January 30, 2015
LSNYC members of the Legal Services Staff Association today voted to ratify a new three year contract. Significant aspects of the newly ratified agreement include:
Raises to the Wage Scale
Year 1: 4% to step 21, with 4.25% at step 25 and 4.5% at step 30
Year 2: 2.25% across the board
Year 3: 2% across the board
Employees who have worked for LSNYC for 25 years or more can receive $8,000 or 8% of their salary as a bonus when they retire. If these employees are laid off, they will receive more weeks of severance pay.
Increased from $1250 to $1500
We gained a number of protections against some of the common ways that management undermines the collective bargaining agreement. Recall rights for laid-off employees were extended by 3 months. Managers who want to return to the bargaining unit must apply and be treated as external candidates. The union will have more notice of job postings, new temporary employees, fellows, and the creation or elimination of staff lines. We were able to incorporate some of last contract‘s side letter about layoffs into the contract, as well as some limited language about adequate staffing levels.
The offer contains a $24,000 wellness fund which can be used in a number of ways to be decided by the joint healthcare working group.
Union members who work late can be reimbursed $13 for dinner (up from $7.50) and can be reimbursed for cab fare earlier than before.
The 403b retirement committee was formally added to the contract, with a promise that the union will be included in their meetings with Valic. Management also agreed to immediately bid out our retirement contract with Valic to investigate other retirement providers. The training and OSHA committee were combined into the general labor-management committee, and the committees were mandated to meet quarterly.
1% Health Insurance Contribution
We were unfortunately not able to eliminate or reduce the 1% contribution towards health insurance. We fought long and hard for this through the final hours of negotiation.
Empire Health Insurance Coverage
We agreed to eliminate Empire as an insurance option for future employees. Although we did not want to create a two-tiered system for members, we agreed to this after much thought and in exchange for other important demands.
We agreed to start bargaining the next contract in January 2017 if health insurance costs rise significantly the year before. This is not a reopener of the contract, but rather a start date for beginning to bargain the next contract.