Time to Cross the Finish Line!
By Saul Fishman
CSBA President

From Local 237 Newswire, Spring 2023

CSBA members want and deserve the ability to perform a significant part of our work remotely. We have been consistently, strenuously advocating for this important work-life balance measure from even before the pandemic struck. During and shortly after the peak of the pandemic, we successfully performed our tasks remotely for eighteen months (approximately one and a half years). If anything, our productivity increased!

After hearing for the longest time from Mayor Adams that “people can’t work from home in their pajamas”, reality has finally set in. Certain titles, including Agency Attorneys, can perform most (or almost all) of their work from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. And if you don’t allow at least some degree of telework (i.e.- two to three days per week), skilled professionals will leave for employers who allow this option. Indeed, so many of our colleagues have left (more than 20 percent of Agency Attorneys and Attorneys-at-Law) that much of the work either isn’t getting done or is significantly delayed to the detriment of New Yorkers needing their time-sensitive cases and applications reviewed.

Part of the recognition of us being a hard-to-retain, as well as a hard-to-recruit title, began with the waiving of our residency requirement this past November. Needless to say that didn’t happen by accident. We pushed hard in both bargaining and in the media for both telework and the end of our residency requirement.

Enter DC 37, the largest municipal union, which joined us in the push for telework. Belatedly, the mayor has recognized that the world has changed and that many of the city’s best employees are being poached by companies (and non-profits and other levels of government) that have realistic telework policies.

Long story short – As DC 37’s tentative agreement with the city is moving toward ratification (membership vote pending, results expected by early April), details of telework are supposed to be worked out on or about June 1st as per the City – DC 37 joint press conference and press release. Assuming ratification, not only will the economic pattern be set, but we should also be able to work out a suitable plan which works for our members and agencies.

We will let you, our hard-working members, know when there’s an update. Our next two collective bargaining sessions are scheduled for March 22 and April 18. Our Facebook page (CSBA Attorneys) and our website (www.csbanyc.org) are good pages to check for such updates.

Happy Spring and thank you as always for your patience and support!

P.S. – FYI: City employees, including us, will continue receiving high-quality, premium-free health insurance, an extremely rare benefit these days. Almost all private sector employees, as well as NYS employees, pay thousands of dollars in premiums per year.remiums per year. Thank you, Municipal Labor Committee.

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.

Good morning Distinguished Judges, Jurists, concerned panelists on the Future of the Courts and the Pandemic Practices Working Group:

I thank you on behalf of the members of the Civil Service Bar Association, the nearly 900 non-managerial Agency Attorneys employed by the City of New York in approximately 40 city agencies, people who themselves have generally risen from working class families and are dedicated to giving back and helping less fortunate New Yorkers. It is an honor to speak with you about their collective needs and experiences. I’m Saul Fishman, their President, with the privilege of serving for the past decade.

Read the full testimony

Updated leave guidance 
Annexed are three DCAS documents and one NYCHA document for your reference:

CSBA continues to advocate for the ability of our members to telecommute whenever possible. Even when the pandemic finally ends (and we’re most definitely not there yet), we want the option to work from home at least part-time. So much of what we do can be performed at least as effectively and efficiently away from the noise and distractions of the office, as demonstrated by the results over the past year.

The Teleworking Survey Results are in:

  • Of the 231 responses, the vast majority of members who responded (212) were able to perform all their work remotely during the approximately 18 month period when it was allowed, whereas the remaining 19 individuals reported being able to perform most of their work remotely.

  • 176 people felt that they were able to do their work better remotely than when in the office (with less distractions and less time wasted during the commute hence allowing for extra time being productive); 50 reported that they were able to accomplish about the same as from the office, and a mere 4 people thought that they could not perform everything as well.

  • The majority of respondents (134) want the ability to telework 2-3 days per week, whereas a sizable number of our colleagues (90) would like to be allowed to work remotely 4-5 days per week. Only 4 people felt that 1 day per week was ideal, and even fewer people (3) reported being OK with no telecommuting.

  • Finally, 215 respondents stated that if they are not provided with an option to telecommute, it would negatively impact their morale and/or desire to stay with their agency. By contrast, only 13 people stated that not being allowed to telework would have no negative effect on them.

Hopefully the incoming administration will take note of this valuable information, and provide options that attract and retain skilled professionals in today’s workforce. Thank you to the many members who took the time to participate in this anonymous survey. We hear you, loud and clear!