The MH/OPWDD Advisory Committee held a three-day conference in Lake George. We usually have a Town Hall meeting with the State representatives, but that really got us nowhere. Just shaking heads from the state telling us what we wanted to hear but never delivered.
This workshop was the best ever. We had Counsel Aaron Kaplan discussing triage and Daren Rylewicz talking about the future that the Janus court case could create for us as union members.
The Time and Attendance process, presented by Sharon Lovelady-Hall and Carisa Guild, was very informative and all that were present received a certified for attending. The partnership discussed all the classes and workshops that are available.
We had Fran Turner and Josh there to listen to all of us discussing lack of staff and unsafe vans that the staff have to drive when the state told us they would try to get us better ones. We also asked Fran to set up a lobby day again for us in February or March.
The last to talk to us was Adam in regards to the long fight we have ahead of us. The members have to be made aware of what will happen if we don’t stay strong as a union.
The last day we had round table discussion and all 75 leaders and representatives requested this type of a workshop rather than our town hall meetings. We are planning to have another in September 2018. A special thank you goes out to Rob Scholz and Carisa Guild for helping us put this together.
Working together keeps us stronger, this Advisory Committee has been together since the 70’s and we have always fought together and we are ready to fight again.
Officers on the training:
"We went to Lake George for a training on the new parts of the contract , to discuss the Justice Center and the triage process for Time and Attendance and Discipline Grievances. We had good trainers who gave us examples of past time and attendance issues and how to deal with the Justice Center investigators. The difference between criminal and non-criminal issues and when we can get involved and when we need to refer the member to legal counsel. We also talked about the Junas case in the supreme court that could impact all unions and the services we could lose as members. These discussions were led by lawyers from the legal department . They did a good job explaining these issues to us. We also got to meet new people from other locals around the state and the issues they face and help them work through it and to let them know we are available to help when needed. All and all a good training"
I recently attended a meeting for OPWDD/MH committee. There were several areas of discussion during the meetings. One of which was focused on the current CSEA never quit campaign. The long and short of this campaign is to inform CSEA members across the state of the importance of remaining a dues paying member of CSEA no matter what happens in the upcoming supreme court case. When the case gets decided in 2018 members may have the option to stop paying their dues. Should a member decide that they want to stop paying they will lose several of their rights. Some of the rights are the right to vote in elections, the right to hold an office in their local, the right to use other services such as the buyers edge, union plus credit card and many other valuable things that CSEA offers and provides to the members. There will be postcards available for all members to sign committing that they will never quit their UNION. All CSEA members are being encouraged to sign and return the cards.
There was also a training delivered by the partnership for education about all the programs and grants that they offer. This was very informative as there are several new officers in many CSEA locals at this time. This afforded the partnership the time to encourage all locals to utilize their services as this is part of their negotiated contract and can only benefit the members if they are used.
I was included in classes in November for several days. These classes started with learning more of the Justice Center and our last class was about the Janus case that is in the Supreme Court.
One of the new tools that I took away from one of our classes was how to make a chart to keep track of the Grievances that are of the same nature, and have been answered by the hearing officer so that we can get theses Grievances settled in a timely fashion.
We also heard that all of us Activist have one hard road ahead to make sure we do not loose our members that are paying dues and to educate the shop fee payees on why they really need to become members.
The most interesting presentation at the MH/MR meeting was given by Fran Turner regarding the legislative challenges we are facing.
The MH/OPWDD Advisory Committee Conference was held from November 1 4th to the 17th. We discussed expedited arbitration process, time and attendance, justice center overview, partnership, and member engagement.
The most important thing that I learned was keeping our union members informed about all the changes that are coming our way and how important it is for us to stand together. We talked about the upcoming the case of Janus vs AFSCME and how it will affect our union and its members. If the members did not pay their dues there will no union and we would lose many benefits that we have all fought hard to get and keep.
For instance, our dental and eye program. Did you know that a root canal at the dentist is one year of union dues that you pay? Not to mention the benefit of having our union to protect your job!