Union & LSNYC Reach Agreement on Volunteer Pilot Project for Out-of-Home Work Assignments


The Legal Services Staff Association and Legal Services NYC have reached agreement on a volunteer pilot project for out-of-home work assignments. The union’s Volunteer Pilot Project graphic at right summarizes the main provisions of the agreement.

The full text of the agreement is as follows:


Out-of-Home Work Assignments: Interim Pilot Collaboration (12/23/20-1/31/21)
Extended to 4/15/21 on 3/12/21

For work planning purposes, LSNYC will ask all employees (managers and union members alike) whether, while we all remain based out of our homes, they consent to perform limited out-of-home work tasks (such as visiting other venues to pick up and deliver documents, copying court and other files, opening and scanning mail) that are necessary to maintain client service and organizational operations. It is understood that an employee may be willing to engage in some types of out-of-home work but not others, and the tasks an employee may or may not be willing to perform may be subject to change, and LSNYC will honor each employee’s decisions about the out-of-home tasks that the employee is willing to perform. LSNYC will not ask for disclosure of the employee’s reasons for not performing out-of-home work. LSNYC commits that no blame, retaliation, or negative employment consequences will be meted out if an employee does not perform out-of-home work.

LSNYC will solicit volunteers in a manner that minimizes the risk that employees may feel pressured to volunteer and that seeks volunteers from the widest possible pool; therefore requests for volunteers will be sent to all, and not just to individuals or to members with specific job titles. Out-of-home tasks shall be distributed equitably among volunteers in a way that is not overly burdensome to any volunteer or group of volunteers.

Staff who volunteer for out-of-home work tasks will be scheduled as needed. No employee will be asked to work out-of-home on more than a limited part-time basis. Inter-borough cooperation will be explored when appropriate but not required. LSNYC will provide staff with appropriate equipment, training, and resources to maximize the tasks that can be performed at home and minimize those that must be performed out of the office. If staff cover out-of-home work that is other than and/or beyond their usual jobs, some work that they have been doing from home may be transferred to others as a matter of equity. To the extent that any staff member volunteers for out-of-home work that is other than and/or beyond their usual job, it is understood those tasks do not become a part of that employee’s regular job, and there is no expectation they will continue performing those tasks beyond the duration of this pilot project.

Safety standards and occupancy limits will be maintained throughout the pilot period. Unless and until the Microecologies health and safety expert makes any different recommendations:

  • LSNYC shall provide PPE at the KN95 level or better to anyone in the office or performing other out-of-home work.
  • PPE in the form of a mask covering the nose and mouth will be worn at all times in the offices. It is understood that, in an extremely limited number of circumstances, there may be times when advocacy staff and clients will need to remove their masks to present oral arguments to or conference cases with a judge or hearing officer. In those circumstances advocates and clients will always be in separate rooms.
  • Interim measures, including but not limited to occupancy limits and scheduling protocols, will be established by December 18th by each program’s committee and enforced by each LSNYC program so that those volunteering are assured that they are entering an environment that is as safe as possible. This pilot project may be implemented in a program when – and not before – occupancy limits and scheduling protocols are set for that program by its joint union-management Covid committee. 

LSNYC shall provide volunteers with the Microecologies final report (once available); until then, LSNYC shall provide volunteers with the Microecologies preliminary report (once available); and until then, LSNYC shall provide volunteers with a spreadsheet of information reflecting all available information in its possession about the ventilation/HVAC  for the location where the volunteer will be.

Those volunteering as part of this pilot project are eligible for reimbursements as per the CBA and for the reimbursements outlined in the Covid-specific Childcare, Eldercare, and Transportation Supports policy for In-Person Appearances and Virtual Proceedings. Staff volunteering as part of this pilot project are encouraged to avail themselves of the LSNYC Lyft account so as to avoid having to front payment for transportation.

LSNYC will assess the efficacy of the pilot on an ongoing basis and determine no later than January 31, 2021 April 15, 2021 whether we should continue, modify, or change this approach.

This proposal is intended to cover all out-of-home work except court appearances and appearances in other adjudicative forums.