ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

March 27, 1995

1995.03.27: ALAA/1199 Update #27

[Download .pdf version: 27update]

FAX Operator: Please deliver immediately/Union Reps:  For all ALAA & 1199 Members

ALAA/1199 Update #27
 

March 27, 1995

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

More Layoffs Proposed in Society Plan

Staff Attorneys.  Based on further calculations, the Society has increased by 12 the number of Staff Attorneys it proposes to lay-off in the event that it loses all $10.8 million in State funding now at risk.  The revised calculations would bring the total number of CDD Staff Attorney lay-offs to 86 instead of 74.  The impact falls directly on the September 1993 class, which would lose 13, rather than 1, of its 26 members.

Support Staff.  The Society has also informed 1199 that the previously-reported number of Support Staff lay-offs was too low, and that the accurate figures will be provided shortly.

ALAA Details its Proposals

In last Friday’s bargaining session, ALAA detailed its previous proposals and explained that the only chance to maintain the Society’s position as primary criminal defense provider and teaming program is to retain its case-handlers – Staff Attorneys and Support Staff – if necessary, by dramatically reducing the Management/Staff ratio.

In order to maintain the quality of client representation under this scenario, ALAA proposed the following staff-based training/mentoring program, which draws in part on the way in which these tasks are carried out in the Civil Division:

Cross-Divisional Joint Training Committee.  Modification and expansion of the existing contractual provision for training committees in each division (Art.VII(E)(4)), by creation of a Joint Union/Management training committee made up of representatives from CDD, CAB and JRD, the three divisions which conduct criminal defense.  Reflecting previous ALAA bargaining proposals, this committee of Managers and Staff Attorneys would develop integrated training programs rooted in inter-divisional contact and hands-on experience;

Complex Staff Trainers.  Creation of a Staff Attorney Trainer position in each CDD complex, with particular responsibility for coordinating training of more junior attorneys.  Openings for the position would be posted in advance and candidates would be selected by local joint Union/Management committees.  The Staff Trainer would remain a bargaining unit member, would receive no additional compensation, and would be exempt from at least 1 monthly arraignment assignment in order to adequately conduct training;

Mentoring Partners.  Assignment within each CDD team of senior and junior attorneys for mentoring purposes; and

Inter-divisional Resource Exchange.  Matching of CAB and CDD Staff Attorneys to exchange expertise by providing a ready source of legal advice for trial attorneys, and an opportunity for CAB and JRD attorneys to second-seat CDD trials.

ALAA also proposed additional specified cuts of at least $.5 million in Central Administration (i.e. 22d floor Park Row); no 1199 lay-offs at CAB; and, if necessary to avoid layoffs, transfer of CDD Staff Attorneys to an estimated 16 open positions in other divisions.

Negotiations will resume this Wednesday afternoon.

1199 Details its Proposals

Also on Friday, the 1199 Bargaining Team has proposed that, if need be, Support Staff jobs should be saved through the following changes in Exempt and Management positions:

Central Administration.  Eliminate 1 of each of the following:   auditor,  executive chief of administration,  comptroller,  assistant comptroller,  accounting director,  manager,  assistant manager accounts payable,  accounting director,  junior accountant,  library director,  assistant library director,  human resources personnel assistant,  senior buyer,  public information position,  development office position,  counsel,  deputy counsel, facilities management executive secretary.  Merge Public Information into Development Office and move Workforce Diversity Director into Human Resources as a part-time position;

CAB.  Eliminate:  2 Management attorney executive secretaries, 1 support staff personnel director, 1 support staff assistant personnel director, 1 paralegal supervisor, 1 word processing supervisor, 1 PRDU office manager, 1 social work supervisor, 1 mailroom supervisor, 1 computer assistant director, 1 computer administrator;

CDD.  Eliminate: 1 support staff personnel director, 1 assistant personnel director, 1 computer systems administration position, 1 computer systems director, 1 Bx office central records supervisor, 2 Bx office complex administrators, 1 Bk office complex administrator, 1 Bk office court service assistant supervisor, 1 Bk office deputy boro administrator, 1 Bk office word processing supervisor, 3 Man. office complex administrators, 1 Man. office CSA/Data supervisor, 1 Man. office word processing supervisor, 1 Qns office complex administrator, 1 Qns office CSA/Central Records supervisor, 1 Qns office data entry supervisor.  Staff Attorney Voluntary Measures Would Yield Savings

The Society reports that as of Friday afternoon, Staff Attorney response to questionnaires showed that:

●36 would take a voluntary leave of absence for periods up to three months, for a savings for $200,000;

●41 would accept buyouts, for a savings of about $2 million (at an average salary of $50,000); and

●20 would go on a shortened work week, for an unknown savings.

It costs about $200,000+/week to employ the attorneys at risk.

ALAA Establishes Hardship Fund

The ALAA Executive Committee has established a hardship fund in the event that Staff Attorneys are laid-off.  Please send checks to ALAA, with a note to indicate they are intended for this fund.  Should lay-offs not occur, contributions will be promptly refunded.

Lobbying and Outreach Continues

Delegations and Letters.  As Union and Society lobbyists continue to work for fund restoration in Albany, all LAS employees and friends are reminded to join delegations to NYC legislative offices being coordinated by ALAA member Christina Swarns (Manhattan CDD, 602-533), and to send individual letters of support for funding by immediately contacting contact ALAA member Sandra Engle (CAB, 577-577-3420), who will produce and send out 1 or more letters over your signature.

●Support From Dennis Rivera.  On Thursday morning, 1199 President Dennis Rivera met with 1199 delegates, ALAA and the Society to discuss ways to increase the pressure for restoration of Legal Aid funds.  Rivera agreed to coordinate  a letter to State officials, and offered to fund an advertisement in the New York Times.

Weekly News.  A short article co-authored by the two unions has appeared in the Weekly News, a newspaper published by 1199 and other unions, and which is distributed free to hundreds of thousands of people at subway stations and other locations.

1199 and ALAA Support Battle for Public Education

1199 and ALAA each  organized support for CUNY, SUNY and public school students who last week protested devastate budget cuts proposed by the Pataki and Giuliani administrations.

On Thursday afternoon, 1199 president Dennis Rivera spoke to some 20,000-30,000 students rallying at City Hall Park.  The rally was also addressed by ALAA president Michael Letwin, who later organized a safe withdrawal by, and sought release of, students under attack by some 3,000 police equipped with riot gear, horses and motorcycles.

About 60 students were arrested, 6-7 of whom have been charged with such felonies as assault 2˚ (assault on a police officer) and resisting arrest.  Police also maced and beat scores of other students.  On Friday, CDD Special Litigation director Michelle Maxian brought a writ to ensure the release of the students who were put through the system.

On Friday afternoon, 15-20 ALAA members from CAB helped to prevent similar police violence by quickly responding to an emergency call for legal observers at a rally of hundreds of higher school students in City Hall Park.

Please contact ALAA HQ if you can represent the students in criminal and/or civil actions, and/or are willing to serve on a newly-established Legal Observer Committee.

Space Available for Labor Notes Conference

Last week, the ALAA Executive Committee voted to send the Union’s third consecutive delegation to the national Labor Notes Conference, which will be held on April 28-30 in Detroit.

Labor Notes, which is distributed to ALAA Union representatives, is a monthly newsletter that presents news and discussion about re-building the strength of the labor movement, especially through rank-and-file movements to democratize their unions.  Its bi-annual conferences are attended by about 1,000 labor activists representing many different unions, and is particularly relevant to the larger political and economic context in which we now operate.

Depending on its size, the ALAA delegation may travel by surface transport.  Registration, hotel and other related expenses will be paid for a limited number of members.

If you are interested, please call ALAA HQ by this Friday afternoon.

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