaders will hold office for a 4-year term ending June 30, 2017.

At the meeting, Local President Watts gave a special gift to outgoing Local officer and former Unit 7400 President Cris Cowan-Zaffuto. Cris has officially retired from public employment after serving the community for 30 plus years.

Special guests at the board meeting included Chris Grosse and Rod Acuri from the law firm Fine, Olin & Anderman. Local members would like to publicly thank the Rochester Club Ballroom for hosting the meeting and for their exceptional hospitality.  

Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Senate Committee Sets Date for ENDA Vote

Washington, D.C. -- Hot on the heels of the Supreme Court’s landmark decisions on marriage equality, according to several news reports a Senate committee will hold a vote July 10 on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

The date set for the vote by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee is exactly two weeks after the court ruled against both Proposition 8 and a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act.

ENDA, which would ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, is expected to easily obtain committee approval, as all 12 Democrats on the Senate panel are cosponsors of the legislation, and Republican senator Mark Kirk of Illinois is as well.

However, the way Republican committee member Lisa Murkowski of Alaska will vote on ENDA is still unclear. Nevertheless, she changed her position to support marriage equality one week before the Supreme Court rulings, becoming the third sitting Republican U.S. senator to do so, and has voted in favor of pro-LGBT measures in the past, including hate-crimes legislation and the repeal of “Don’t ask, Don’t tell.”


Bess Watts
photo: Matt Schwartz
Dear Members:

With the annual observance of Independence Day fast approaching, I've been thinking about that iconic American saying: Freedom Isn't Free.

Usually it refers to the sacrifice of the men and women who serve in the military and their families - and it's especially poignant and ironic that now our American vets are facing an incredibly high unemployment rate and in some instances, have to wait more than a calendar year for veteran services. I know our President is working hard on this, but certainly we can do better as a nation.

On this 4th of July, may your hearts be filled with love for your nation and filled with compassion for your fellow neighbor. May your spirit be determined to work hard to make your community and our country the best it can be.  And, let’s not forget our brothers and sisters who served and continue to serve so proudly in the military.

When you see them around town, tell them how much you appreciate their service to our nation. May you and your loved ones have a safe and happy holiday.

Yours in Unionism,

Bess Watts 
CSEA President, Monroe County Local 828