Accomplishments and the Year Ahead for CSBA
By Saul Fishman
CSBA President

From Local 237 Newsline, Winter 2022

As 2022 gives way to 2023, we pause to reflect on where we have been, to acknowledge and give thanks for what we have accomplished, and to rededicate ourselves to achieving the important and often difficult tasks which remain on our agenda.

Let’s start with the positive. Our fight to abolish any residency requirement for our titles, the Agency Attorneys and Agency Attorney Interns, has finally been won! We refused to back down at the bargaining table, persisted in the media, and common-sense prevailed. No longer will we have to hear on the one hand that they are so desperate to bring in attorneys to do our work that they are reaching out for (a handful) of big law firm “pro bono” attorneys, and yet that we were somehow not a difficult to recruit title. So effective immediately, you can live anywhere, including New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania, so long as you can get to work on time. A word of caution: We suggest that you fully explore the tax ramifications before moving to another jurisdiction.

Other positives include getting the Police Department to cease violating our contract by forcing members to sign-in and out (we were coming before the arbitrator when they saw the error of their ways). Ditto their written agreement to bring any “Assistant Counsels” into our bargaining unit.

Abolishing residency restrictions clearly makes 2022 historic for us. But there’s a lot of heavy lifting ahead, with no predictable short-term timeline. We remain adamant about the need for some degree of remote work. Mind you, we’re not talking about five days per week, but are tirelessly advocating for two to three days per week. This will put us on similar footing (or almost similar footing) with our peers in the private and not-for-profit sectors, employers who are actively recruiting and to whom our licenses make us readily marketable.

Expanding the availability of compressed time schedule options with flexible arrival time, as recently implemented for our members at the Department of Correction, is another high priority. Indeed, our last contract established the ability by agencies to get started, and we will be aggressively encouraging its widespread adoption in our non-economic bargaining sessions, which are scheduled to resume around the time this article is published.

Without question, most of us have been stretched to the breaking point, and the city needs to replace many of our departed colleagues. The work has not gone away, indeed in many instances, it has only increased in both volume and complexity. And if it doesn’t get done correctly and in a timely manner, NYC citizens will suffer further delays, and lawsuits against the city will further proliferate. Note to City: residency waiver + improved salaries (both starting salaries and a step pay plan) + remote work options = the formula needed to resolve the crisis our titles are experiencing!