Union-LSNYC Covid-related agreements

LSNYC and the LSSA union are engaged in ongoing negotiations over policies for safeguarding the health of our staff, our families, and our clients, pursuant to our Covid-19 collective bargaining agreement side letter. Below you will find the agreements that we have negotiated. At the bottom of the page you will also find the commitments that LSNYC has made that are important to memorialize even if they fall short of what the union believes is necessary. This page will be updated as new agreements are reached or policies are modified.

Childcare, Eldercare, and Transportation Supports for In-Person Appearances and Virtual Proceedings (10/23/2020)

This section describes childcare, eldercare, and transportation reimbursements. Until October 30, 2020, after submission by the employee of documentation of actual paid expenses in the form of a letter, receipt, or other similar documentation: 

–Additional childcare and eldercare costs will be reimbursed at their actual cost of up to $15 an hour [note: union has made a demand for $35/hour, which we have not dropped] for in-person appearances or for virtual proceedings or other essential job functions that must be performed out of the home to directly support those appearances or proceedings; 

–Transportation costs for mileage, tolls and parking will be reimbursed from and to the employee’s location when necessary to make an in-person appearance or for virtual proceedings or other essential job functions that must be performed out of the home to directly support those appearances or proceedings. If a privately owned car is not available, transportation costs for a for-hire car will be reimbursed. Reimbursement for either mode of transportation will not exceed $100 each way. 

Expense reimbursement requests will be administered pursuant to the requirements set out in 17.3C of the CBA. 

On or before October 30, 2020, union and management will meet to review and adjust this policy as necessary.

[Note: this reimbursement section is resolved other than the outstanding disagreement about the maximum reimbursement for childcare and eldercare.]

Covid Sick Leave Policy (11/16/2020)

  • For staff who have Covid: covered by Covid Sick Leave during the time they are actually ill. Staff are required to complete the Guardian Life Insurance sick leave request form within 10 business days. (If this completed form is not provided within 10 business days, “Covid Sick Leave” ends.) If employee remains unable to work, the employee transitions to Long Term Disability after 180 days and Covid Sick Leave ends.  
  • Until December 31, 2020, staff who are quarantining, or caring for a household member who has Covid or is quarantining because of Covid: covered by Covid Sick Leave under this policy during the time of illness or quarantine period. Documentation is not required under this provision unless you become unable to work, in which case you become covered under the first bullet point above.
  • “Covid Sick Leave” will not be deducted from your sick leave balance. Your sick leave accruals will continue as normal.

Contact Tracing Policy (11/16/2020)

Due to the possibility that someone who has contracted COVID-19 may visit a LSNYC office or an office housing a LSNYC office, the union and LSNYC will establish a contract tracing joint committee to enhance current procedures for implementing the NY Forward Safety Plan requirements of tracing and notifying close contacts. The committee will develop procedures for the following purposes:

  • Identifying anyone who was in the office at the same time, and if appropriate, anyone in the building at the same time
  • Notifying those who have been possibly exposed
  • Protecting the confidentiality of the COVID-positive person(s)
  • Ensuring compliance with NYS requirements, including the requirement that if a worker tests positive for COVID, LSNYC must immediately notify state and local health departments and cooperate with tracing efforts, including notification of potential contacts, such as workers or visitors who had close contact with the individual, while maintaining confidentiality required by state and federal laws and regulations  
  • Ensuring contact tracing activities are thorough and timely
  • Periodically reviewing of the efficacy of office screening and tracing procedures
  • Identifying potential outside resources to conduct contact tracing should LSNYC reach Phase 3 of the RTO plan, at the discretion of the committee, or should LSNYC need additional resources. 

LSNYC commits that no blame or retaliation will be meted out and appropriate care and follow up plans will be initiated. 

All workers will be notified of the contact tracing committee members through a periodic broadcast communication from management and through regular communications channels.

The committee will identify training(s) designed for organizations on contact tracing policies, procedures, and ethics. Committee members and Human Resources/Directors of Administration points of contact will complete the training program(s) that the committee determines appropriate based on the committee members’ or HR/DA point of contact’s respective role in contact tracing policy or practice.

While LSNYC offices remain in stages 0-2, bi-weekly reports on contact tracing effectiveness and any potential work-related exposures will be supplied to the joint Citywide COVID Committee. Weekly reports on contact tracing effectiveness  and any potential work-related exposures will be supplied to the joint Citywide COVID Committee when LSNYC offices enter stage 3 and beyond. Reports will be supplied whether or not any incident(s) requiring contact tracing occurred during the period.

Side Letter on Covid-19 (7/14/2020)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, given the uncertainty with regard to virus transmissibility and immunity and rapidly changing public health recommendations, the employer and the union shall meet upon demand of either party to negotiate and/or update policies for safeguarding the health of our staff, our families, and our clients. Potential subjects include but are not limited to: provision of personal protective equipment (PPE), office sanitation, staggered work schedules, reduction of number of staff on-site on a given day, adequate physical space between staff member seating, social distancing measures in the office, ensuring fairness and equity for staff in-office who may be called to cover for a staff member working remotely, considerations for staff in high risk categories or with high-risk family members, sick time policies, identifying triggers for closing offices or re-opening offices (resuming remote work for all or resuming in-office work), and other appropriate subjects.

For the purposes of this Side Letter, the resolution process described in Article 8.2(D) applies, with the following exceptions:

  1. Bargaining shall take place with the Executive Director or their designee(s);
  2. If the Parties are unable to agree on how to resolve an issue following good faith negotiations, either Party may submit the dispute to arbitration. Each party shall submit a “Final Offer” to the arbitrator. After considering the valid interests of all parties, the arbitrator shall choose one of the proposed resolutions without modification, or may craft a resolution solely from elements of the two Final Offers. The decision of the arbitrator shall be final and binding upon the parties.
  3. The decision of the arbitrator shall be issued within 7 days of the hearing date.

In the event of a disagreement about a particular topic, pending the arbitrator’s decision the parties shall make best efforts to proceed with negotiations on other topics and to find a mutually acceptable interim solution on the topic that is the subject of arbitration. Should no such solution be reached within 14 days of the date the notice of demand for arbitration is delivered to LSNYC, and only if implementation does not violate any of CDC, New York State or New York City guidelines for health and safety, the employer, after serving a Notice of Intent detailing their proposed policy, specifically how it does not violate said health and safety guidelines, and the specific staff affected by the policy, may implement the policy detailed within the Notice of Intent provided.

Within thirty (30) days of the execution of this Agreement, the Employer and the Union shall designate jointly a panel of arbitrators from which the arbitrator to hear a grievance pursuant to this section shall be chosen.

All terms of the CBA not explicitly modified by agreements under this side letter remain unaffected by this provision.

This Side Letter remains in effect until the ratification of the next contract.

LSNYC Commitments

LSNYC Commitment re Hiring LSNYC Health & Safety Expert (9/3/2020)

In order to obtain the necessary information to determine the safety of LSNYC’s offices,  LSNYC will engage an expert or certified technician in occupational safety and health, with a focus on industrial hygiene, ventilation assessment, and infectious diseases. The expert will be jointly selected by the union and management no later than 9/18/20, and their role will include consulting with the Covid 19 Side Letter bargaining team and inspecting LSNYC offices.

[Note: the union maintains that this expert should assess the safety of the courts and other forums in which we practice, not just offices.]

Not-Before Date (9/3/2020)

Management agrees that LSNYC will not move to Stage 3 of our Return to Office Transition Stages until at least January 2021.

[Note: the union has taken the position that no staff should be required to return to the office before July 2021.]