ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

June 29, 2004

2004.06.29: No to Givebacks

From: Azalia Torres
Sent: Tuesday, June 29, 2004 6:01 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: No to Givebacks

The Executive Board is recommending (9-0-2) that members vote tomorrow to approve elimination of employer-paid TransitCheks and for a two-year “deferral” of July’s 1.5% bonus.  The EB hopes this will convince the Legal Aid Board to withdraw layoffs for attorneys in the Civil and Volunteer Divisions. The EB also recommends serious limits on CDD comp day accumulation, in order to head-off the Board’s threat of unilateral changes.

We believe voting “yes” is a serious mistake.

Last year, Management reneged on its promise of 3% salary increases, to be funded by $8.6 million city budget increases in each of two years won by the unions.  Now that our unions have won an additional $11 million, are we going to just roll over without a fight?  This would set a very dangerous precedent, particularly as we confront a hostile Board seeking further concessions.  Furthermore, the proposed givebacks do not even protect us from additional Board extortion.

Instead, let’s join 1199 to fight for withdrawal of all layoff notices – in both unions – without givebacks.  Let us:

1.  Vote “no” to givebacks.

2.  Demand a two-week suspension of layoff notices to negotiate non-concessionary alternatives.

3.  Organize very public pressure, with support from the City Council and other allies.

This kind of campaign is our only chance to save union jobs, without surrendering hard-won compensation.


Susan Morris, CDD-Brooklyn, ALAA Sgt.-at-Arms (EB) Azalia Torres, CDD-Brooklyn, ALAA Senior Attorney representative (EB) Robert Zuss, , Vice-President, CDD-Brooklyn Michael Letwin, CDD-Brooklyn Steve Terry, Alternate Delegate, Complex 3, CDD-Brooklyn

June 25, 2004

2004.06.25: Antiwar Bulletin: Bring the Troops Home Now!

Filed under: Antiwar,International Human Rights — nyclaw01 @ 8:26 am

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Friday, June 25, 2004 8:26 AM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Antiwar Bulletin: Bring the Troops Home Now!


1.  42% In U.S. Say:  Bring Troops Home Now!

2.  6/26-6/27:  NYC Protests to Bring Them Now Now!


1.  42% In U.S. Say:  Bring Troops Home Now!

Fewer than half of those surveyed — 47 percent — say the war in Iraq was worth fighting, while 52 percent say it was not, the highest level of disapproval recorded in Post-ABC News polls. Seven in 10 Americans now say there has been an “unacceptable” level of casualties in Iraq, up 6 points from April and also a new high in Post-ABC News polling. . . .

[T]he proportion who want to withdraw now to avoid further casualties — 42 percent — has inched up again to a new high.

Source:  Bush Loses Advantage in War on Terrorism Washington Post, June 22, 2004

2.  6/26-6/27:  NYC Protests to Bring Them Now Now!

Bush wants us to believe the war in Iraq will be over on June 30th, and that power will be transferred to Iraqis. But with plans to keep more than 138,000 U.S. soldiers in Iraq, the U.S. will still be calling the shots. Iraqis won’t be running their own country. The so-called “transfer of sovereignty” is a sham.

At the same time, cuts in public services from public education to Medicaid and veterans benefits continue, while billions are being diverted to a super-inflated war budget.

In addition, military recruiters are aggressively targeting low-income students, predominantly people of color, who, because they are denied access to good schools and decent jobs, have few alternatives to poverty or incarceration other than joining the military.

Take action to pressure the government to bring the troops home now and bring real sovereignty to Iraq!


What: Vigil @ Sen. Schumer’s house

When: Sun., 6/27, 7:30 pm

Where: in front of 9 Prospect Park West

Contact: 718-624-5921


What: Educational leafleting @ Chelsea Coalition on Housing Festival

When: Sat., 6/ 26, 11am- 5pm

Where: W. 17th St. between 8th & 9th Ave. (look for the



Enjoy leafleting to the sound of salsa, merengue, and son!


What: Picket @ military recruiting station

When: Sat., 6/26, 12-2pm

Where: Fordham Rd. & Grand Concourse



What: Peace vigil and educational leafleting

When: Sat., 6/ 26, 11 am

Where: Flushing, 41-17 Main St, in front of Flushing Library

Contact: Young Koreans United, 718-460 8474


What: Peace Vigil

When: Sun., 6/ 28, 5:30-6:30

Where: in front of Borough Hall

Contact: or


June 22, 2004

2004.06.22: Thursday Picket !!!

Filed under: 1199 Alliance,Collective Bargaining,Funding — nyclaw01 @ 10:32 am

From: [J.]
Sent: Tuesday, June 22, 2004 10:32 AM
To: 1199 Members
Subject: Thursday Picket !!!
Importance: High

Tell Legal Aid

STOP the Layoffs!

Informational Picket

Thursday June 24th 5 Pm to 7 PM

199 Water Street

It sounds like there’s some good news in the budget.  We know that any money that Legal Aid gets comes from the Unions efforts.  But Legal Aid hasn’t promised that the money will go for us.

This Thursday right after work, the Legal Aid Chapter off 1199 is holding a picket in front of Water Street.  We need a strong showing to tell management Not One Job, Not on Our Backs, No More Union Busting!

Invite freinds, family members, etc.  Lets make managment know that they need to listen to us!

June 16, 2004

2004.06.06: NDS v. ALAA

Filed under: 1994 Strike,ALAA History,Key Documents,Scabs — nyclaw01 @ 12:44 pm

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Wednesday, June 16, 2004 11:19 AM
Subject: NDS v. ALAA

It is certainly understandable that LAS attorneys facing possible layoff might apply to NDS.  But given the very real (and entirely predictable) threat of new RFPs for LAS criminal funding, we have an obligation to be honest about NDS’ collaboration with Giulaini’s attack on LAS (reported, e.g., in the January 9, 1996 NYLJ (attached)).

The NDS bid (on file at the Union office) played to the administration’s illegal animus by contrasting itself to the unionized Legal Aid Society:  “[W]e seek to play an integral role in the city’s effort to provide indigent defense services in a responsible manner.”  As an example, it emphasized NDS’ willingness to compromise continuity of representation, which the city administration despised as a symbol of ALAA’s hardwon improvement in representation for indigent defendants.  While NDS’ bid was unsuccessful, NDS deputy director Robin Steinberg successfully submitted a separate bid on behalf of “Bronx Defenders.”

In 1990, for exactly such reasons, the ALAA had warned:  “We believe that [NDS] deserves credit for pioneering ways to better serve indigent defendants, and that Legal Aid management should create an atmosphere that encourages such experimentation within the Society. However . . . we are concerned that this project has come about in the context of an attack on the union representation that exists at Legal Aid. . . . because the union, often on its own, has been the most ardent advocate for quality representation of indigent clients in New York City.”  ALAA History.

June 11, 2004

2004.06.11: Re: Fwd: Housing NYC: fabulous job opportunity

Filed under: 1994 Strike,ALAA History,Funding,Indigent Defense,Key Documents,Scabs — nyclaw01 @ 12:35 pm

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Friday, June 11, 2004 12:35 PM
Subject: Re: Fwd: Housing NYC: fabulous job opportunity

You’re wrong.  Just read the link below.

>>> [S.]6/11/2004 12:08:26 PM >>>

Is NDS responsible for Robin Steinberg’s betrayal after she left NDS and created a runaway shop?  As far as I know, NDS didn’t apply for any of the scab work, and has a stellar reputation for providing both criminal and civil legal services in a single community-based office.  It appears that you are confounding NDS’s former director with NDS.  Please let me know if I am wrong.

>>> Michael Letwin 6/11/2004 12:00:06 PM >>>

“Fabulous job opportunity”?  No.  Unionbusting?  Yes.  Scabs?  Yes.

When Giuliani illegally retaliated for the 1994 strike by transfering millions of dollars in LAS criminal funding from LAS to non-union shops, NDS submitted a bid.  ALAA/1199, Union Update #44 (January 21, 1997) <>

Ultimately, the awards went to other runaway shops, one of which is Bronx Defender Services — headed by former NDS deputy director Robin Steinberg.  But by seeking to benefit at our expense, NDS (and the other bidders) offered the critical legitimacy that Giuliani needed to get away with it.

And as a cumulative result of such collaboration, we now face layoffs.

>>> [M.] 6/10/2004 1:01:56 PM >>>




The Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem (NDS) is accepting applications for the position of Supervising Attorney of the Civil Team. NDS is a community based law office that provides holistic representation to residents of Upper Manhattan who are facing criminal charges.  The Civil Team provides legal representation in civil cases that are related to our clients’ arrests, primarily cases of police misconduct, housing, and child protective proceedings.  The Civil Team has also recently launched a Harlem Reentry Advocacy Project which uses litigation, community education, and public policy to assist formerly incarcerated people living in Upper Manhattan.


Handle all aspects of litigation in the child protective, housing and civil rights cases including: court appearances, drafting motions and briefs, negotiations with opposing counsel, settlement conferences, and trials.

He/she will be practicing in multiple legal forums including family court, housing court, federal court, and administrative proceedings.

Manage the Civil Team, which includes two post-graduate fellows, and a paralegal.  He/she will assess the caseload of the unit and determine when cases will be accepted.  He/she will closely supervise the two fellows on their cases including assisting with case strategy, negotiation, court advocacy, and trial preparation.  He/she will also meet regularly with the fellows to assist them in meeting the goals of their fellowships.  He/she is also responsible for monitoring the work of the paralegal, and providing her with work assignments that offer opportunities for growth.

Hire semester/summer interns and supervise their work assignments.

Work with the civil team and social work staff to develop the Harlem Reentry Advocacy Project.  This includes: leading Harlem RAP staff meetings, meeting with community organizations that work with people who are formally incarcerated,  attending coalition meetings, working with the fellows to develop community education materials and curriculums, and contacting the media to broadcast the project.

Develop proposals with law graduates for post-graduate fellowships from Skadden Arps, Equal Justice Works, and the Open Society Institute.

In conjunction with the executive director and fundraising consultants, draft grant proposals to apply for private funding to support the unit.

Conduct trainings for criminal staff on collateral consequences of criminal convictions.

Participate in planning process for new permanency part at the Harlem Community Justice Center.


3-5 years litigation experience required.  Experience in family court, housing court, or federal civil rights litigation preferred.  Applicant must have strong skills in the following areas: in court advocacy, interviewing, writing, negotiation, and trial skills.  Applicant must be dedicated to holistic practice and must be flexible in learning new areas of law and practicing in multiple forums.

1-2 years supervisory experience preferred.

Experience in fundraising and writing grant proposals is a plus.

Demonstrated commitment to working for indigent communities is required, and previous experience working with people with criminal records is a plus.  Ability to work with people in crisis is essential.

Salary is commensurate with experience.  NDS is an equal opportunity employer and applications from people of color, people with disabilities and gay men and lesbians are encouraged.

To apply please send a cover letter and resume by mail to:

Maya Grosz, Esq.

Supervising Attorney, Civil Team

Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem

2031 Fifth Avenue

New York, NY  10035

Or by email to:

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