It is critical for us to support our military personnel. IDCWLaw did just that. Two Mount Vernon police officers were called to active duty to assist our nation with the government’s COVID-19 response. While supporting our nation during the first pandemic in a century, they asked the City of Mount Vernon Police Department for military pay differential; that is the difference between their higher police officer pay and the military pay they were receiving while deployed. They were losing income while supporting us. But, the City of Mount Vernon said no because they were not deployed overseas, but were instead only responding to a COVID-19 national pandemic emergency. IDCWLaw, with the assistance of the Mount Vernon PBA, sued the City and Police Department. After the City continued to fight against these national heroes in Court, and our continued advocacy, on June 8, 2022, the Westchester County Supreme Court ordered the City to make these payments immediately. The Court held the City was wrong. We are thrilled for this victory for two reservists who rightly deserve our support.
We are happy to announce that today the Supreme Court, Ulster County issued against the Ulster County Sheriff’s Department and Ulster County, pending arbitration, an injunction prohibiting them from denying union officials’ from using County-paid release time. In early March a union client requested time off for two union officials’ midnight shift (12-8) to attend union meetings beginning at about 8am. The County argued the union meetings did not start until after the officials’ shift ended. We convinced the judge that requiring the officials to work their shift, and then work an additional shift for union meetings was unfair at this stage; that an arbitrator would decide this case soon; and there is no meaningful remedy and arbitrator could impose after the union meetings occurred. As a result, the County issued an injunction prohibiting the County and Sheriff’s Department, pending arbitration, from requiring them to work during a 24-hour period.
We are thrilled to announce IDCWLaw Partner Liam L. Castro’s and Nassau County Sheriff’s Correction Officers Benevolent Association Vice President Dennis Maurus’ tireless effort and advocacy resulted in a settlement with Nassau County worth over $260,000 for 86 union members, active and retired. About one year ago, we learned the County withheld federal income taxes that it should not have. The County failed to timely request that money back from the IRS, resulting in a permanent forfeiture of that money. Once the union and we learned of this, both Mr. Castro and Mr. Maurus contacted over 100 members to ask if we could bring an action against the County. With almost 100 members’ consent, we filed against the County a Notice of Claim. Later, we negotiated with the County a full 100% reimbursement of the lost tax monies. After obtaining 86 signed settlement agreements, and pushing the County to sign it, this week the Nassau County Legislature voted to approve the settlement.
THE CHIEF LEADER MTA’s Deputy Supers, Asst. GMs Gain Pact
By BOB HENNELLY firstname.lastname@example.org
Dec 23, 2021
A LONG RIDE PAYS OFF: The leadership of the United Transit Leadership Organization had reason to feel good after completing a contract deal for Metropolitan Transportation Authority managers who five years ago were not entitled to union representation.
Close to 1,000 managers in the titles of Deputy Superintendent and Assistant General Superintendent with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Headquarters, Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operation Authority, New York City Transit Authority, and MTA bus have secured a new union contract after the agency’s board voted Dec. 15 to approve it.
The contract is the first for the union’s membership in the MTA’s Departments of Subways and Support Services and the second in its Department of Buses.
The 30-month contract is effective July 1, 2019, runs until Dec. 31, and provides two 2-percent raises for employees, whose salaries range from $86,000 to $135,000.
Union Rights Came Late
The deal was reached almost five years after the Subway-Surface Supervisors Association funded a grass-roots organizing campaign that resulted in the recognition of the United Transit Leadership Organization and the creation of an international union, the National Association of Transportation Supervisors
“At every salary grade we negotiated salary increases and got a commuter pass for Metro-North Railroad, Long Island Railroad as well as for Express Bus,” said Mario Bucceri, president of the UTLO. “And when we got the commuter pass, it even got extended for the non-represented managers.”
He said that checks implementing retroactive pay from the deal, which will be disbursed separately, will total several thousand dollars, with amounts depending on members’ base pay.
Mr. Bucceri said his union had also codified “significant improvements” in the discipline and grievance processes for his members. “In the past, arbitration was only triggered by a dismissal or demotion—now we have expanded it to 30-day suspensions,” he said.
‘No More Begging’
Cassius Pryce, UTLO’s senior vice president of subways, said the formation of the union had dramatically improved the represented positions.
“For years the MTA and New York City Transit had treated their managers as second-class citizens,” Mr. Pryce said. “For a period of several years from 2007 until 2014, they gave us no general wage increase. It was always budgeted to give their managers a 2-percent raise and they just chose not to give it.”
He continued, “Now, instead of begging and crying, now that we have a union it’s totally different. They have to sit down at the table and negotiate with us. They have to talk with us. We never had that before.”
Mr. Pryce said the pandemic, which has killed more than 180 MTA employees, had created a renewed sense of solidarity among his co-workers in the managerial workforce.
‘We Show Up Every Day’
“Most of the senior managerial staff worked remotely and only returned to work on Nov. 15,” he said. “The front-line managers like myself had to show up for work every single day. I cannot run a train from my living room. I have to do it from the Control Room. That’s where I work.”
Mr. Bucceri said that UTLO’s titles had seen a jump in retirements and that the labor shortage had played to the union’s advantage at the bargaining table.
The union president, who started with the MTA as a cleaner in 1982, added that management was having a hard time finding managers from within the transit agency to fill the slots he represents because in the past SSSA members did not want to move into those jobs and lose their union representation.
According to Howard Wien, the attorney for both the UTLO and its international union, the latter successfully petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to “represent employees of the Hudson Bergen Light Rail in New Jersey. We were also successful at getting certification for the buses division at NJ Transit.”
Michael Carrube, president of SSSA and the international president of the NATS, said the pandemic had sparked calls from workers all over the country looking to be organized. “During the last year, because essential workers were getting abused on the job throughout the pandemic and a lot of them were managers…I got a call from a doctor” seeking a union.
On November 29th, IDC&WLaw client, the United Transit Leadership Organization, secured ratification by its membership of a new collective bargaining agreement with several affiliates of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority by an incredible vote of 387-10, or 97.5%.
The agreement calls for two annual compounded 2% raises over 30 months, improvements to the grievance and arbitration procedures, two employer-paid released union officials, improvements in time and leave policies and an unprecedented increase in the minimum salaries at each salary grade, known as “compression” levels.
The agreement covers approximately 1,000 MTA employees.
Howard Wien served as counsel to the UTLO for these negotiations