ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

December 5, 2006

2006.12.05: Grievances: Caseload, Mandatory Office Day, Flex Time…

From: L.Antonia Codling
Sent: Tuesday, December 05, 2006 5:24 PM
Subject: Grievances: Caseload, Mandatory Office Day, Flex Time…

Now is the time (prior to the next K negotiation) for the members of this Union to let the delegates and leaders know what really matters to them.  I hope that at least one issue we will take a stand on is the unconsionable caseloads in some offices and Divisions.

In Bronx JRD, the caseloads are so high and the rate of attrition so great, that there are hundreds of client files that are presently unassigned to any staff attorney.  This is completely unacceptable!

I urge the Bronx JRD delegates, the JRD VP’s and the Executive Board to seek immediate remedy of this situation, which will only worsen in the next month as more attorneys are scheduled to leave this office.  This is a crisis situation that is at least equal to or surpasses the impending CDD RFP.  I am certain that LAS does not need the press to know that the hundreds of little Black and Brown babies and children do not have a law guardian…

The Legal Aid Society may conveniently excuse itself put caseload caps in our K because its funders will not agree to adequate funding (and because they want to maintain a monoply on being the biggest poverty pimps in NYC they choose to put quantity above quality representation)  — but ALAA must have a higher standard.  And, we must be prepared, at some point in our lifetime, to fight to obtain this higher standard.  Otherwise, we are no better than the “scab” organizations who do the same work as LAS.

The members and the delegates must let their VP’s know what is going on in the offices, and what really matters to them and their clients.  If nothing is being done to change the conditions, members should bring their problems directly to the Executive Board.  Otherwise, your leaders will lead other leaders to believe that issues are being dealt with, when clearly the are not.

Finally, Steve Banks must be cc’d on all grievances so he he fully aware of the situation in all of the offices.

Caseload Grievances Must be Filed
During bargaining, Steve Banks told us to rely on his testimony at the City Council regarding caseloads.  For JRD attorneys with a neglect and abuse caseload, you should carry no more than 100 children per attorney — not 100 cases).  If your caseload at JRD exceeds 100 children, you should ask your delegate/Union rep to file a greivance on your behalf.  Grievance forms were supposed to be available during the Union meetings that were held this week (what happened?).

Grievances for Mandatory Office Day –
See Sec. 4.5 of ALAA’s CBA – Collective Bargaining Agreement

If you are not getting 1 office day per week and need time during the hours of 9 – 5 p.m. to prepare for trials, hearings, motions, attend trainings, etc.  you should file a greivance pursuant to this section of the K.

Grievances for Flex time – (non-CDD Offices/Divisions) See Sec. 2.5.3 of ALAA’s CBA

This provision of the K was negotiated several years ago to allow attorneys who work late in court or have other nighttime work obligations, (we are only required to work 7 hours per day), to be able to come to work late the next day.  If the members are not utilizing this benefit that we fought so hard to obtain, we have no way to obtain increased benefits.

If you are fulfilling your nighttime work obligations and are unable to utilize this provision of the contract (either because of your caseload or because your supervisor is unfamiliar with provision of the K), you should request that your Union Rep or Delegate file a grievance on your behalf.

Feel free to contact me if you need assistance in filing any grievance.



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