ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

November 15, 2006

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.

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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

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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.

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