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Testimony of CSBA President Saul Fishman before the Pandemic Practices Working Group, June 7, 2022

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.

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Coronavirus Update

COVID Testing is now available for City Employees

Attached is a listing of COVID-19 testing sites in each borough exclusively for city employees. Unfortunately, the city is currently not letting us go get tested on agency time, so it is recommended that appointments be made during lunch or before work.

Another way of getting yourself tested, and also your your family, is available to all via email request to the Federal government. Email either covidtests.gov or usps.com/covidtest .

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.

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CSBA Member Survey on Teleworking

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!

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Mandatory Vaccination Mandate Agreement

The vast majority of our members are vaccinated and want to be as safe as possible for themselves, their families and their co-workers. However, as there are some members who are seeking accommodations or exemptions for religious or medical reasons, we have arrived at the following very time-sensitive agreement.

Please note that we are still actively pursuing the Return-to-Office issue, for which we filed the Motion to Intervene in DC37’s Improper Practice Petition. We hope to be able to provide an update on that important issue shortly.

Executed CSBA Vaccine Mandate Agreement

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CIVIL SERVICE BAR ASSOCIATION AFFIRMS THAT BLACK LIVES MATTER

As previously expressed on our Facebook page [CSBA Attorneys, 6/01/2020], this union of approximately one thousand NYC government Agency Attorneys, Attorney Interns and Attorneys-at-Law strongly supports the Black Lives Matter movement. The recent murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and Rayshard Brooks by police officers have underscored the importance of police reform. Here in New York, we still remember how Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell and Eric Garner died at the hands of police officers simply because they were Black. Recently, we were appalled to see numerous instances of police brutality against peaceful protestors. Read more…

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