IDCWLaw Prevails At Appellate Division: Municipal Employer Violated Taylor Law When It Discontinued Pharmacy Co-Pay Benefit

IDCWLaw has a wealth of experience in appellate advocacy, on behalf of its union clients. Partner Liam Castro’s extensive track record includes numerous successful arguments before New York’s Appellate Court, with two notable victories at the state’s highest court. This expertise proved invaluable in March 2024 when the Third Department sided with a coalition of unions in a crucial case brought against  the County of Rockland when it discontinued  pharmacy co-payment benefits for union members.

IDCWLaw, in conjunction with the coalition, pursued this matter vigorously, initially securing a favorable decision from the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB), which acknowledged the County’s actions violated New York’s Taylor Law, which governs labor-management relations in the public sector. Subsequently, both the Supreme Court and now the Third Department Appellate Division have upheld PERB’s decision and also found the County’s actions were illegal.

IDCWLaw is now focused on securing monetary damages for every affected union member. Given the significance of the case and the widespread impact of the County’s actions, it is anticipated that the damages awarded will be substantial.

Subway-Surface Supervisors Association members overwhelmingly ratify new Contract.

Congratulations to President Michael Carrube and the board and members of the Subway Surface Supervisors Association on the overwhelming ratification of its new collective bargaining agreement with the New York City Transit Authority. 81% of the members voting approved the deal.

The agreement overcame a wide array of obstacles including the Authority’s refusal to bargain during the pandemic and its last minute demand to add additional months to an agreement whose term was set by pattern bargaining.

President Carrube defeated that initiative and secured a contract with 9.5% increases over 48 months, secured improved working conditions, a strengthened grievance procedure, bonuses, longevity improvements, death benefit improvements and improvements in payments for unused sick and vacation time among other significant employer concessions. President Carrube also secured two first of their kind benefits for SSSA members: bereavement leave for the death of a grandchild and lifetime medical coverage for spouses of deceased members and retirees.

President Carrube also made the ratification process more democratic by arranging for members to view the ratification meeting by live stream and to vote remotely.

IDCW partner Howard Wien served as counsel to the SSSA during the negotiations and ratification process.

IDCWLaw Wins Improper Practice Charge For Union Concerning Starting Pay.

Starting pay for newly hired employees has to be negotiated.  This ensures a fair wage, not only for the newly hired employee, but also as it relates to incumbent employees.  Stated another way, it would be unfair for a newly hired employee to make more than an incumbent in the same position, sometimes the result of who someone knows.  The Public Employment Relations Board sustained our client’s charge to enforce a past practice of starting pay for newly hired employees in a certain title.  PERB agreed that an employer may not decide the starting pay at any step for itself, potentially treating some prospective employees markedly different from others as well as incumbents.  IDCWLaw Partner Liam L. Castro, Esq. handled the arguments for our client.

IDCWLaw Secures Emergency Injunction Against Nassau County Sheriff’s Department Concerning Staffing.

The health and safety of our union-clients’ members are paramount.  We do not give an inch, and we act very quickly when, the need arises to enforce their health and safety rights.  On March 17, 2023, late at night, the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department reduced the officer-to-inmate ratio to less than two-to-one at a local hospital.  Our union client has in place an agreement, not only on the general health and safety of all officers, but also requiring the County to maintain that two-to-one ratio.  Early the next business day we brought by Order to Show Cause a proceeding against Nassau County requesting that the County be enjoined from reducing that ratio to less than two-to-one.  Injunctions are always difficult to obtain, as we have to show, among other things, that the rights of our members will be irreparably harmed without an injunction.  We are happy to report that on the Nassau Supreme Court sided with our arguments and issued an order prohibiting the County from maintaining a lower than required officer-to-inmate ratio.   IDCWLaw Partner Liam L. Castro, Esq. handled the arguments for our client.

IDCWLAW Workplace Safety Lawsuit Makes News.

Workplace safety is as critical an issue as any other.  This is particularly true in law enforcement and the jails where workplace violence is most prevalent as officers deal with society’s most dangerous individuals.  Specifically, at the Nassau County Correctional Center, inmate assaults and uses of forces are increasing disproportionately each of the last several years putting correction officers at that facility at increased daily risk of being a victim of assault at their workplace.   Under New York Labor Law § 27-b, all employers, including the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department, must implement a Workplace Violence Prevention Program.  In particular, under N.Y. Comp. Codes R. & Regs. tit. 12, § 800.6 (g)(2)(iii), the Nassau County Sheriff’s Department must issue “a plan for program review and update on at least an annual basis.  Such review and update shall set forth any mitigating steps taken in response to any incidents of workplace violence,  . . ..”  Despite the fact that Nassau correction officers are at increased risk for workplace violence, the Sheriff’s Department had failed to perform this annual review and assessment, and institute a mitigation plan to address the particularized needs for uniformed employees assigned to the Sheriff’s Department.

In August 2022, we informed the Sheriff’s Department of their legal obligation, but they failed to act.  In November 2022, we also informed the State Department of Labor of the Sheriff’s Department’s failure to perform their annual review and assessment on workplace violence.  That is why in December 2022, we filed on Nassau County correction officers’ behalf a lawsuit challenging the Sheriff’s Department’s utter failure to protect its employees.  We at IDCWLAW will continue to fight for employee safety.  IDCWLAW Partner Liam L. Castro, Esq., is handling this case, which is pending in Nassau Supreme Court, and which caught the attention of the news media.  See that report here: