ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

January 4, 1999

1999.01.04: ALAA Instant Update

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From: Michael Letwin

To:Everyone at the Legal Aid Society

Date: Mon, Jan 4, 1999 1212:56 pm

Subject: ALAA Instant Update

Note:You may wish to print this out for easier reading.


**Contract Negotiations

**Affirmative Action

**Health Benefit Contributions‑‑Correction

**JRD Workload Grievance

**Next EC Meeting

**Hold That Date:March 26 National Lawyers Guild **Annual Dinner to Honor ALAA 30th Anniversary

**Political Action

**Upcoming Events of Interest

**Text of ALAA Bargaining Proposals


Contract Negotiations

During January, ALAA will begin to negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement (contract) to replace that which expired on October 1, 1998 (the terms of which have continued by mutual agreement of the parties).

ALAA submitted its proposals (see below)—which are based on surveys and other membership input—to the Society immediately following their December 15 adoption by the EC (made up of officers and delegates).The contract will now be negotiated by the Union Bargaining Committee, which is made up of the ten ALAA officers (president, secretary‑treasurer and vice‑presidents) elected by the membership and up to seven issue‑specific representatives elected by the EC.The current BC was elected in April‑May 1997, during and immediately after scheduled Union elections.

The first step in negotiating the new contract is for the BC to fully articulate the Union’s proposals, both economic and noneconomic; the Society will respond shortly thereafter.Further discussion will be held as needed, during which the parties may decide to establish joint subcommittees in order to facilitate agreement on particular issues.

As in the past, the BC will fully report the progress of these negotiations to the membership, which will continue to guide the BC and ultimately vote on any agreement.

Affirmative Action

On December 1, 1998, the ALAA Executive Committee elected the following Union representatives to the Joint ALAA Affirmative Action Committee, which has the contractual responsibility of formulating and monitoring LAS affirmative action policy:Civil Division:Karen Hambrick (alternate:Helen Lee); CAB, Capital & Federal:Tim Rountree (alternates:Jennifer Tsai, Claudette Spencer); CDD/Bronx:Wadeedah Sheeheed; CDD/Brooklyn:Tara Sukhu; CDD/Manhattan:Leah Brownlee; CDD/Queens:Adina Broome; JRD:Sonya Smith; and Volunteer/CLO:Antonia Codling.

These representatives will join BC members Phyllis Cherebin (Bronx CDD) and ACLA representative Azalia Torres; Cherebin, the BC affirmative action representative, will co‑chair the joint committee.

As a result of this election, the Joint Committee was able to convene for the first time on December 7.The committee reviewed ALAA’s December 1 affirmative action grievance, in regard to which Management stated its desire to move forward expeditiously in applying relevant contract provisions.On December 17, a joint subcommittee agreed on a job description for an affirmative action officer, who will be selected by the committee, hopefully within the next two months.

The full joint committee will meet next on January 12.

Health Benefit Contributions—Correction

The previously‑announced increases in individual monthly contributions (deducted from gross, i.e., pre‑tax, salary) for the high plan did not factor in the 2% overall premium increase occasioned by the new open access (no gatekeeper) enhancement approved by the EC on December 15.

The adjusted monthly increase is .58¢ (not .41¢) for single coverage and $1.53 (not $1.06) for family coverage.

JRD Workload Grievances

On December 21, JRD management responded to office‑wide workload grievances filed in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens by announcing (1) interim steps to alleviate the crisis in each office; (2) a mid‑February class of 5‑7 new attorneys; and (3) an invitation for ALAA to participate in a joint committee during January with the purpose of examining workload, including formulation of a workload cap beyond which new cases will not be accepted.

ALAA has accepted this invitation, while preserving its right to continue the grievance.

Next EC Meeting

The next Executive Committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 26, 6:30 p.m. at ALAA HQ, 568 Broadway, Rm. 702A (@ Prince Street).All members are welcome!

Hold That Date:March 26 National Lawyers Guild Annual Dinner to Honor ALAA 30th Anniversary

On Friday, March 26, 1999, ALAA’s 30th anniversary will be honored at the annual dinner of the National Lawyers Guild New York City Chapter.

The 46‑member dinner committee to honor ALAA includes numerous leading legal, labor, community and political leaders, including David Dinkins, former U.S. attorney general Ramsey Clark, Johnnie Cochrane, Gerald Lefcourt, Dennis Rivera and many others.

The dinner will be held at the Sheraton Centre Hotel.Further details will be available shortly.

Political Action

Working Families Party.The New York State Board of Elections has finally certified the ballot status for the WFP, which garnered 51,325 votes despite near invisibility on the November ballot.

The WFP’s first order of business will be to lobby the New York State Legislature—which recently raised its own salaries by an average 40%—for an increase in the state minimum wage to $6.50 per hour.

WFP will also campaign to defend workers compensation from corporate attack.

Details, including applications for individual WFP membership, will follow.

Special City Council Election.The UAW has joined a long list of labor, tenant and community groups who have endorsed Christine Quinn in the 3rd City Council District (Greenwich Village, Clinton, Chelsea).

The special election will replace outgoing councilmember Tom Duane, who has been elected to the State Senate.

Quinn is executive director of the NYC Gay and Lesbian Anti‑Violence Project and Duane’s former chief‑of‑staff.She has a strong pro‑labor and pro‑tenant record and close ties to the Working Families Party and its affiliates.

To petition and/or participate in other campaign activities, please contact George Albro at ALAA HQ.

Upcoming Events of Interest

January 16, 9 a.m.‑6 p.m.Symposium on Affirmative Action in honor of Arthur Kinoy, sponsored by the Center for Constitutional Rights.Columbia University Law School, Rm. 104‑106, 435 W. 116th Street (1, 9 to 116; walk east to Amsterdam, entrance is on 116).Information:212.614.6464

January 21, 6‑8 p.m.People with Mental Illness in New York’s Criminal Justice System.NYU Ehrenkranz School of Social Work, 1 Washington Square North (NE corner of the park), The Parlor.RSVP:Laura Davidson (Correctional Association), 212.254.5700.

1998 ALAA Bargaining Proposals

(Adopted by the Executive Committee, December 15, 1998)

1.Salary (Specifics to Await Budget Analysis)

1.1Across‑the‑board increase for attorneys at all steps, with floor comparability with runaway defenders.

1.2Extension of number of steps above 13.

2.Other Compensation

2.1Compensatory time.

2.1.1Extend to work other than arraignments.

2.1.2Extend to all divisions.

2.1.3.Increase buy‑back limit.

2.2Vacation cash‑in, i.e., right to sell‑back rather than lose days.

2.3Increase lobster shift pay.

2.4Loan forgiveness program.

2.5Transit cheque as permanent benefit.

2.6Travel reimbursement.

2.6.1Increase auto expense payment to current IRS rate.

2.6.2Eliminate dollar limit on taxi reimbursement.

2.6.3Taxi reimbursement for all divisions.

2.7Tuition reimbursement for work‑related language education.

2.8Make payment of attorney registration fees permanent.

2.9Increase pension contribution.

3.Health Benefits

3.1Lift level of proportion of Society premium contributions.


3.2.1Unmarried opposite‑sex partners (as per NYC language).



3.3.1Improved dental/vision coverage.

3.3.2Improved mental health coverage.

3.3.3Cover birth control‑related expenses without deductible or limit to particular method.

4.Other Insurance

4.1Increase life insurance benefits.

4.2Long term disability.

4.2.1Seek payment on a tax‑free basis.

4.2.2Apply current rate to anyone already on disability at time of last increase.

5.Affirmative Action

5.1Hiring and promotion goals.

5.2Work credit for Staff Attorney participation in community outreach program.

5.3Deadline for AA plan completion.

6.Quality of Representation

6.1.Caps on individual attorney workload (cases & institutional assignments) in all divisions.

6.2Reaffirm and strengthen commitment to continuity representation in all divisions.

6.3Full training in all basic practice areas for all new attorneys, by division.

6.4Paid leave for training events.

6.5On‑site mandatory CLE training courses, or reimbursement for mandatory off‑site training.

6.6Full library/librarian service to all offices.

6.7Relevant McKinneys sets for each attorney.

6.8Computerization of all offices.

7.Health & Safety

7.1Office security.

8.Quality of Work Life

8.1Part/half time/job sharing.

8.1.1Expand eligibility to all divisions/units.

8.1.2Fully paid benefits for 50%+ time.

8.1.3Full seniority accrual for 50%+ time.

8.1.4Expand scope beyond childcare.

8.2Time off.

8.2.1Paid parental leave.

8.2.2Personal days.

8.2.3Paid sick leave to care for ill family members [pool?].

8.2.4Permit private practice during LOA, subject to conflict analysis.

8.3Third chance for bar passage and paid leave for preparation.

8.4Replace current two‑part probationary period with one six month period that includes 4 month evaluation, right to grieve but not arbitrate.

8.5Expand bereavement to current 1199 formula.

9.Union Representation

9.1Right to invoke work‑relief in each unit for designated representatives.

9.2Retroactively remove time limit on right to return to bargaining unit following Union leave.

9.3Paid salary & benefits for Union staff.

9.4Union printing of all Society materials, where costs are not prohibitive.

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