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ALAA Union Update
March 7, 2002
568 Broadway, Rm. 702A, New York, NY 10012-3225●212.343.0708
President: Michael Letwin▼Secretary-Treasurer: George Albro▼Recording Secretary: Charlotte Hitchcock
LAS Funding Crisis
Budget Numbers…………………………………. 1
Likelihood of Success…………………………… 2
Contract and Benefits
Bar Exam, Time Off to Study…………………. 4
CDD Comp Day Grievance…………………… 4
Comp Day Related Issues……………………… 4
Computer Ergonomics………………………….. 5
Diversity and Affirmative Action……………… 5
Health and Safety………………………………… 5
Union Membership Benefits…………………… 6
Civil Liberties……………………………………… 6
Police Abuse: Louima Case…………………… 7
Rockefeller Drug Law Reform……………….. 8
Internal Union Business
ACLA Executive Board Rep…………………. 9
Bylaw Revision……………………………………. 9
Dues, Current……………………………………… 9
Dues Increase……………………………………… 9
Meeting Schedule for 2002………………….. 10
UAW Convention Delegates………………… 10
CUNY Law School……………………………. 10
Yale Law School……………………………….. 10
In Defense of Civil Liberties…………………. 12
ALAA Meeting Schedule-2002……………. 13
Note: Authors of remarks and/or questions answered here are named only where already identified in a public email or meeting.
LAS Funding Crisis
●Overview. ALAA, 1199 and the Legal Aid Society are mobilizing to oppose severe cuts in criminal and civil Society funding. Without those funds, the Society’s already-sizable deficit will widen, with potentially severe consequences for staff and clients.
This year, however, the Society and its unions stand a better chance of success than perhaps at any time since the Giuliani administration first retaliated for the 1994 strike.
●Budget Numbers. Between 1994 and 2001, the Giuliani administration systematically transferred a cumulative $160 million in CDD/CAB funds to private 18-B assigned counsel and to runaway defense contractors.
As a result, the Criminal Defense Division and Criminal Appeals Bureau are running a combined $4.6 million deficit in FY02 (ending June 30, 2002) due to: (1) Elimination of state funding for the Parole Revocation Defense Unit ($1.3 million); (2) Unreimbursed city COLA funds for collective bargaining ($2.7 million); and (3) $600,000 in unrealized attrition.
The Bloomberg administration’s intentions toward LAS are unclear. Unless significantly modified, however, its proposed preliminary FY03 budget (beginning July 1, 2002) will effectively double the Society’s current criminal defense deficit to more than $10 million.
Bloomberg’s budget also threatens Civil and Volunteer division representation by seeking to eliminate $5.25 million in citywide civil legal services funding for senior citizens, the disabled and families.
(JRD funding, which is provided by the state, remains intact.)
In July 2000, the ALAA Executive Board (EB) unanimously proposed, and the Delegate Council (DC) overwhelmingly adopted, reaffirmation of the Union’s opposition to layoffs and/or involuntary Staff Attorney transfers between or within divisions. FAQ On LAS Criminal Budget Shortfall (ALAA, Aug. 1, 2000).
Nonetheless, a worst-case scenario for the next fiscal year cannot rule out severe consequences, including-but not necessarily limited to-inter-divisional transfers and/or layoffs. At the very least, it would adversely affect the circumstances for negotiation of ALAA’s next contract, which takes effect October 1, 2002.
●Likelihood of Success.
Several recent developments offer hope for restoring LAS city funds this year. These include:
A new mayoral administration with apparently less animus toward LAS;
Strong, vocal support for LAS last year from Gifford Miller, who recently became City Council Speaker with strong support from ALAA/UAW and 1199;
Legal Aid’s demonstrated cost-efficiency advantage over 18-B and Giuliani contractors, which is particularly relevant given the huge city budget deficit; and
Two recent New York Times editorials urging restoration of LAS funds.
On the other hand, significant obstacles include:
Entrenched self-interest of Giuliani defense contractors and the 18-B panel, bred by seven years of unrelenting Giuliani largess; and
An estimated $4 billion city deficit, in response to which elected officials have already been besieged by myriad pleas for assistance.
As in previous years, therefore, it will be necessary to effectively mobilize ALAA and 1199, and their combined strength of more than one thousand members at LAS.
●Campaign. This year’s campaign will include:
Society meetings with, and testimony before, city officials;
Outreach by ALAA/UAW and 1199 leadership to elected officials;
Constituent visits by ALAA, 1199 and other LAS staff to all 51 City Council members. (In recent meetings held by Michael Letwin with CDD and CAB members in each boro, nearly 100 ALAA members have volunteered to lobby; similar meetings will also be held in other offices.)
Training for volunteer lobbyists has been scheduled as follows:
-Monday, March 18, 12:30-2:00 p.m.: Manhattan, 49 Thomas,1st Floor.
-Tuesday, March 19, 12:30-2:00 p.m.: Queens, 120-46 Queens Blvd., 4th Floor.
-Wednesday, March 20, 12:30-2:00 p.m.: Brooklyn, 111 Livingston, 7th Floor.
-Friday, March 22, 12:30-2:00 p.m.: Bronx, 1020 Grand Conc., Library.
Press outreach and public relations.
This campaign is coordinated by a committee that includes ALAA representatives George Albro, William Gibney, Charlotte Hitchcock, and Adriene Holder; 1199 representatives Irma Camacho, Lucy Herschel, Betty Hughley, Margaret McClean, and Dorothy Williams; and LAS representatives Steve Banks, Path Bath and Bernette Carway-Spruiell.
Contract and Benefits
●Bar Exam, Time Off to Study.
Q (PRP). “I plan to take the February NY bar and do not know whether I will need to take vacation days or some other kind of leave for the 2 days of the exam. Additionally, I would like to take some time off to study and don’t know whether that would be vacation time or something else.”
A. “Other than using vacation days, there is no contractual right to time off to take or study for the bar exam (The contract requires the Society to provide ‘days off’ only to second time bar takers who failed the bar on the first try and only in order to permit their participation in a Society-sponsored bar review class; see Art III, Sec. 3(B) of contract).
“On the other hand, since becoming admitted to the NY Bar is in the interest of LAS and in furtherance of your job, it may make sense to ask for some non-vacation, paid time off, at least for the 2 days of the exam.”
●CDD Comp Day Grievance. On February 21, Management informed CDD staff that it had agreed with the ALAA Executive Board’s February 5 proposal to suspend “the [new] policy regarding compensatory time payouts” pending expedited negotiation and/or arbitration of the issue. Later that day, the ALAA Delegate Council voted 15-0-4 to ratify the EB’s proposal. Report on Feb. 21 Delegate Council, Feb. 25, 2002.
●Comp Day Related Issues.
Q (JRD-Bk). “I don’t see anything [in the Union contract] that gives specifics about the mysterious-to me-thing called CDD comp. time. Please give me a brief explanation of how it works. . . . How many hours earned for doing what?”
A. “Article II, Section 3 of the 1994-1998 contract states that: ‘Staff Attorneys in CDD will earn compensatory time for working certain institutional assignments outside of regular working hours.’ This refers to arraignment shifts worked on evenings, weekends, holidays. (By contrast, attorneys receive a flat payment for working the Manhattan lobster shift, i.e., overnight).”
●Computer Ergonomics. Management is looking into ALAA’s request for accommodation of displaced members of the Prisoners Rights Project who prefer desktop PCs to laptops.
●Diversity and Affirmative Action. According to the New York County Lawyers Association’s Report of the Task Force to Increase Diversity in the Legal Profession (Jan. 2002), “[i]n the first year of the 21st century, the hiring and retention of minority attorneys and other legal professionals remains an important and unfinished goal.”
The report is available at: <http://nycla.org/publications/taskforce.html#narrative@.
●Health and Safety. (Note: 90 Church Street status is addressed in a separate March 6 report from ALAA Recording Secretary Charlotte Hitchcock).
Daniella Korotzer: “As your Health & Safety rep. on the union’s Exec. Board I am concerned that many of your health & safety issues are not reaching me. So – I want to remind you all to contact me (or ask your delegate to contact me) about any such concerns.
“This can be 90 Church St./WTC related, but doesn’t have to be. For example, if there are rodent-issues, falling elevators, security concerns, etc., please let me know. I would also hope that you all would make me aware of any changes to your health that you believe is related to the building/office you are working in. If there is a problem that affects a large group in one place, you may want to decide on one individual to be in contact with me.
I can be reached by e-mail or at (718) 243-6296.”
Q (Civil-Bx). “Can we have more information re: the [CAB] telecommuting grievance? Our supervisor told us that the Civil Division will not be granting any requests for telecommuting.”
A. “The [CAB] grievance involved division management’s decision to stop an attorney from continuing to telecommute, as do many CAB attorneys, particularly since 9-11. Since there were no good reasons given to end his telecommuting, the decision was quickly reversed upon challenge.
“More generally, the 1998 contract provided that: ‘Staff Attorneys will, in consultation with their supervisors, be permitted to telecommute to the extent consistent with the nature of their work and other staffing/work needs of the office.
Although it has limited feasibility for many jobs, particularly in trial offices, Management will facilitate telecommuting by lending a limited number of laptop computers for limited time periods; seeking group discount buying/leasing opportunities; and maintaining and expanding the remote access properties of the network’. . . .
“The above language clearly limits the right in regard to trial offices-indeed, management conditioned this provision on that limitation. The language, however, makes clear that management must reasonably consider the fact-specific ‘feasability’ of a Civil attorney’s telecommuting application.”
Q (CDD-Manh.). What are my rights to transfer to JRD or to another CDD boro?
A. “To transfer to JRD, you need to apply to Monica Drinane, the division’s attorney-in-charge. (Unlike the other divisions, there is no union-management hiring committee in JRD.) To transfer to [another CDD boro] you would apply to Susan Hendricks. (There is a joint hiring committee in CDD, but it does not deal with inter-boro transfers).”
●TransitCheks. The Society has reported that “[w]e are in process of ordering TransitCheks for the period April-June 2002. TransitCheks will be distributed on Friday, April 5.” Memo of Feb. 25, 2002 from Toni Johnson to Everyone.
●Union Membership Benefits.
Q (PRP). “I am about to apply for a home equity loan. It seems to me that I may be able to do this through the UAW? There were also other union benefit things that may be useful?”
A. Benefits of ALAA and/or the UAW membership, as opposed to those provided by Union contract, are shown on the reverse of Union membership cards as follows:
-Avis 800.331.1212 AWD #B189800.
-Buyer’s Edge Group #1324 (see brochure).
-Credit Union (UAW) 212.228.4038.
-Hertz 800.654.2210 CDP#342539.
-MasterCard (ALAA card) 800.421.2110.
-Union Privilege (loans, etc.) 800.452.9425.
●Civil Liberties. On February 21, the ALAA Delegate Council voted 19-1 to adopt In Defense of Civil Liberties, at 12, below, which states, inter alia, that “ALAA . . . supports and endorses all efforts to defend these freedoms against attacks . . . ”
This vote followed extensive membership discussion of the proposed statement, which had been unanimously proposed by the Executive Board on January 14.
In the wake of September 11, similar positions have been taken by numerous other legal, labor, civil rights and professional organizations.
Pursuant this statement, ALAA is one of several unions supporting a Day of NYC Labor Solidarity with Immigrant Detainees, which will take place on Saturday, March 23 at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn (details to follow).
Moreover, ALAA member Eve Rosahn, Parole Revocation Defense Unit, reports that “PRDU is . . . considering volunteering to defend individuals before military tribunals. We figured that we are well trained in 1) working in courts where there are no rules; 2) where the prosecutors and the judges are all paid by the same people; 3) where it’s impossible to interview our clients. We await the call.”
●Police Abuse: Louima Case. ALAA members and Frank Serpico are among the 19 signers of a letter published in the March 5 NYLJ concerning last week’s Second Circuit decision that overturned the conviction of three NYPD officers in the 1997 torture of Abner Louima.
●Rockefeller Drug Law Reform. For the second year in a row, ALAA, 1199 and LAS are mobilizing Society staff for Drop the Rock, a major effort in Albany on March 26 to repeal and/or reform the Rockefeller Drug Laws.
As outlined in a March 6 memo from Theresa de León (LAS), George Albro (ALAA) and Betty Hughley (1199), Society staff may take release time to meet with legislators on this issue. Further details are available at: <http://www.1199seiuonline.org/docs/droptherock.pdf@, <http://www.droptherock.org/DTR_Day.htm@.
Internal Union Business
●ACLA Executive Board Representative. On February 21, the Delegate Council unanimously elected Monica Dula (CDD-Bx) to fill the vacant Attorneys of Color of Legal Aid position on the Executive Board.
●Bylaw Revision. The February 21 Delegate Council elected by acclamation the following unopposed nominees to the new ALAA Bylaw revision commission: Susan Morris (CDD-Bk), Jessica Botticelli (CDD-Manh.), Peter Blum (CAB/Capital/FDD). Although the commission will now begin its work, nominations remain open for selection of one member from each of the remaining constituencies (CDD Bronx and Queens, Civil, JRD, and Volunteer). The commission, chaired by George Albro, will formulate proposals to more closely conform ALAA bylaws with UAW rules (including potential change from current flat dues, to 1.15% progressive dues; see below) and other bylaw issues to be determined.
Q (CDD-Qns). What were my Union dues last year?
A. “Union dues last year were $44.62 per month. If you were on payroll the entire year, you paid 535.44. If you were on payroll part of the year, multiply 44.62 times the number of months you were on payroll, or look at your last payroll stub in 2001, which should list the total for the calendar year. . . . Union dues is a miscellaneous tax deduction if you itemize and your total miscellaneous deductions are more than 2% of your adjusted gross income.”
● Dues Increase.
Q (CDD-Bk). Why do we have to talk about changing our current dues structure?
A. On September 28, 1995, Union members voted 221-56 to ratify ALAA’s UAW affiliation agreement, paragraph 21(4)(B) of which states: “The parties agree that it is their intent to move towards the constitutional dues requirement of 1.15 percent of salary per month, per member. . . . Any [such] increase, however, will be negotiated between the UAW and ALAA, and ratified by the ALAA membership.”
Q (CDD-Bk). How do ALAA members benefit from UAW affiliation?
A. As a result of affiliation, the UAW has, at ALAA’s request:
-Guaranteed strike benefits to ALAA members in Fall 1994-even prior to our formal affiliation;
-Provided ALAA with a cumulative $400,000 subsidy between 1995-1999, thereby insulating ALAA members from the need for yet higher dues.
-Helped in 1995 to convince elected officials, especially upstate Republicans, to restore more than $10 million in LAS state criminal funding, thereby averting layoffs for hundreds of ALAA members.
-Funded all costs (more than $100,000) of ALAA’s federal litigation challenging the Giuliani administration’s retaliation for the 1994 strike.
-Conditioned its 1998 gubernatorial endorsement on restoration of CDD/CAB city funds, the cumulative total of which has come to $21 million over four years.
-Advocated such client-related legislation as repeal of the Rockefeller Drug Laws.
-Made LAS civil and criminal funding the #1 UAW Albany lobbying priority.
●Meeting Schedule for 2002. On February 21, the Delegate Council adopted a 2002 schedule for Executive Board and Delegate Council meetings, at 13 below).
●UAW Convention Delegates. On June 2-7, the 33d International UAW Constitutional Convention will take place in Las Vegas. Convention delegates elect the UAW’s International officers and regional directors, and vote on proposed constitutional amendments, resolutions, etc. ALAA is entitled to send two delegates and two alternates.
As previously noticed, pursuant to the UAW Constitution Article and to unanimous vote of the February 21 ALAA Delegate Council, nominations must be delivered to Michael Letwin (who, due to LAS funding and other Union business, will not be a candidate for UAW Convention delegate) at ALAA HQ by March 12, 2002.
If none of the positions are contested, the nominees will be deemed elected by acclamation. If any of the positions is contested, the March 19 DC will elect a special election committee to conduct a secret-ballot membership vote in the offices.
●CUNY Law School. Full-time adjunct position in our Battered Women’s rights Clinic beginning June 2002. This clinic is one of six clinics of Main Street Legal Services, the Law School’s clinical program.
Duties of the teaching position including working with other clinical teachers in the clinical program, direct supervision of third-year students in client representation and projects; development of curriculum, simulations, and advocacy materials; and joint classroom teaching.
We are seeking a creative and experienced lawyer/teacher with a desire to work collaboratively in a diverse environment, a serious commitment to clinical teaching, and a commitment to our mission as a public interest law school. J.D. degree or its equivalent required. We are also hoping that the person hired could supervise social work students in a new program that combines social work and law on behalf of clients.
Therefore, we are especially interested in hiring someone with an M.S.W. and experience supervising social workers. While an M.S.W. is not required, experience in family law is and working with survivors of domestic violence is preferred.
Salary is $55,000-70,000 DOE and qualifications. The position is for a one-year appointment with a possibility of future appointments. EO/AAE.
Cover and resume by April 10, 2002 to: Susan Bryant, Director of Clinical Programs, City University of New York School of Law at Queens College, 65-21 Main Street, Flushing, NY 11367.
●Yale Law School. Yale Law School seeks applications for the Robert M. Cover Fellowship in Public Interest Law, a two-year position beginning on July 1, 2002 in the Yale Law School clinical program.
The fellowship is designed for lawyers with at least four years of practice who are interested in preparing for a career in law school clinical teaching. Responsibilities include representing clients, supervising students, teaching classes, and working on one’s own scholarship.
All work will be conducted with the assistance of the clinical faculty and will focus on providing legal assistance to low-income clients and organizations. This year’s candidates must be experienced transactional lawyers, interested in working with our Housing & Community Development Clinic.
Candidates must be able to work both independently and as part of a team, and must possess strong written and oral communication skills. CT Bar admission or willingness to take the July 2002 bar examination required.
In addition to a stipend of approximately $40,000, Fellows receive health benefits and access to university facilities.
Send a resume, cover letter, and names, addresses, and telephone numbers of three references by March 15, 2002 to: J.L. Pottenger, Jr., Director of Clinical Studies, The Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization, P.O. Box 209090, New Haven, CT 06520-9090; telephone: 203.432.4800; fax: 203.432.1426; or email Kathryn Stoddard: email@example.com.
AA/EO/ Title IX employer.
In Defense of Civil Liberties
Association of Legal Aid Attorneys/UAW 2325
February 21, 2002
As a labor union whose members fight each day for the statutory and constitutional rights of indigent New Yorkers, The Association of Legal Aid Attorneys, UAW Local 2325, is deeply opposed to the Bush administration’s broad assault on precious civil liberties and democratic rights. This assault mirrors other shameful periods of racial, ethnic and/or political hysteria in American history, among them the Alien and Sedition Acts (1798), Asian exclusion (1880s-1890s), “Sedition” prosecutions (World War I), the Palmer Raids (1919-1920), Japanese-American internment (1940s), McCarthyism (1950s), the FBI’s COINTELPRO war on dissent (1960s), and exclusion of Haitian and Central American political refugees (1980s).
Today, these policies are reflected in the:
- “USA Patriot Act,” which authorizes the government, without meaningful judicial review, to: designate domestic groups as “terrorist organizations”; indefinitely incarcerate or detain non-citizens based on mere suspicion; deport immigrants for innocent association with others; and violate confidential financial, medical, educational and other records without probable cause. (First, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments).
- Mass detention of more than 1200 foreign nationals-almost all of them from the Mid-East and South Asia-about whom the government has refused to provide information, who have often been denied access to legal counsel or consular officials, who suffer inhumane conditions of confinement-and virtually none of whom have been charged with terrorist acts. (Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments.)
- Detention and deportation hearings before secret immigration courts hearing secret evidence. (Fifth Amendment.)
- Coercive and discriminatory questioning of 5,000 young male legal immigrants, mostly of Middle Eastern descent, without probable cause. (First and Fifth Amendments.)
- Deportation campaign against men of Muslim and Middle Eastern origin. (Fifth Amendment.)
- Authorization by the attorney general-without judicial review-for eavesdropping on confidential attorney-client communication. (Sixth Amendment.)
- Trial of non-citizens accused of terrorism before secret military tribunals which deprive the accused of an independent forum, their chosen attorneys, the presumption of innocence, proof beyond a reasonable doubt, confrontation of evidence, exclusion of hearsay, a unanimous verdict, and habeas corpus review by civilian courts. (Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Amendments; Geneva Convention).
- Heightened FBI spying on domestic religious and political organizations. (First Amendment.)
- Open consideration of torturing prisoners suspected of terrorism. (UN Convention Against Torture, Fifth and Eighth Amendments).
History teaches that our civil liberties and democratic rights are most endangered-and most essential-during times of crisis. ALAA, therefore, supports and endorses all efforts to defend these freedoms against attacks such as those discussed above.
ALAA Meeting Schedule-2002
Rev. February 19, 2002
[NB: Checked for conflicting Jewish holidays, per <http://bnaibrith.org/caln.html>%5D
Tuesday, January 9: EB
Monday, January 14: EB
Thursday, January 24: DC
Tuesday, February 5: DC
Tuesday, February 19: EB
Thursday, February 21, DC
Tuesday, March 12: EB
Tuesday, March 19: DC
Wednesday, April 10: EB
Tuesday, May 7: EB
Tuesday, May 14: DC
Wednesday, June 12: EB
Tuesday, July 9: EB
Tuesday, July 16: DC
Wednesday, September 11: EB
Tuesday, September 17: DC
Tuesday, October 8: EB
Wednesday, November 13: EB
Tuesday, November 19: DC
Tuesday, December 10: EB
“Runaway shops” typically include “factories and other business enterprises that move away from unionized . . . areas . . . to non-union . . . areas,” Le Blanc, A Short History of the U.S. Working Class (1999) 174, or “[a] unionized plant transferred to another location . . . in order to evade bargaining obligations or to destroy a union.” Murray, The Lexicon of Labor (1998) 159.
Here, the Giuliani administration itself established defense contractors for the classic union-busting purpose of “farming out work or a phase of production, hitherto done by union members,” id., at 45, at the unionized Legal Aid Society.
These runaway defenders are:
- “Appellate Advocates” in the Second Department (Lynn Fahey);
- “Bronx Defenders” (Dan Arshack and Robin Steinberg);
- “Brooklyn Defender Services” (Lisa Schreibersdorf);
- “Center for Appellate Litigation” in the First Department (Bob Dean);
- “Queens Law Associates” (Joe Vaccarino and Laurie Zeno);
- “New York County Defenders Association” (Michael Coleman, Carolyn Wilson and Kevin McConnell); and
- “Battiste, Aronowsky & Suchow” in Staten Island.
Q & A on CDD Comp Time (ALAA, Jan. 23, 2002).
Based on this position, the DC also voted that the Union will not formulate criteria for involuntary intra-division transfers.
Transfers and layoffs related to job security are governed by ALAA Contract Article III, § 13.
A year ago, the city’s indigent defense system was critically examined in extensive N.Y. Times series that war particularly critical of 18-B representation. Drive‑By Legal Defense (editorial), N.Y. Times, April 12, 2001, at <http://www.nytimes.com/2001/04/12/opinion/12THU2.html?ex=988080833&ei=1&en=b9e1c47df1d8243b>;
Fritsch & Rohde, On Appeals, the Poor Find Little Leverage, N.Y. Times, April 10, 2001, at <http://www.nytimes.com/2001/04/10/nyregion/10LAWY.html?ex=987913258&ei=1&en=4cdd938a66b41ba5>; Fritsch & Rohde, For New York City’s Poor, a Lawyer With 1,600 Clients, N.Y. Times, April 9, 2001 , at <http://www.nytimes.com/2001/04/09/nyregion/09LEGA.html?ex=988028792&ei=1&en=07ff6fba42d79983>; Fritsch & Rohde Legal Help Often Fails New York’s Poor, April 8, 2001, at <http://www.nytimes.com/2001/04/08/nyregion/08LAWY.html?ex=988028823&ei=1&en=d4c5de3b29545b32>.
Painless Cost‑Cutting, NY Times, Jan. 30, 2002, at <http://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/30/opinion/_30WED3.html?ex=1013404601&ei=1&en=aaff606843e62c8b>; Feuding With Legal Aid, NY Times, Dec. 11, 2001, at <http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/11/opinion/11TUE3.html?ex=1009070793&ei=1&en=e870db848bbca118>.
In contrast to the New York Times, to independent oversight reports, and to common knowledge, the runaway contractors have made a concerted effort to propagate the myth that the Giuliani’s policies have improved, rather than damaged, indigent defense.
On December 15, 2001, for example, the New York Times published a letter by Bronx Defenders director Robin Steinberg opposing restoration of LAS funds on the grounds that “[then-]Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani is continuing a five‑year‑old plan that seeks only to improve the overall quality of legal services by promoting the same competition that fosters invention and progress in every other field. Alternate providers have actually enhanced the quality of justice for New York City’s poor. . . . No one is trying to eliminate the Legal Aid Society. The only thing at risk is the credibility of a system that focuses more on organizational ego than client well‑being and justice.” <http://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/15/opinion/L15LEGA.html?ex=1013605487&ei=1&en=585d0a91bebcbd77>.
In 1998, Lynn Fahey (“Appellate Advocates”) testified in 1998 that the city’s “institutional providers . . . are all very adequately funded,” and that “[i]t’s a pleasure to practice in New York City.” Test. of Lynn Fahey (Oct. 14, 1998), In the Matter of Fact Finding Hearings held by the New York State Defenders Association and the League of Women Voters of the State of New York <http://www.nysda.org/Hot_Topics/Fact_Finding_Hearings/NYC_Transcript.pdf>.
And in 1996, Lisa Schreibersdorf asserted that “Brooklyn Defender Services’ entry into the court system has even lightened the load of the Legal Aid Society’s attorneys who . . . are overworked and underpaid . . . [so that they] are now able to more effectively represent their own clients.” Affirm. of Lisa Schreibersdorf (July 16, 1996), Legal Aid Society v. NYC, No. 603291-96 (N.Y. Sup Ct.).
The Unions have played an indispensable role in opposing Giuliani’s attacks on LAS. In 1998, an intense campaign first won a $5 million restoration of LAS criminal funding. Report on New Giuliani Administration Attacks on Legal Aid Society Criminal Funding (ALAA, June 24, 1999).
As a result of Union lobbying last year, the City Council raised its LAS criminal add-on to $5.6 million, and fully restored LAS civil funds cut by Giuliani. Email of June 7, 2001 from ALAA HQ to ALAA members.
The EB had proposed that the issue by resolved through a process which would: (1) Clearly define the new policy; (2) Schedule expedited, “last‑best‑offer” arbitration to be held within a brief time‑frame (e.g., 4‑6 weeks) to resolve the limited issue of the new policy; (3) Pending arbitration, seek a negotiated resolution of the dispute; (4) Pending a negotiated or arbitrated resolution, suspend the new policy’s implementation; (5) Incorporate the results of negotiation or arbitration into the contract effective October 1, 2002; and (6) Condition final Union agreement to this procedure on ratification by the Delegate Council. ALAA Union Update (Feb. 12, 2002).
In response, Management stated that:
Subject to the Society and ALAA successfully negotiating the terms, time frames and scope of the process, the Society has agreed to submit the issue of compensatory time payouts to a limited form of arbitration, which will include a set period for negotiation between the Society and ALAA, and ultimately, if we are unable to reach agreement, the presentation of ‘last, best offers’ to an arbitrator. During this period, the Society will temporarily suspend the policy regarding compensatory time payouts, which was issued on January 7, 2002.
Memo from Theresa de León to All Staff Attorneys in the Criminal Defense Division, Feb. 21, 2002
Members present at the February 21 meeting were: David Affler (Del., CDD-M6), George Albro (Secretary-Treasurer), Danny Ashworth (Del., CDD-Bk2), Peter Blum (Alt. VP, CAB/Capital/FDD), Tom Bomba (Del., CDD-BxC), Jessica Botticelli (Alt. Del. CDD M-6), Mari Carlesimo (Alt. Del., Volunteer/CLO), Joanne Daley (Del., CDD-M1), Joseph Diflumeri (Del., CDD-Q4), Alexandra Flanders (Alt. Del., CDD-Bk3), Yvonne Floyd-Mayer (Del., Civil-Immigration), Gail Geltman (VP, CDD-Bx), Larry Gurwitch (Del., CDD-BxB), Charlotte Hitchcock (Recording Secretary), Carol Hochberg (VP, JRD), Michael Letwin (President), Nancy Little (Del., CAB), Nicholas Lundgren (Del., Volunteer/CLO), Eileen McCann (Del., Civil-SI), Susan Morris (Alt. Del., CDD-Bk3), Michael Taglieri (Alt. Del., CAB), Azalia Torres. (Alt. VP, CDD-Bk), Joseph Zablocki (Del., CDD M-6), Milton Zelermyer (Del., PRP), and Robert Zuss (VP, CDD-Bk).
The single dissent was cast by a delegate who, despite his personal support for the statement, voted the majority view of his complex. The Delegate Council also decisively rejected motions to: (1) Table the proposed statement (Zablocki/Botticelli)(hand vote); and (2) Prohibit ALAA HQ from seeking to disseminate the Union’s statement (Zablocki)(3-18-1).
Statements by such organizations include the following:
[* denotes ALAA member]
“We are a coalition of lawyers, advocates and communities concerned about police brutality. Last week’s U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit’s decision in United States v. Volpe raises serious questions about the relationship between the Police Benevolent Association, the New York Police Department and the City, and fairness of our system of justice.
“Notably, a multimillion-dollar attorney was deemed “insufficient” at a time when thousands of New York citizens are served by over-worked legal aid attorneys and $25 an-hour attorneys through the under-funded 18B system.
“An irony of this case is that many poor and disadvantaged people convicted of crimes raise the issue of ineffectiveness of trial counsel on appeal, and it is rarely a success. We hope that this decision is not another example of the special treatment of police defendants in criminal actions-special treatment that the Abner Louima assault case unearthed.
“The blue wall of silence has protected these officers yet again. The PBA lawyers participated in the blue wall of silence, and ironically, the officers’ convictions were reversed based on that fact.
“The PBA prevents criminal investigations into police officers for 48 hours after an incident-a privilege to which no other suspect is entitled. PBA agents and lawyers may be actively involved during that 48 hours in construing a story of the incident. In this instance, the PBA hired lawyers to defend the police officers, but the PBA made it clear that these lawyers’ future business relationship with the PBA depended on their ability to shield not only the police officers but also the PBA from criminal and civil liability.
“The PBA’s contractual arrangement with the firm of Stephen Worth, who represented Officer Charles Schwartz, guaranteed an ethical violation and caused reversal on appeal.
“This decision is a wake-up call to the community and New York City that it is the city’s responsibility to force the PBA to change its policies.
“When the city renegotiates contracts with the PBA, it must (1) refuse to grant police officers special privileges, such as the 48-hour rule, in criminal investigations, and (2) insist that the PBA institute an independent process of retaining counsel for police officers charged with crimes to prevent the conflict of interest that the recent decision condemns.
“We can only hope that this decision does not become yet another instance of special treatment for police offices charged with crimes, and the principles behind the decisions are now applied equally to all defendants.
[Signed] Frank Serpico, Amanda Masters, Michael Letwin [*], Michael Hardy, Craig Acorn, McGregor Smyth, Nick Lundgren[*], Margaret Baker[*], Steve Wasserman[*], Barbara Olshansky, Roberta Mueller, Vincent Serpico, Karen Dippold, Jonathan Moore, David Lansner, Christopher Weddle, Carolyn Kubitschek, Carmen Giordano, Richard Altman.”
“This year presents the best chance in many years to see reform of the draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws that have so tragically impacted the lives of many of our clients and their families for more than a generation. The Legal Aid Society, with its first-hand knowledge of the devastation caused by these laws, is in a unique position to advocate for a change of these laws. “Drop the Rock,” a lobby day and rally scheduled for Tuesday, March 26 in Albany, is an opportunity for us to educate the Legislature about the urgent need to reform these laws.
“The Society has approved release time for Legal Aid employees who will support this lobbying effort by meeting with legislators to educate them about the need for reform of the state’s drug laws. Staff who want to attend the rally but aren’t selected and trained to meet with legislators may take a personal, comp or vacation day.
“1199 will be providing buses for Legal Aid staff who are going to Albany on March 26th to lobby or attend the rally. Buses will leave from 310 West 43rd Street, Manhattan. Boarding will begin at 6:30 a.m.; the buses will depart at 7 a.m. sharp. Buses for the trip home will leave Albany at approximately 4 p.m., and should return to the City at about 7 p.m.
“In order to insure that all offices have sufficient staff for case coverage and court assignments, it is important that all staff who want to participate in the March 26th event seek preliminary approval from their supervisor ASAP. Case-handlers who have an institutional assignment or cases calendared on that day must make arrangements for coverage by a colleague.
“If you want to lobby, please send an e-mail to Bernette Carway-Spruiell once you have obtained preliminary approval of your release request from your supervisor. Bernette will coordinate appointments with legislators for Society staff. All staff who are scheduled to meet with legislators must participate in the Society’s Rockefeller drug-law lobby-day training, which will be provided before the lobbying day.
“Final approval of requests for vacation, comp or personal days will be made by Division Heads, and will be dependent on case and court coverage, and the total number of people in the Division who are seeking to go to Albany. Approval of release requests for staff who wish to lobby will be determined by those factors, as well as the number of appointments with legislators that must be covered on that day. The Society will determine how many lobbyists are needed prior to the training that will be scheduled for lobbyists. In the event that the number of people interested in lobbying exceeds the number of available slots, staff who are not selected for lobbying may elect to take a personal, vacation or comp day to participate in the rally, subject to the previously mentioned staffing concerns.
“ALAA has also been asked by the organizers of “Drop the Rock” to provide marshals and legal observers for the rally. Legal Aid employees who volunteer to do this must request a vacation, comp or personal day. ALAA will provide training for anyone who wants to do this. If you are interested in acting as a legal observer/marshal, please notify William Gibney by e-mail.”