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November 28, 1994

1994.11.28: ALAA/1199 News Update

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ALAA/1199 News Update
November 28, 1994 Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/Legal Aid Chapter of 1199 568 Broadway, Rm. 702A, NY, NY 10012-3225•212.343.0708•FAX 212.343.0966

Political Developments

On Wednesday, November 23, the City Council voted to amend Mayor Giuliani’s budget modification to replace some of the Mayor’s proposed cuts with equivalent reductions elsewhere.  The Council’s budget completely restores the Mayor’s proposed Civil and Volunteer divisions cut, as well as $2 million of the proposed $12.5 million cut (or $17 million cut, under the administration’s proposed contract) for the Criminal Defense Division and Criminal Appeals Bureau.

The Mayor, however, says that he will implement his plan without the Council’s amendments.  Until this dispute is resolved, therefore, the impact of the Council’s budget restorations remains unclear.

ALAA Makes Financial Proposal to Board

Since November 21, the ALAA/1199 joint fiscal consultant has been examining the Society’s books with the full cooperation of Society personnel.  Meanwhile, in an effort to resolve the status of Legal Aid’s City contract, on November 23 ALAA conveyed to the Board of Directors a modified economic plan under which City funding for CDD and CAB would be reduced by a maximum of $7 million.  Of that amount, ALAA proposed that the Society absorb $5 million (in part by eliminating the proposed CDD “team leader” differential) and that ALAA members contribute $2 million through:  1) voluntary attrition ($.5 million);  2) foregoing the 2% bonus in FY95 ($645,000); and 3) additional contributions ($900,000) to be chosen by the membership at a later date.

The Union conditioned its proposal on:  1) eventual recapture of ALAA contributions; 2) a guarantee that there would be no ALAA or 1199 bargaining unit layoffs (as opposed to voluntary buy-outs) in any division through the end of this fiscal year (June 30, 1995); 3) safeguards for current bargaining unit members in the event of subsequent layoffs; and 4) full Union access to Society books on an ongoing basis.  The Union offer was also conditioned on rejection of City proposals to compromise continuity of representation and/or the right to strike.  As with all contract negotiations, final Union agreement to any proposal is subject to membership ratification.

The Board of Directors communicated this offer to the Giuliani administration on Wednesday afternoon.

CDD/CAB Reorganization

The ALAA Bargaining Committee will meet tomorrow night to finalize  a response to the Board’s proposal for CDD reorganization.  All affected CDD offices should convey their views to BC members before then.  Union proposals for CAB reorganization are under discussion with Board and Management representatives.

NLRB Case

On Wednesday, Union counsel met in Washington with NLRB General Counsel Fred Feinstein to discuss potential remedies for the Giuliani administration’s conduct during the strike.  A decision by the General Counsel will be forthcoming.

November 21, 1994

1994.11.21: ALAA/1199 News Update

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ALAA/1199 News Update
November 21, 1994 Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/Legal Aid Chapter of 1199

568 Broadway, Rm. 702A, NY, NY 10012-3225•212.343.0708•FAX 212.343.0966

Political Developments

On Friday, representatives of the Unions, Board and Management met with the finance staff of City Council Speaker Peter Vallone.  Today, Council members will receive a new fact sheet prepared by Ivar Goldart refuting inaccurate testimony of Criminal Justice Coordinator Katie Lapp.

The City Council may vote on Giuliani’s proposed budget modification as early as Wednesday.

Union/Board Discussion

On Friday, 1199 and ALAA representatives met with the Board concerning the impact of City budget cuts on support staff.  Also on Friday, the Board gave final approval to opening the Society’s books, which will be examined by the Unions’ professional consultant starting today.

Yesterday, ALAA and 1199 representatives met again with Board leadership.  The Board detailed its statement to the City that the Society can sustain no more than $5.2 million.  The Unions expressed the desire to work together with the Board, but stated their opposition to laying off Staff Attorneys in the event of insufficient interest in a “buyout” package,  suggested that the proposed $4,000 differential for CDD team leaders be used instead to prevent support staff layoffs, and advocated that supervisors who may return to staff should have lesser seniority than current bargaining unit members for purposes of determining any future layoffs.

The meeting also further discussed the issue of LAS structural change, and the Unions will present a proposal on this issue in the near future.

Legal Developments

Union counsel will meet tomorrow in Washington with the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board to discuss the NLRB’s investigation into the conduct of the Giuliani administration during the strike.

November 17, 1994

1994.11.17: ALAA/1199 News Update

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ALAA/1199 News Update
November 17, 1994 Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/Legal Aid Society Chapter of 1199

568 Broadway, Rm. 702A, NY, NY 10012-3225•212.343.0708•FAX 212.343.0966

ALAA Executive Meeting Tonight to Review Developments

The ALAA EC will meet tonight at 6:30 at Union HQ to discuss the developments below.  This important meeting will receive a full report and consider how ALAA should respond.  All Union reps and other interested ALAA and 1199 members should attend.

City Now Wants $17 Million Cut

The Giuiliani administration apparently wants to cut $17 million from the Legal Aid criminal budget, rather than the $12.5 million cut originally proposed.  The additional cut was contained in the City’s proposed criminal defense contract with the Society (see Update, November 14, 1994), and was confirmed in a meeting yesterday between LAS president Tom Brome and NYC CJC Katie Lapp.  The justification for an even greater cut is not clear.

Society Testimony at City Council Today

This afternoon, Arch Murray will testify at the City Council’s Public Safety Committee, where he is expected to defend Legal Aid’s record and to say that the Society cannot sustain a total cut above $5-6 million.  This is a dramatic improvement over the previous public perception that the Society found acceptable a cut of $9-10 million.

Outreach

Yesterday, representative of the Unions met with Council Finance Committee chair Herbert Berman, and they will be continuing to meet with other Council members.

1199 Delegates Meet

1199 support staff delegates met last night and voted to work jointly with ALAA in all discussions with the Society over how to address the current budget crisis.  1199 representatives have been working closely with ALAA in lobbying and other outreach efforts.

Upcoming Meetings with the Board

The Unions will meet with the Board tomorrow and on Sunday.

Budget Demonstration Today

Organizations opposing the Giuliani budget modification will protest today at City Hall.

November 15, 1994

1994.11.15: Amid Turmoil, Legal Aid Names New Top Executive (NY Times)

http://www.nytimes.com/1994/11/15/nyregion/amid-turmoil-legal-aid-names-new-top-executive.html

November 15, 1994

Amid Turmoil, Legal Aid Names New Top Executive

By JAN HOFFMAN

With its future darkened both by deep budget cuts and a possible loss in status as the city’s chief legal representative of the poor, the Legal Aid Society announced yesterday the appointment of a new top administrator, the first change in that position in nearly 20 years.

Daniel L. Greenberg, 49, director of the clinical education program at Harvard Law School, will assume the role of executive director and attorney in chief, the post held since 1975 by Archibald R. Murray.

Mr. Murray, 61, said last spring that he would become chairman of the board of the Legal Aid Society.

He leaves the daily operation of Legal Aid at a difficult time. After managers voted themselves pay raises last summer and a strike by staff lawyers last month, the Giuliani administration has proposed cutting money to the Society’s criminal defense and appeals division by about 16 percent. Last week City Hall offered Legal Aid a contract with a no-strike clause and requirements for reorganization.

City Hall officials were not available for comment on Mr. Greenberg’s appointment.

“I suppose the analogy is to running into a theater just after someone has yelled fire,” said Mr. Greenberg of the timing of his new job. “This will be a hard time for clients, with some bad news within the organization, but the Legal Aid Society has been around for a long time. I’m supremely confident it will continue in a place of pre-eminence in the city.”

Stephen Myers, a managing attorney of MFY Legal Services in Chinatown, said of his former colleague of 16 years: “I thought Danny was nuts to apply, but he thinks of it as a fantastic opportunity.”

Mr. Greenberg will take the reins in a part-time capacity today, and is expected to be full time by the beginning of the year.

He was a popular, eloquent fixture in New York’s public-interest legal circles before going to Harvard in 1987. “If anyone can charm Rudy Giuliani, Danny Greenberg can,” said Abbe Smith, an associate of Mr. Greenberg’s at Harvard.

Mr. Greenberg was also a longtime managing attorney at MFY, a federally financed program that provides representation to the poor in civil matters. He is a past president of the New York chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, an association of progressive lawyers.

While Legal Aid represents the indigent in a wide variety of matters, its biggest responsibility is in criminal defense, an area in which Mr. Greenberg has not practiced. That void does not seem to be giving great pause to the people with whom Mr. Greenberg will be working.

“He has spent his life in legal services and has a tremendous reputation for his commitment and leadership,” said Michael Z. Letwin, the president of the union. “We can’t think of anyone we’d rather have lead the society.”

Mr. Murray, the outgoing chief of the society, reflected yesterday about what he considered his achievements during his 19 years there. He said that he had improved workplace conditions for staff lawyers, which he said had been substandard.

“I have no regrets,” he said. Addressing the Society’s current problems, he said, “I wish it hadn’t happened but it has. We’ll grapple with it.”

November 14, 1994

1994.11.14: ALAA/1199 News Update

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ALAA/1199 News Update
November 14, 1994 Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/Legal Aid Society Chapter of 1199

568 Broadway, Rm. 702A, NY, NY 10012-3225•212.343.0708•FAX 212.343.0966

Annual Society Meeting Today at 4:30 p.m.

Staff Attorneys, support staff and other Legal Aid employees who want to express their opposition to City budget cuts, give-backs and/or staff layoffs [see below] should make their views known at the Legal Aid Society annual meeting today, 4:30 p.m., at 30 W. Broadway (at Park St.) in lower Manhattan, where representatives of both Unions will speak.

Danny Greenberg is New Legal Aid Attorney-in-Chief

The Board has selected Daniel Greenberg, a highly-regarded veteran poverty lawyer, as the new Legal Aid Attorney-in-Chief and Executive Director. The Unions extend a very warm welcome to Dan, with whom we look forward to working.

City Offers New Legal Aid Contract

On Thursday, the Giuliani administration gave the Board of Directors a proposed new contract between Legal Aid and the City. The proposed contract includes previously-announced budget cuts, an “arraignment bureau” which would violate continuity of representation, elimination of the Society’s role as primary defender, and a demand that the Unions agree to no-strike clauses.

Unions Meet with Board

On Friday, ALAA Bargaining Committee and 1199 support staff representatives met with members of the Legal Aid Board of Directors concerning the Board’s proposals about the City’s budget cuts and to restructure CDD. The Board’s presentation was essentially the same as that which it presented informally earlier in the week [see ALAA Update, November 10, 1994]. In response, the two unions stated the following:

City Cuts. Joint Union/Management efforts to lobby against the administration’s proposed cuts are jeopardized when the Board concedes substantial cuts publicly [see Saturday’s New York Times] and in discussion with the City. The Board should stand shoulder to shoulder with staff to oppose such cuts, rather than displaying a willingness to implement them. If cuts do ultimately occur, Union members – including those at the Volunteer Division – should not have to pay for them with layoffs and/or givebacks.

CDD Reorganization. CDD reorganization is necessary, but the Board’s team proposal raises important questions in regard to continuity of representation, staffing feasibility, the role and selection of team leaders, and of supervisors.

Discussion will be continued at a meeting this Sunday.

Outreach

On Thursday, Union and Management representatives met jointly with Queens Boro President Claire Shulman. They will meet tomorrow with the staff of City Council Finance Committee, and on Thursday will testify at the Council’s Public Safety Committee. ALAA is submitting an op-ed piece to the New York Times in response to its editorial which endorsed the administration’s proposals for Legal Aid. It will also respond to last week’s Newsday op-ed by Chester Mirsky which advised the City to give Legal Aid’s work to the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem.

Legal Action

On November, Union counsel will meet with the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board in Washington concerning its investigation of the City’s conduct during the strike.

November 12, 1994

1994.11.12: Giuliani Sends Contract Offer To Legal Aid (NY Times)

http://www.nytimes.com/1994/11/12/nyregion/giuliani-sends-contract-offer-to-legal-aid.html

NY Times, November 12, 1994

Section: 1

Giuliani Sends Contract Offer To Legal Aid

JAN HOFFMAN

Six weeks after steamrolling over a strike by staff lawyers for the Legal Aid Society and threatening to stop doing business with them altogether, the Giuliani administration has offered the organization a new contract with strict terms like a no-strike clause, monthly and quarterly audits, a taut budget and creation of a bureau to handle new cases more expeditiously.

Officials for Legal Aid staunchly maintained that the proposed contract, which will pay the Society $62.4 million a year, preserves the nonprofit organization’s standing as the primary representative for the city’s indigent criminal defendants. But the Giuliani administration made it clear that City Hall was keeping its options open.

One clause in the contract gives the city the power to replace parts or all of Legal Aid’s services. In addition, Katie Lapp, the city’s criminal justice coordinator, has said that her office will solicit bids from other lawyers groups, like one in Staten Island, who want to defend the poor.

Officials for the society acknowledged that they had limited leverage in trying to negotiate changes in the contract, which is expected to be signed by year’s end. Michael Iovenko, a banking lawyer whose term as president of the society ends next week, said his strongest argument was that while Legal Aid needs the city, the city also needs Legal Aid. The city has a constitutional obligation to provide indigent defendants with lawyers; alternatives to Legal Aid, he said, would be more costly.

Particular elements of the two-year contract, he said, were troublesome. One clause asks the management of Legal Aid to insure that employees do not strike, not only during the term of the contract but after it has run out — a requirement that some labor lawyers characterized as possibly an unfair labor practice.

 Michael Z. Letwin, the president of the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, the lawyers’ union, said he had not yet seen the 77-page contract proposal, which which city officials gave to Society management on Thursday afternoon, but that he did not believe that a no-strike clause could be sustained.

“The city had said before that they were not seeking a no-strike pledge from us,” he said. “I don’t think this will fly legally or practically.”

But Ms. Lapp, emphasizing that the contract was with management, not the union, said that if the union ever struck, “The contract would provide us with the capability of stopping their funds, seeking other services, and getting reimbursement for those funds.”

The new contract also requires Legal Aid to set aside lawyers to handle only arraignments, the initial court proceedings where defendants enter pleas and have bail hearings. Under the law, if defendants are not arraigned within 24 hours of being arrested, the case must be dismissed. A separate cadre of lawyers would expedite such cases, said Ms. Lapp, who added that Los Angeles had a similar program.

Under the new system, the defendants would be reassigned to new Legal Aid lawyers before their next court date.

But Thomas R. Brome, a corporate lawyer who will become the society’s new president next week, said such an arrangement would break up Legal Aid’s philosophy of continuity of representation, where one lawyer stays with a client from the beginning to the end of a case.

The issue is critical in felony cases, he said, “so we will push back on it.”

Still looming, and still unresolved, are the deep budget cuts that Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani said last month that he would impose on Legal Aid, with no reduction in its caseload. Indeed, the city, concerned about Legal Aid’s productivity, is asking in the proposed contract for regular audits.

Earlier this week, the society offered the city a proposal to reorganize its own ranks, in part by laying off a third of its middle managers. Another third of the managers would take pay cuts and become staff lawyers. No staff lawyers would be laid off, officials said, although some clerical workers would be cut.

But even if the Legal Aid plan, which includes buyouts and give-backs from the union, is implemented, it would shrink last year’s budget for criminal defense and appeals lawyers by only $9 million, not the $12.5 million that the Mayor had demanded.

What is certain is that by the end of the year, the structure and leadership of Legal Aid will have changed dramatically. The society has proposed that lawyers work in teams, consulting on strategies and covering for each other when court dates conflict.

And early next week the society is expected to announce a new executive director and attorney in chief, the position held by Archibald R. Murray since 1975. Last spring, Mr. Murray announced he would be leaving the post to become chairman of the board of the Society.

An article yesterday about the Giuliani administration’s proposal for a new contract with the Legal Aid Society misstated a court procedure. Defendants who are not arraigned within 24 hours of their arrest are released to be arraigned later; their cases are not dismissed.

November 10, 1994

1994.11.10: ALAA News Update

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ALAA News Update
November 10, 1994 Association of Legal Aid Attorneys

568 Broadway, Rm. 702A, NY, NY 10012-3225•212.343.0708•FAX 212.343.0966

Board Floats Cuts & CDD Restructure

At the invitation of the Legal Aid Board of Directors, ALAA president Michael Letwin met Tuesday with outgoing Board president Michael Iovenko and incoming president Tom Brome.

The Board members presented the following, which they described as a tentative thoughts in response to the City’s threat to sharply reduce Legal Aid funding, none of which was agreed to by the Union. Details of this discussion are conveyed here to dispel various rumors and disinformation that may have been subsequently circulated.

Staff Reduction.  There would be no involuntary layoff of CDD or CAB Staff Attorneys.  The Board’s position on layoff of Volunteer Division attorneys and/or support staff will depend on whether and to what degree the City Council restores funds now targeted for elimination.

Layoffs would be imposed on some 17 CDD and CAB support staff, 40 CDD investigators, 4 CAB supervisors and about one-third of CDD supervisors.  A third of the CDD supervisors would remain part of Management, while another third would return to staff, where they would be paid based on their total years of service [seniority for purposes of any future layoffs was not detailed].  The Board did not yet have a position on cuts in divisional or upper management.

Staff reductions would be implemented by the end of the year, or sooner.

Severance Packages.  Support staff would receive the severance package provided for by 1199’s collective bargaining agreement.  All other staff who accept buy-outs or who would be involuntarily laid off would receive the equivalent of the City’s severance package (cash linked to length of service, plus 6-months paid health coverage).  The Board would seek City funding for severance.

Give-backs. The Society would seek $4-5 million in Staff Attorney give-backs, while Management’s previously-suspended 4.5% increase would not be restored.

CDD Reorganization. By January 1995, existing CDD complexes would be replaced by teams of 4 attorneys and 3 support staff.  Cases would continue to belong to individual attorneys, but team members would closely consult each other, and would cover each other’s cases as necessary.

Each team would have a non-supervisory “team leader,” who would coordinate the work, a task for which she would be paid an additional $4,000 [this strongly resembles Management’s long-standing proposal for a “senior litigator” position].  Team leaders would probably be chosen by Management, and would likely be drawn in large part from the supervisors who would have been returned to staff.

CAB Workload. The workload of remaining CAB attorneys would be expected to increase by 10-12%, with possible adjustments in the quota system.

City Demands.  In response to City demands for a liquidated damages clause in the event of a strike, the Board would seek a no-strike guarantee from the Union in exchange for binding  arbitration.  Such a no-strike clause would last for the entire length of any new contract with the City, a period which could extend to many years.  The City also wants the new contract to include an “arraignment bureau,” which would violate continuity of representation after arraignment.

Union Response

Letwin informed the Board representatives that the Union could not evaluate and respond to their economic proposals until ALAA had full access to Society financial data relating to all potential options.

Pending receipt of that information, however, Letwin expressed agreement with the Board’s interest in avoiding Staff Attorney layoffs.  He suggested, however, that Union and Management should continue to oppose proposed City budget cuts, rather than focus on their implementation.

While making clear the Union’s willingness to discuss all issues, Letwin also expressed strong concerns about various elements of the Board’s proposal, including support staff layoffs in CDD and CAB, Volunteer Division layoffs, increased CAB workload, and the request for Staff Attorney give-backs.  The Union is now awaiting the requested financial data, which will be examined by ALAA’s retained financial consultant.

Letwin further conveyed the likely unacceptability of an arraignment bureau that violates continuity, and of an endless “no-strike” clause.

Letwin and the Board members did agree to convene a joint subcommittee this Friday to examine proposed CDD reorganization, which will be attended by ALAA’s president, the CDD Vice Presidents and 1199 representatives.

Political Developments

City Council Speaker Peter Vallone has released a critique of the Mayor’s budget plan that is critical of the proposal to cut Legal Aid’s budget.

Since last Thursday, Union and Management representatives have jointly met with U.S. Representatives Charles Schumer and Major Owens (Nov. 3), NYC Comptroller Alan Hevesi and the staff of Bronx Boro President Fernando Ferrer (Nov. 4), and City Councilmember Una Clarke (Nov. 7).  Today, they will meet with Queens boro president Claire Shulman.  Meetings are being scheduled with additional City Council members.

Thousands of buttons and postcards to be sent to key political figures are available from the Union office.

Job Information

The Union has now established an extensive library of materials concerning legal employment opportunities, including:  National and Federal Legal Employment Report, New York Law Journal, New York Times, Bulletin of the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee, Placement Bulletin of the Association of American Law Schools, Opportunities in Public Affairs, Legal Times, Community Jobs, Harvard Graduate Placement Newsletter, and National Law Journal.  Call Union headquarters for further information.

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