Town of Oyster Bay Civil Service
Employees Association


Over 1,100 Town Employees
President: Jarvis T Brown
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150 Miller Place
Syosset NY 11791

(P)516-677-5818
(F)516-677-5814

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CSEA Local 881
2014 Workshop Reports

Advanced Steward Workshop

On June10, 2014, the Advanced Steward Workshop was held here at our Town of Oyster Bay Syosset location. CSEA members were in attendance from several Locals throughout our Region. Cory Taliaferro, a seasoned Labor Education Specialist conducted the workshop. Attendees were provided some very informative and educational resources including, the Local and Unit Constitutions, Steward Handbook and the “Steward Update” a newsletter sent out quarterly to all Shop Stewards. The workshop was held from 6pm to 9pm and a light dinner was served.
During the workshop Cory covered, The Role of a Shop Steward, Mapping out the Workplace, Identifying, Organizing and Evaluating Different Issues and various case studies. He added some role play exercises to help us pinpoint how to act and react in certain situations. After taking about 10 workshops through CSEA over the years in addition to attending several conferences, I cannot stress enough the wealth of information each workshop offers. Each covers different subject matter and are all given by Certified Labor Education Specialists.
You will leave each workshop with something you didn’t know before. It could be a something as simple as a term you weren’t clear on, how to proceed with different issues based on how your Contract and Civil Service Law reads or the route you could take to develop better communication skills so you may represent your coworkers to the best of your ability. After the experience, you will be refreshed and have a better understanding of CSEA, your Local and their responsibility to you.
If you have intensions of becoming an active member, I strongly suggest you take the initiative to educate yourself… only you can do this for you. CSEA Education Specialists have many years of training and experience. This is a passion for them and some have even gone as far as to have their work published. In the future you will see our workshops becoming more and more diverse.
The best part is… there is no cost to you.

 

Local Government & Private Sector
Grievance Representation Workshop

I attended the Local Government & Private Sector Grievance Representation Workshop on May 5th & 6th, 2014. It is a required certification course for Officers and Shop Stewards of CSEA Local 881. The two night course covered such topics as defining what a grievance is, our contract’s grievance procedure, fair representation, the role of a grievance officer, and investigating grievances. Participants were asked to bring a copy of their current contract book, and this was very helpful to me because I was able to tailor the course to the specifics of our contractual agreement. From listening to some of the questions and comments from the other participants, I learned that our contract agreement between the Town of Oyster Bay and CSEA Local 881 is more specific, detailed and complete than many others. We also have a generous amount of time to file a grievance from when the violation becomes known.
Usually, a grievance is something that is in violation of the contract. There are other forums to address an issue that is not a contract violation such as PESH for safety and health issues in the workplace.
The workshop presenter was extremely knowledgeable, and encouraged questions, discussion, and group activities. I got to hear about the issues in other locals, and I learned a lot of useful information to help me be an effective grievance officer.

Statewide Conference on Occupational Safety &
Health Lake Placid New York Workshop

May 2, 2014
Behavior Based Safety Program (2 P.M.)
Presenter: Geraldine Stella, Health & Safety Specialist, PEF
Behavior based safety programs are practices by the employer to pass the blame onto to the employee after the accident. It's not uncommon for an employer to first ask,
"What was the employee doing wrong that contributed to this accident?"
Since 1931 when Herbert Heinrich stated that 88% of all accidents on the job are due to the negligence of the employee, there have been few revisions,
and today, employers still practice this belief and continue to assign blame to the worker.
Employers have found it beneficial to remove the employee instead of the hazard. They've also tried contests to award employees for not having an accident over an extended period of time. That may "sound" like a good idea, but if one employee has an accident, he is singled out by the remaining employees for costing them the "prize". Then there is immediate drug testing after an accident when the worker is taken off the clock and brought to emergency. Once again, the employer wants to wash their hands of the responsibility.
From the Union's point of view, in order to have an "unsafe" behavior, there would have to be a hazard present, without a hazard,how can there be "unsafe" behavior?
There are absolutely NO exceptions to this rule.
After an incident, the employer is quick to issue PPE or personal protection equipment, but in reality, this is the least effective method of safeguarding the worker. The top two effective methods are eliminating the hazard, and training programs. The employer may say, "Here are gloves, earplugs, goggles, and a helmet, now go back to that same hazard and keep your eyes open." This is a simply ludicrous and completely ignorant solution; along with a complete disregard for the employee and a lack of concern for his/her safety.
The membership must be educated and made to understand that the biggest hazard to their life and limb is the idea of Behavior Based Safety. In the year 2011- 4,609 worked were killed on the job. Everyday 13 people go to work, and never come home.
There are resources available to fight this employer attitude. OSHA or PESH can keep records, investigate complaints. Specifics on health and safety can be written into contract language. Employers cannot refuse to bargain over mandatory subjects, among others included in the list, is safety and health, and behavior based programs. And there is Union Solidarity because the Union depends on the "eyes and ears" of the workers themselves, and they must be encouraged to report unsafe conditions, potential hazards, or anything they deem a reckless situation on the part of the employer.
In many workplaces, employees are afraid to report and injury for fear of repercussions including discipline, or as mentioned before, safety incentive programs that can cost fellow employees prize money. Where there should be outrage there is fear, where there should be concern for the welfare of the employee, there is intimidation.
There are countless reasons why the employer chooses to use the Behavior Based model, and among many, what comes to mind is saving money. But how much is really saved after recurring fines, and exposure to the media?
A fine example at this seminar was an idea of Unions posting their own signs: "It's been 14 days since management was asked to fix or remove a hazard and they still have not addressed it."
In conclusion, Behavior Based Safety (BBS or BS for short) is NOT about safety, it's about shifting blame. BBS is about control and power. In fact, BBS is a long term Union Busting Strategy.

 

 

"Leading the Way" Workshop

The workshop that I attended was "Leading the Way". It was a panel presentation followed by questions from the audience. It was my first time going to a workshop convention, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. The panel was State CSEA President Danny Donohue, Region One President Nick LaMorte and Mike Samuels from Region Three. President Donohue spoke first about how unions are under attack by everyone, especially our own NYS Governor Cuomo, and all the New York local newspapers. We need to work hard and make sure our voice is heard. The big salaries, pensions, and benefits that everyone seems to think we have are largely a myth. Nick LaMorte then stepped up and welcomed everyone to the workshops. He spoke about the activists from the LI region and how we should be proud of all the hard work we do. Because of all the hard work, the Sagamore Children's Center in Suffolk County will not be closing. Mike Sherman spoke about his workforce. His members are mostly State employees. For my first time attending this and other workshops, I learned a lot. Only being a CSEA member for four years, after attending of these workshops I feel like I have been around a lot longer. I hope to attend many more of these workshops in my career as a CSEA member, and hopefully bring more knowledge to the younger members as I grow in the union. Thanks CSEA

"Strong Communities Work" Workshop

Strong Communities Work
Elected officials don’t need union members because we are a small percentage of the community
- 19.6 million in New York
- 8 million employed in New York
- 28% employed are labor union employees in New York
- 76% employed are not union members (no union contract and no NY retirement)
Goals
- Help the community
- Present a positive vision
- Work to lift up all boats (not just “union” but lift up everyone in community)
- Change perspective of who and what union is by speaking and behaving differently
- Focus on concerns of community and service recipients rather than self interest
- Help others connect the dots
o Ex. Amy Simmon’s story
• Her 2 kids moved away because no jobs except one stayed as a corrections officer
• Factories- General Motors closed down 500 jobs lost
Zinc mine closed and 200 jobs lost
Talc mine also closed
• Middle class workers moved away and home values slipped
• Local businesses and restaurants felt the loss
• Town became boarded up and desolate
• Poverty spread and tax revenues fell, police dept. was limited and drug dealing became visible
• Neighbors struggle becomes our struggle
• Help people, our own members and those in community to connect the dots
- Charities will never back union even though we help them.
- Be willing to let others lead
- Be strategic about how visible the union should be
- Expand the definition of “union” to include interests of workers beyond the workplace
- Don’t just hand out string beans instead find out why hunger is the problem in the community
- Don’t give corporation handouts
- People aren’t always lazy if they aren’t working, sometimes there are no opportunities
- Engage members in developments of this transition by informing
Ideas:
- After school activities, fundraising and etc. (keep kids out of trouble)
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Monica Bujnowski- CSEA Local 881 5/2/2014 Workshop

o The idea of caring for our kids and where will they go after school if activities are cut from budget
o Don’t make the reason about ourselves (union), make it about the children
o It’s about the service to people and not about us and our jobs.
My comments:
- Very good discussions and guidance by the instructor
- I never knew union percentage was that small. It makes you realize that in order for union to be noticed in a good manner, the union would have to help the community significantly and most likely continuously.
- Unions are in our communities to help but no one comes to help us. So the best way unions can help themselves is by changing the statement. Make the statement about helping others only, not about us losing jobs/ money/ etc.
- Connecting the dots is very important and I never really understood that everyone is connected when our community is facing hard times
- The idea for school activities included a very powerful use of wording, which I can understand how the union would want our message to look to the community, and not be self-loathing

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Monica Bujnowski- CSEA Local 881 5/2/2014 Workshop

Workers Comp and Member Benefits Workshop

Workers Comp and Member Benefits
The Workers Comp and Member Benefits workshop is a workshop designed to help union activists learn what products and services are available to all members. The workers comp section of the workshop was given by a presenter from Fine, Olin, and Anderman. He spoke of the different pit falls and loopholes associated with the workers comp laws and how to avoid them. Then he went on to explain how to use the different services they offer ranging from workers comp representation, divorce and wills. He closed out by saying that Fine, Olin, and Anderman is endorsed by CSEA because they are one of the best law firms in the business.
The next segment of the workshop was given by Steve Neidhardt from Pearl Carroll and Associates. Steve gave us a very detailed presentation of all of his company’s products. The products range from life insurance, auto insurance and disability insurance. Pearl Carroll and Associates is a company of impeccable reputation that the CSEA has used as its only insurance company for 25+ years.

Next Wave Workshop

Next Wave was by far my favorite of the workshops while attending the CSEA Region 1 Conference. There were many in attendance and I believe for a reason. Judging by how the workshop went, I believe the people that attended showed a genuine interest in the Next Wave movement. Jarvis Brown did a great job with the workshop; the keynote speakers and interactive discussions kept members engaged in the workshop, compared to the other ones which bought me back to my college days listening to a professor drone off for hours. Being able to interact with other members (young and seasoned) in Region 1 and share my personal thoughts and ideas with them is a valuable tool in this movement, and leads to the empowering of the young union activists that this movement seeks. This workshop excelled at that. Every table got a chance to collectively share their opinions to everyone in attendance on how we could make this union better for future generations. It was interesting to hear other CSEA member’s thoughts on various issues, ranging from bridging the gap between young and seasoned employees to how to get the future generations involved. I hope next year’s workshop is longer than an hour because of the wide range of topics and discussions the members can have. Overall, the Next Wave workshop was informative, stimulating and crucial to the future of the movement and I look forward to attending others in the forthcoming.

Shop Steward Workshop

I took the workshop for Shop Steward on 4/8 & 4/9 2014 at NUMC in East Meadow. It was an educational and fun meeting. I wanted to learn more about being a Shop Steward, and how to better serve my co-workers. The class was taught by a CSEA pro! Very knowledgeable and full of information. We had the opportunity to do some role playing, while learning about the proper actions to take for various situations. I have already put to good use some of the things I learned in the class! I also learned what my limitations are in the role of Shop Steward; what I can handle and what I cannot. For instance, I can take a complaint from a co-worker, and try my best to follow through with getting him/her the correct answer or information they need. However, I cannot represent them in a hearing, although I can be present at their request. I now carry a small notebook with me, in case I meet a fellow Townie with a question or problem. I look forward to working with our Union as a Shop Steward. I think we have a fantastic group of Officers, and the other Shop Stewards are ready to help too. I am proud to be a part of the Union, as a member and Shop Steward!

 


The Annual Delegates Meeting was held in New York City in October.  Your union officers were in attendance,
and here are summaries of the workshops and sessions that were presented.

Welcome to Orientation for New Delegates Workshop
Monica Bujnowski, Recording Secretary
The Welcome to Orientation for New Delegates workshop was very informative.  This was my first time attending the New York City Annual Delegates Meeting; it was a little overwhelming in the beginning with all the people, registration, workshops and just keeping up with what was next, but the people I met were really friendly and helpful in directing me as a new delegate.  Listed below is the outline of the workshop: 1) Each delegate introduced themselves to the room.  2) We should talk to one another about different issues affecting our local and region.  3) Attend all the workshops and bring back to your local the knowledge you gained.  4) An explanation about the badge we were given when we registered, which tells what workshops we are signed up for.  5) We should visit the vendors, get to know what’s available to members and let our members know about benefits. 6) Information about the CSEA store and the PEOPLE vendor.  This workshop was good for new delegates to get comfortable and be informed of what is expected of them at the Annual Delegates Meeting.
Public Speaking Tips and Techniques
At this workshop we identified the characteristics of effective public speaking.  We also were taught how to recognize the benefits of practicing to prepare and present a speech.  We analyzed methods of preparation.  We learned the six step method.  We also discussed tips and techniques to improve our public speaking skills, and how to use these new skills in our everyday tasks as union activists.
We Are Community: Live Connected
CSEA has a new initiative called Strong Communities Work. It is a direction the union is taking to connect our union with our communities.  We are trying to improve the public’s perception of a unionized workforce, and show the communities we live in that we are part of them.   The workshop gave us the thought process behind the concept. When we identify as being an important part of our communities, and relate our successes with them, we can all win.
Building Community
Building Community is a workshop geared toward educating union officers and shop stewards on how to combat everyday ideas and techniques used to attack labor. The workshop explained the importance of building coalitions within the communities we live, the importance of standing together in the fight for economic justice, and intense strategies on how to bridge the gap between labor and the community. The presenter showed a video interviewing people who were anti-labor, and after simply explaining the labor issues to them in common sense terms, they changed their thinking.
Next Wave Workshop
The Next Wave workshop at the Annual Delegates Meeting in New York City was full of activities to evoke thinking in all the members.  Jarvis Tim Brown was the instructor with the Next Wave committee assisting the presentation.  The class was filled with a mixture of new and seasoned members, but everyone in attendance was there for the same reasons. The class was given several group activities which included reasons each person became involved in the union, how many years they have been involved in activism, reasons why members are not involved in the union, strategies to involve members, how we can be supportive and allies to involve members, and a memo to sign as a personal commitment to involve members.  Each group activity was discussed with the entire room so that each group could realize that the age of a next waver is not an issue in our union.  Seasoned members are just as important if not more important because they have knowledge to pass along to the new members.   As new members we don’t need to just repeat history, we need to create history for the books.  We learned that we must stand together as a union with no age barriers.
Forums
The Forums session is a three part workshop designed to inform our delegates as to what will be discussed, argued, and voted on at the upcoming Annual Delegates Meeting. The first part of the workshop is the Resolutions Reports. A resolution is a formal expression of opinion, will, or intent, by an official body or assembled group. This forum was designed for delegates to discuss and ask questions to the committee about resolutions that we will be voting on later on in the week.
Part 2 was the Constitution and By-Laws Committee. This forum is a chance to question the committee on their proposed changes to the Constitution and By-Laws. It gives the delegates the chance to see if they will agree or disagree with the direction the union is heading, and gain insight into the thinking of the committee.
Part 3 is the CSEA Statewide Committees meeting. All the chairpersons are there to read their reports to the delegate body, and to answer any questions or concerns the delegate body has pertaining to that certain committee.
The Annual Delegate Meeting
The Annual Delegate Meeting is required for all CSEA delegates throughout New York State.  The eight elected officers of Local 881 were in attendance.  The meeting is the official forum for the delegates to come together to conduct the yearly business of the CSEA statewide union.  Resolutions and amendments are presented, discussed and voted on, according to parliamentary procedure.  The statewide CSEA President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer gave end of the year addresses, as did the six Region Presidents.  Guest speakers included the President of AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees), the New York State Comptroller and New York State Attorney General. 

CSEA Local 881
2015 Workshop Reports

Statewide Women’s Conference
May 1-3, 2015

Lois Muller, Shop Steward


TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
In this workshop I learned just how important it is to do many tasks early in life to make our passing on easier for the rest of our families,
such as a simple will, and a Transfer on Death (TOD) on your checking account.

A TOD on your checking account entitles you to have another person on your account with you,
but they have no authority to make withdrawals or spend your money.
  Upon your death, the money in your account gets transferred to their own account. 
Some banks use other terms, but the intent is the same.  
 
Either give your possessions away while you can or make out a will. 
This helps save time, and controls fighting over things like Mom's favorite vase.
  Don’t put end of life requests in your will, because your will is read after you are dead and buried. 
Think of a living will.  Make sure you have a health proxy, and a DNR order. 
Talk to your family so they know your wishes should an accident occur. 
 Don't hide things so family members spend more time looking for what
they know you should have than actually getting what needs to be done for you taken care of. 

Are you divorced, or just separated?  That's a huge difference.  If you are only separated, upon death your spouse still gets your things. 
If you want to make sure something is done for you when you are sick or upon your death,
PUT IT IN WRITING and have it witnessed, but not by the person involved. 
Everything we do for ourselves now helps our families in the future.
 
Most of us really don't like talking, thinking or doing much about death. 
But I have learned that if I don't do it myself, I am leaving a huge burden on my own children.  Plan ahead.  Secure your future. 
If you need help doing this, our UNION can help by giving you the contact information.  

Cathy Montell, Shop Steward

WOMEN TAKING THE LEAD

This session discussed the happening in our economy and how our economic
realities impact lives of working women and our families. 
We explored why we have an economy that is not serving women as equals to men.
  We as women must educate and motive women to take action regarding this matter.
  Women today earn 77 cents for every dollar a man earns.  They also discussed at great length the bill
before legislation regarding if convicted of a felony, our pensions could be taken away from us. 
Firemen and teachers are excluded from this bill

Region One Workshops May 2015
Health Insurance Update
May 8, 2015 

Sal Cecere, 3rd VP

This workshop was about the future of health care for CSEA members.  A lot of us don’t pay attention to this because we currently have excellent benefits and don’t’ think that will change.     Soon CSEA statewide will be negotiating a new health care contract, which is the contract that the Town of Oyster Bay will follow.  The Federal Health Care Reform Bill could change a lot of things.  In 2018, there will be a 40% tax imposed on Cadillac health care plans that exceed the allotted cost. In a local government, who picks up that cost?  It could become a significant bargaining issue for future contract negotiations.
I thought this workshop was going to be very boring, but presenters Scott Futia and Dawn Dugan of the CSEA Health Benefits Department did a great job of making a complicated topic informative and easy to understand.

Leading the Way 
May 9, 2015
Pat Davino, 1st VP
Leading the Way is a question and answer session where the local and unit officers get to ask the regional and state officers questions on what is new in CSEA and what we can to look forward to in the future. The panel consisted of Nick LaMorte, Region 1 President, Ron King, Region 1 Executive Director, Kathy Garrison, Region 4 President, Michael Sheldon, Region 4 Executive Director, Flo Trippi, Region 6 President, and Joe McMullen, Statewide Treasurer.
The workshop went in many directions as the questions were asked, such as needing extra assistance in contract matters, to where we see our union in the future and how to get us there. Each panel member took a turn answering the questions, which gave us different ways of looking at things.

Children of Hope
May 8, 2015 

Brigid Hand, 2nd VP

This workshop was very informative.

The AMT Children of Hope Baby Safe Haven Foundation was founded by members of the Ambulance Medical Technicians of the Nassau County Police Department. After a series of cases of infanticide in Nassau County, the emotional impact began taking its toll on the technicians as well as the community. They looked for a level of closure, peace and hope. Looking after these unfortunate victims of a society gone astray through a dignified burial gave them a sense of healing from this pain. The focus was turned toward the despondent people who would commit such a horrible desperate act. The efforts to enlighten these people to other means of solving their problems is the driving force of the Foundation.
Without regard to race, color, age, creed or national origin, and in the capacity as EMS providers, they help save the lives of infants who have been abandoned. The Foundation acts a Safe Haven and accepts newborns from a parent or guardian who wishes to relinquish custody. They will refer to the appropriate government agencies and other non-profit social service agencies capable of providing advice and counsel to pre-and postpartum people if the need arises.
Arrangement is made for the dignified burials of abandoned and unclaimed deceased infants or children, alone or in conjunction with appropriate governmental agencies or other charitable organizations.

Next Wave
May 7, 2015
Betsy Healey, Executive VP
The Next Wave workshop was presented by Region One Next Wave Chairperson Guadalupe Johnson and Vice Chairperson Jarvis T. Brown.  It was an excellent workshop that focused on engaging the members of CSEA about present and future issues of both CSEA statewide and their own local areas.  The Next Wave movement is not just for young people; it’s for anyone who has 10 or so years of employment left, or anyone who cares about the negotiation of their next contract.
Participation was key because the concerns and comments from the audience steered the direction of the workshop.  In break-out groups we had to figure out how to engage the members of our own Locals about what’s going on, and why they should become aware and involved in their own future.  We then shared our ideas with the rest of the room.  Thanks to this workshop I have more knowledge and skills to use when I try to engage the members of Local 881.

 

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