ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

November 29, 2006

2006.11.29: Tomorrow’s Contract Vote – Which way forward…

From: L.Antonia Codling
Sent: Wednesday, November 29, 2006 6:44 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Tomorrow’s Contract Vote – Which way forward…

I don’t think that any one of us could accurately predict our future one way or the other after tomorrow’s vote.  So the question for me is, as a 9 year veteran of the Executive Board (who is about to retire), whether the members are prepared to stand up for any Union principles — ever (if not in this K, when).

Just over 2 years ago we stood quietly by as prior management ran this organization nearly into bankruptcy — not only did we remain silent about the corruption, we joined the Society to successfully lobby for millions of $ to save this organization.  We have never waged a successful fight against management to address the 86% and 88% K they entered into with the City;  we have never, ever waged a successful struggle against the 200+ clients that JRD is forced to represent.  We have been unsuccessful at securing meaningful flex time or comp time in non-CDD Divisions.  We recommened givebacks when our junior staff is faced with layoffs —  we recommend givebacks when nobody is presently facing layoffs…   We need to determine our bottom line — We need to determine what we stand for and what we’ll fall for.

If now is not the time, then when?   If we vote yes tomorrow, and LAS still does not get the RFP work in Brooklyn or CAB, what will we be willing to fight for next year — to do more work with less money in order to save jobs?  Will we give back our 2006 “bonuses” to save this institution — one that does not even respect us enough to give us a non-voting seat on its Board.

ALAA has a history.  Every member is given a Union packet when they arrive.  Active or not, union dues are deducted from each of our paychecks.

I have already announced my recommendation to the members to vote “no” (reasons and suggestions in subsequent email).  However, at this time, I don’t care how the majority of the members vote.  If the majority votes for this K tomorrow, then clearly the majority perceives that now is not the time to fight for anything.  But when do we stand in solidarity together — when do we struggle to fight for a better LAS for ourselves and our clients?

2006.11.29: If the Majority Votes “No”… Suggestions for Further K negotiations

From: L.Antonia Codling
Sent: Wednesday, November 29, 2006 10:50 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: If the Majority Votes “No”… Suggestions for Further K negotiations

Based upon the UAW audit, most EB members conclude that there is no more money that we could squeeze out of LAS if we vote, “No”.  As everyone knows however, LAS did (backhandedly) put $250,00.00 from its operational budget on the table in order for us call off our informational leafletting at the LAS annual meeting.

Furthermore, I personally have a few unanswered questions that were not addressed during negotiations.  I sat on the noneconomic bargaining committee (and 1 session of economic bargaining).  I asked the economic bargaining committee members raise the following questions:    1.  Re:  management/ exempt former pension (whether or not it is being invested to cover any defecits therein;  and 2. Management positions that were created after the 2004 ALAA givebacks (i.e., is there any “fat” in the LAS budget that could be cut to free up money or reallacuted to cover staff concerns of undersupervised units).  These questions were never raised to management…

Do I believe that we’ll get a better economic offer if we vote “no” — maybe not.  Do I believe we could and should have been a little more aggressive during negotiations — Absolutely.  Moreover, there have only been approximately 3 “bargaining” sessions between ALAA and management.  We should press the above questions and any others from the membership.   The majority of us are certainly not here to get rich.  So, whether we get more money or not, the noneconomic issues are worth fighting for in order to improve conditions for us and our clients.

Here is a summary of the noneconomic issues and the reasons I think we should press these issues:
1. LAS’s refusal to allow ALAA a seat on its Board
The Board’s failure to seriously entertain this issue is a clear sign of disrespect.  No credible reason has been given as to why ALAA cannot have a seat on the Board, or why they will not reserve seats on the Board for community leaders (other than, they don’t want to agree to this…).   This is a noneconomic issue that the Board should just concede — for reasons too numerous to mention, this would be good for us and our clients.

2. Loss of personal days for CAB
We should stand in solidarity with CAB.  The unequal benefits to our members already creates divisions.

3. Only 2 start date for leave of absences (May and September) This substantially changes the terms of our K (we presently have to give only 90 days notice to request a LOA — this can be extended by management.  However, a leave can be sought anytime during the year).  There is absolutely no credible reason for this giveback/concession.

4. Use of pre-April 2005 banked comp time during a LOA for people not seeking maternity or family medical leaves.
THIS DEMAND FOR A GIVEBACK FROM MANAGEMENT IS A PROVISION WHICH SHOULD NOT HAVE EVEN BEEN THE SUBJECT OF BARGAINING — WITH A “YES” VOTE, ALAA WILL LOSE THE RIGHT TO CHALLENGE THIS FOREVER!

5.  Raise vs. “Bonus”
(A “bonus” represents money that does not go into the base and pension of steps 5+).  If you plan to remain beyond step 5, this should concern you…
LAS’s rationale for not agreeing to a raise for steps 5+ is as follows:  We just got a raise in 7/05, hence LAS will not look good during the RFP process.
We agreed to push back our raises in the last K so that LAS would rescind pink slips.  Now, with assurance from Peter Cobb that LAS is financially sound, we should agree to no raises until 1/07 (so that we can save jobs in the future, and “make LAS look good for the City” ).
If we accept LAS’s rationale, we potentially give up retro money forever.   More importantly, ALAA must cease “making LAS look ‘good’ for the City” — this may sometimes benefit the staff, but it hardly ever benefits our clients.

Finally, finally, although I was not here in 1994, I do realize the risks we take in voting “no”.  I am also willing to remain on the EB and continue to organize, strategize and push for the best possible K if it is the will of the membership.  If LAS wants to impose its “last best offer”, so be it.  ALAA should not vote “yes” for it.

You must do the thing you think you cannot do.
-Eleanor Roosevelt

In solidarity,
Antonia
Bronx-CDD

2006.11.29: Vote No

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Wednesday, November 29, 2006 1:50 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Vote No

In defense of another indisputably bad contract, the leadership and its supporters have interjected such irrelevancies as how hard the Bargaining Committee has worked (which nobody has questioned) or complaints that they have been subject to unfair “personal attacks” (which nobody has made).

These just evade the real issue:  Has the Union done everything possible to squeeze the best possible offer from management?

It’s clear from our own Union’s history that what happens at the bargaining table only reflects a balance of power.  That balance depends on organizing at least the credible *threat* of membership action. Only by exerting that pressure can we be sure of extracting the best possible offer.  Otherwise, it’s like trying to negotiate a plea when the D.A. already knows that your client won’t go to trial.

The leadership also misleadingly asserts that the only choices are surrender (which it advocates) or a suicidal strike.  In fact, there are many forms of membership pressure short of a full strike: informational pickets, rallies, press conferences, one-day job actions, to name just a few  —  none of which has been seriously discussed, let alone carried out.  It was to illustrate the potential for such action that the 1992 contract strategy evaluation was attached to a previous message.

By all means, we must fight the scab (non-union RFP) contractors.  But why ratify a *bad* contract (the written memorandum of agreement for which we have yet to see)  —  without having even tried to mobilize membership pressure necessary to win the *best* possible contract?

2006.11.29: Tomorrow’s Contract Vote – Which way forward…

From: L.Antonia Codling [mailto:LACodling@legal-aid.org]
Sent: Wednesday, November 29, 2006 6:44 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Tomorrow’s Contract Vote – Which way forward…

I don’t think that any one of us could accurately predict our future one way or the other after tomorrow’s vote.  So the question for me is, as a 9 year veteran of the Executive Board (who is about to retire), whether the members are prepared to stand up for any Union principles — ever (if not in this K, when).

Just over 2 years ago we stood quietly by as prior management ran this organization nearly into bankruptcy — not only did we remain silent about the corruption, we joined the Society to successfully lobby for millions of $ to save this organization.  We have never waged a successful fight against management to address the 86% and 88% K they entered into with the City;  we have never, ever waged a successful struggle against the 200+ clients that JRD is forced to represent.  We have been unsuccessful at securing meaningful flex time or comp time in non-CDD Divisions.  We recommened givebacks when our junior staff is faced with layoffs —  we recommend givebacks when nobody is presently facing layoffs…   We need to determine our bottom line — We need to determine what we stand for and what we’ll fall for.

If now is not the time, then when?   If we vote yes tomorrow, and LAS still does not get the RFP work in Brooklyn or CAB, what will we be willing to fight for next year — to do more work with less money in order to save jobs?  Will we give back our 2006 “bonuses” to save this institution — one that does not even respect us enough to give us a non-voting seat on its Board.

ALAA has a history.  Every member is given a Union packet when they arrive.  Active or not, union dues are deducted from each of our paychecks.

I have already announced my recommendation to the members to vote “no” (reasons and suggestions in subsequent email).  However, at this time, I don’t care how the majority of the members vote.  If the majority votes for this K tomorrow, then clearly the majority perceives that now is not the time to fight for anything.  But when do we stand in solidarity together — when do we struggle to fight for a better LAS for ourselves and our clients?

November 20, 2006

2006.11.20: Re: Unauthorized and Risky Picket

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Monday, November 20, 2006 1:41 PM
To: James Rogers; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Re: Unauthorized and Risky Picket

Last Wednesday afternoon, Jim Rogers broadcast the e-mail below asserting that “certain ALAA Members are involved in the planning and carrying out of tonight’s unauthorized picket by some 1199 Members at the Annual LAS Boardof [sic] Directors Meeting.” That, he claimed, “will seriously jeopardize the most recent efforts to improve the Board’s offer to our union,” so “[a]ll ALAA Members are strongly encouraged to not participate.”

His statement is wrong both factually, and as a matter of principle.

The facts are that last Tuesday morning, 1199 members voted by nearly 60 percent to reject management’s latest contract offer. At the end of the vote, a group of 1199 members discussed distributing a leaflet at Legal Aid’s annual meeting on Wednesday night. In the spirit of solidarity, I forwarded that leaflet to the ALAA e-list; to my knowledge, ALAA members neither planned nor participated in that leafleting.

As a matter of principle, it is unconscionable for an ALAA president to denigrate efforts by sister-union members to fight for a fair contract.  Equally damaging, it reflects a dead-end policy of disarming our own union in exchange for a contract that still doesn’t include retro pay or meaningful increases above step five, and which still sharply limits or denies the use of comp time to most attorneys — the third round in an astounding series of give-backs in just three years.

The refusal to even speak up about such issues at the annual meeting echoes and surpasses Rogers’ February 2005 public declaration — without membership discussion, vote or even knowledge  —  that “strikes. . . . won’t happen on my watch.”

Our own history offers better alternatives.  In 1992, for example, ALAA and 1199 were “United in Spirit, United in Action” behind a “no contract, no work,” policy, backed up by a joint “inside” campaign of informational pickets, one-day strikes and a wide range of other public action.

As detailed in the attached union document from the 1993 Bargaining Committee, that rank-and-file orientation gave us necessary muscle at the bargaining table to beat back management’s demands for give-backs and to extract the best possible terms — without the need for an all-out strike.

Yes, as we saw in 1994, there are risks in standing up.  And yes, we face threats now that we didn’t then.  But surrender without a fight only ensures that management will keep coming back for more.

Let’s reclaim our legacy as a fighting, democratic union, and creatively adapt it to current conditions.  And let’s demand that union leadership stop sabotaging, and start organizing, solidarity and resistance.

>>> James Rogers 11/15 4:40 PM >>>
It has come to our attention that certain ALAA Members are involved in the planning and carrying out of tonight’s unauthorized picket by some 1199 Members at the Annual LAS Boardof Directors Meeting.

Participation in tonight’s picket by ALAA members will seriously jeopardize the most recent efforts to improve the Board’s offer to our union.

In exchange for calling off the picket, the Board was prepared to agree to set aside funds so that members taking child care or FMLA leaves could use their accrued and banked comp time and have their health care paid for during those leaves.

Participation by our membership (either in the planning or execution) of tonight’s picket may very well endanger that improvement to the contract which our members will vote on later this month.

It is important to note that the 1199 leadership in no way endorses or approves of this picket in any way.  They have chosen a different path to try to re-negotiate their offer.  That too is also in jeopardy.  (At no time did any person from the 1199 leadership ask for our participation in any part of their negotiation or post-vote activities.)

All ALAA Members are strongly encouraged to not participate in tonight’s picket.

James Rogers
President
Association of Legal Aid Attorneys
(UAW 2325)(AFL-CIO)
568 Broadway  Room 702 A
New York NY 10012
212-343-0708

November 15, 2006

2006.11.15: Re: Good Job. Keep it up. If you lead us, we will come!

From: Lisa R. Edwards
Sent: Wednesday, November 15, 2006 3:07 PM
To: James Rogers; Roy Wasserman; Susan Morris; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Re: Good Job. Keep it up. If you lead us, we will come!

I have to say when I heard that the leafletting was being cancelled.  I was expecting a lot more than what we got or what at least some of us got. I expected that there would be some movement on the retro issue since it seems like there is no way in hell the union would hold out for comp time for the Civil Practicioners or JRD folks who also work night and weekend shifts and carry enormous caseloads.   But to cancel the leafletting for a benefit that also does not benefit the entire membership was not fair. It is not that folks who may be in my camp begrudge those who are in receipt of these benefits.  It really is that for once we should get the same benefits too.  And we didn’t, we didn’t even get a penny of retro pay so why was the leafletting cancelled.  Give me a seat on the board.  Give me something.  What do we say to our 1199 brothers and sisters.  I thought they were planning to join us there.   So now they’ll be leafletting and we will be what??  So I hope the beginning of our campaign to place pressure on management by leafletting at this annual meeting was not the end and there’s another action plan in place.   Lisa.

>>> Susan Morris 11/15 9:25 AM >>>
Roy, I just don’t see where congratulations are in order.

I am appalled that the decision was made to cancel the leafletting.

Until the contract addressed our needs, we should have gone forward with our action.  This is an ANNUAL meeting; we had only one chance to take advantage of it and now it’s gone.

For years now we have done nothing but give back pay and benefits.  This contract continues that proud new tradition.

What kind of “win” is this?  The values-enforcement by the board that those with families and family issues may continue to participate (though in a limited fashion) in the comp/leave system which has been entrenched at LAS for years now is a joke.  Comp days were earned equally and should be taken equally.  No one person’s reason for taking a leave and using comp days should be more highly valued over anyone else’s.  This is a slap in the face, and privileges some members of our orginaization over others in a way that is a throw-back to the 1950s & 60s; it is  “family values” compromise.

If the threat of leafletting made members of the board sit up and take notice, why didn’t we push it?  Why wasn’t the new head of LAS told, when you do a, b and c, then we will think about calling it off.

One little bit of movement by a board member and we grab the chewed-upon carrot and run away.

“This is how the big boys play, Susan.”  “Back room deals are how it’s done.”  “You want the process to be pure, Susan?”  Yeah, those are real quotes.  (If we ever get a contract, I’ll share the speaker’s name.)

We argue for transparency in management’s books and dealings, and then these little side-negotiations occur.

How is that the EB agreed to attempt to contact Banks for some “tweaking,” various members of the board express interest in being involved in that process, Banks is contacted and given a list of the items we want to “tweak,” the official word is, we are done bargaining, then we get notice that 2 of the 5 items have been tweaked.  What the hell is that about?

We make it known that there will be leafletting, and suddenly there is even more tweaking.  A nice open bargaining process we have here.

We have fought long and hard to create some form of comp payments for JRD folks who are forced to stay in court longer than 5pm, Civil folks who must attend community meetings, etc.  No, we haven’t won – yet.  And now, we never will.

We can’t even toe the line on what we do have; any hope for progress is dashed to smithereens by the agreement to cancel the leafletting.  Wouldn’t want to embarrass the folks at the big house, now, would we.

We had them where we wanted them – THEY WERE ASKING US FOR A FAVOR. We should have given it ot hem ONLY when they made some progress.  Instead we allowed them to put value over some of our members but not all, and not equally.

What about real increases for the folks who have dedicated their lives to this organization and our clients?  What about keeping CABs personal days?  What about EQUALLY valuing the leaves of ALL of our members?

Congratulations, my ass.>>> Roy Wasserman 11/14 7:52 PM >>>

Jim, congrats.  If a mere threat to leaflet helped management find $250,000 extra money, just think of what we can accomplish if we actually ratchet up our organizing.  Management desparately must want to bring these negotiations to a close before the end of the year, and god forbid they get embarrassed by a bunch of flame throwing lawyers outside of their annual meeting!This is exactly what many of us were trying to convey to EB.  This is political realism.  Also, keep in mind that management reads this email and all others and therefore gets a pretty good pulse of our membership.  This is how they (and Oxford) knew that we were exploring Aetna, but that losing Oxford was probably a deal killer and that we were serious about it.  Oxford bulked and Management signed on with the Sloan sweetener.  We at Brooklyn CDD were told 2 weeks ago that the comp issue had no legs in EB b/c the non-CDD EB members were not interested.  Now it not only has legs, but it is driving much of the negotiation.  In other words, real gains are driven by membership.  Part of this is the email.   But we must be led by our leaders in order to harness our anger and concerns in a politcally beneficial fashion.  Next up:  1.)Retroactive pay instead of the lump sum; 2.) Membership on the Board by us and community/bar leaders; 3.) Caps on caseloads.   Let’s get started  preparing for more appropriate actions.  If you lead us, we will come.

>>> James Rogers 11/14 7:19 PM >>>
Management and the Board of Directors are prepared to agree to a mitigation of the comp time proposal that would put 250,000 per year in a fund to pay out the comp time for people on childcare leave or FMLA leave (10 months and 3 months respectively.)  In addition, those being paid out for such comp time would only be expected to pay what they currently pay in premiums for health care for the duration of those leaves.

An analysis of the past 4 fiscal years indicates that comp time paid to people on childcare leaves never exceeded the 250,000 and was often less.

The leafletting at the annual meeting would have made this agreement impossible and it was determined that the membership should have the ability to consider this change in the bargaining status.  Therefore, the event itself was called off.

The action committee will meet shortly to plan other actions as they may become necessary.

James Rogers
President
Association of Legal Aid Attorneys
(UAW 2325)(AFL-CIO)
568 Broadway  Room 702 A
New York NY 10012
212-343-0708

2006:11.15: Antiwar Bulletin: Events This Week

Filed under: Antiwar,Palestine — nyclaw01 @ 11:48 am
Tags:

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Wednesday, November 15, 2006 2:17 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Antiwar Bulletin: Events This Week

Contents*

1.  Tonight (11/15/06): Palestine Blues
2.  Friday (11/17/06): Antiwar G.I.s in Iraq

————————-
1.  Tonight (11/15/06): Palestine Blues

Join Al-Awda in commemoration of the Week of Resistance Against the Apartheid Wall for a showing of :

*PALESTINE BLUES (80min)

followed by a question & answer session with award winning filmmaker & renowned Palestinian artist & sculpturist **NIDA SINNOKROT.

Wed. 11-15-2006 at 7:30pm Alwan For the Arts
16 Beaver Street (b/n Broad & Broadway)—4th Floor
4/5 bowling green–r/w whitehall–2/3 wall street–j/m broad street–1/9 south ferry $10 donation goes to United Health Workers Committees in Palestine, on the brink of collapse….nonethless, no one will be turned away.

* PALESTINE BLUES winner of best feature film award in several film festivals…marked not only by the importance of the subject but its aesthetic quality, this film is a must see.

“Palestine Blues follows the repercussions of the [Zionist Apartheid Wall] and Settlement expansion in the engulfed/annexed Palestinian farming communities of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Instead of focusing on the object of the Wall, this documentary examines the grassroots resistance movement that has sprung up against it. Palestine Blues is not a “traditional” political reportage but rather an interminable road trip across hard and liquid borders, across a terrain that is being erased as it is being traversed.”

** “Nida Sinnokrot is a Palestinian-American artist and filmmaker. His films, installations, and sculptures, which have shown nationally and internationally, often explore complex notions of time and space in a phenomenological investigation of Diaspora consciousness. After completing his undergraduate studies in Radio, Television, and Film at the University of Texas at Austin, Nida moved to New York where he received an MFA in Film and Video from Bard College. Nida recently completed the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program, is a 2002 Rockefeller Media Fellow, and was recently awarded a Paul Robeson media grant.”

Palestine Blues by Nida Sinnokrot Documentary Video 80:00 2006 Midwest Premiere

“In 1923 Ze’ev Jabotinsky, one of the founding fathers of Zionism wrote an essay in which he outlined the means for establishing a state of Israel in the whole of historic Palestine. That essay was called The Iron Wall.”

“In June of 2002 the construction of a 400-mile barrier began in the Occupied West Bank. Though it is referred to as a ‘security fence’ by Israel, its form changes along the route, and near large cities it is a concrete wall twice as high as the Berlin Wall. Construction began in the northwest part of the West Bank. With its large, unspoiled aquifer, this land provides nearly 65% of the fruits and vegetables produced in the region. The wells along the aquifer provide essential water for drinking, agriculture and sanitation. All of this prime land and its water supply will fall on the Israeli side of the wall.”Palestine Blues follows the repercussions of the Israeli Security Wall and Settlement expansion in the engulfed/annexed Palestinian farming communities of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Instead of focusing on the Wall as an object, Palestine Blues examines the grassroots resistance movement that has sprung up against it. Palestine Blues is not a ‘traditional’
political reportage but rather an interminable road trip across hard and liquid borders, across a terrain that is being erased as it is being traversed.” -Nida Sinnokrot

——————

2.  Friday (11/17/06): Antiwar G.I.s in Iraq

Resistance Where it Counts:
How Anti-War Soldiers Who Served in Iraq Organized Against the War on the Front Lines

Judson Memorial Church
55 Washington Square South, New York City 7:00 – 9:00 P.M. Friday, November 17, 2006

Jeff Englehart, Joe Hatcher and Garett Reppenhagen 1st Infantry Division, Diyala Province, Iraq, 2004-2005

There has to be a point when we reach a high enough number of troops in our peace effort that a unified boycott of all military action will have a desired effect — Soldier X

Find out what you can do to support the G.I. Movement!

Sponsored By: the Military Project, New York City Labor Against the War
(NYCLAW) and Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW)-NYC Chapter

Endorsers: Citizen Soldier, Gi Special, Military Families Speak Out, Traveling Soldier, Veterans for Peace (NYC – Chapter 34), after Downing Street, Bring the Ruckus (NYC), Consumersforpeace.org, International Socialist Organization, Left Turn, Not in Our Name (NYC), War Resisters League

For more information: contact@militaryproject.org

——————
Union Free Speech Notice
*This message, like thousands of others that have been posted to the ALAA e-list, constitutes protected free speech, pursuant to Collective Bargaining Agreement, §§ 3.5 (“The expression of personal religious, political, social or economic beliefs of each and every attorney is fully guaranteed and will never constitute grounds for discharge or relief from an individual assignment unless, in either instance, it can be demonstrated that such expression has, or will, directly interfere(d) with, and detract from, representation of a Society client so as to render said representation less than at the highest level of competence and effectiveness.”) and 1.5 (“The Union will have reasonable use of the Society’s internal communication mechanisms.”).

2006.11.15: 1199 Flyer At Tonight’s Annual Meeting

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Wednesday, November 15, 2006 3:18 PM
To: ALAA MEMBERS; James Bernal
Subject: 1199 Flyer At Tonight’s Annual Meeting

Below are:  (1) The flyer being distributed by 1199 members (who rejected management’s contract offer) at tonight’s LAS Annual Meeting; and (2) A statement from 1199 members who advocated that no-vote.

————————
To the attendees of The Legal Aid Society Annual Meeting, happening today at the firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, and to all concerned citizens,

First of all, we would like to congratulate all those receiving awards today for their outstanding service and years of dedication to the work of The Legal Aid Society, providing much needed services to the economically disadvantaged of New York.

It is great that Legal Aid management is recognizing the hard work of its employees today.However, management should recognize their work with more than awards and praise, but with a good contract and fair compensation for all its employees.

Our union, the Legal Aid Society Chapter of 1199/SEIU, voted yesterday to reject the contract offer made to us by management. Our chapter represents the support staff, paralegals and social workers that make Legal Aid run. We have never gotten our fair share of Legal Aid’s resources, and we have no real step system to reward our years of service to the Society. We have suffered lay-offs and short staffing over the last two years in particular. And yet we have worked hard, many of us doing multiple jobs at once, to keep Legal Aid functioning.

In return for our hard work, management had offered us a contract we cannot afford to accept: a 3% raise over two years (averaging 1.5% a year). With inflation at more than 8% over the last two years, our members are already stretching their pay checks to cover their bills and rent. Many of our members work more than one job to get by.

Again, we give our congratulations to the employees being awarded today. We only ask that management support that work with fair wages and fair contracts, and negotiate with our union in good faith.

Signed,

Concerned Members of The Legal Aid Society Chapter of 1199/SEIU

————————
Why Vote No On The Contract?

WE CAN’T AFFORD IT – the cost of living went up 8.4% in the last 2 years.  This contract includes only a 3% increase over 2 years.  That means a more than 5% decrease in our real wages.

IT OPENS THE DOOR TO LAYOFFS – by not updating our no lay-off language, this contract means fewer and fewer people are protected by our no lay-off clause as time goes on.

IF WE DON’T FIGHT, THINGS WILL GET WORSE – this is the most insulting contract offer we’ve gotten in at least a decade.  If we accept it without a fight, management will be confident to come back for more the next time around.

Unfortunately, today we are most likely going to hear all of management’s arguments for why they can’t afford to give us a decent contract.  We need to be clear on why we can’t afford not to get a good contract.

We need to vote this down and then come together to put real pressure on management.  As some of us have been arguing for the past year, we need a real contract campaign, including office meetings, flyers, petitions, job actions, outreach and more.  Only the united action of the membership can counter management’s attacks on our jobs and our union.

November 6, 2006

2006.11.06: Lynne Stewart Events (sorry so late posting)

From: Susan Morris
Sent: Wednesday, October 11, 2006 5:43 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: Lynne Stewart Events (sorry so late posting)
An Evening with Celebrated Attorney Lynne Stewart
Before Her Sentencing

Wednesday, October 11
Fordham Law School- 62nd and Columbus in Manhattan
4:30p-6:00p in Room 303

Beloved criminal defense attorney Lynne Stewart is
kind enough to join us just five days before
sentencing to discuss her case and the right to
counsel in the United States. For thirty years, Ms.
Stewart worked tirelessly as an advocate for the
marginalized, the poor, and the oppressed.

Ms. Stewart’s spirited advocacy ran afoul of the Bush
Administration’s notion of justice in the so-called
War on Terror. The Justice Department perverted her
representation of a Muslim cleric into a fanciful
conspiracy to support terrorism-related violence.

The Government demands that Lynne Stewart, a 67 year
old grandmother with cancer, serve 30 years in jail
after a prosecution that smacked of the Red Scare
revised for a post 9-11 America. Her conviction is
certain to chill lawyers’ representation of unpopular
clients. Ms. Stewart’s many supporters believe that
stripping her of the ability to practice law is
punishment enough and that jail time would be
inappropriate.

Ms. Stewart will be joined by Professor Martha Rayner,
director of the International Justice Clinic at
Fordham Law School, who will discuss the affront to
the Sixth Amendment represented by Stewart’s
prosecution. Professor Rayner will also speak about
her representation of detainees at Guantanamo Bay held
by the U.S. government indefinitely without charge.

Wednesday, October 11
Fordham Law School- 62nd and Columbus in Manhattan
4:30p-6:00p in Room 303

Sponsored by the National Lawyers Guild at Fordham

For more information or to co-sponsor e-mail Daniel
Gross at dgross@iww.org.
— Bruce Bentley wrote:

> New York City National Lawyers Guild
> Legal Observer Listserv
>
> Come to the tributes and rallies in support of Lynne
> Stewart:
>
> Friday, October 13, 2006 at 6PM at St. Ambrose’s
> Church in Harlem at 9 West
> 130th Street between 5th and Lenox Avenue. (2/3
> train to 125th Street)
>
> Sunday, October 15, 2006 at 4 PM at Riverside Church
> between 120th and 122nd
> Streets on Riverside Drive (#1 train to 125th
> Street)
>
> Monday, October 16, 2006 at 8 AM – Rally at Tom
> Paine Park at 40 Foley
> Square before Lynne’s sentencing. (4/5/6 trains to
> Brooklyn Bridge; J/M/Z
> trains to Chambers Street)
>
> For more information, go to http://www.lynnestewart.org
>
>
>
> Assume anything sent by email is not secure.
>
> Whenever you are a Legal Observer, please take note:
> “Did NYPD take photos or videos? If yes, describe.”
>
> To view the NLG NYC Mass Defense Calendar, go to:
> http://www.nlgnyc.org/MDC/2006/calendar.htm
>
>

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