UPDATE 3/05/2021: We have reached an agreement, which is finally fully executed by the City, Local 237 and us (the Civil Service Bar Association) avoiding any layoffs for our members for at least the remainder of this fiscal year, and likely for next fiscal year as well, provided that the City receives the full amount of aid that is anticipated from the Federal government. In return, we had to agree to the City temporarily delaying payments to our welfare fund. Based upon our reserves, we should be able to continue providing all welfare fund benefits in the usual manner. If you want to see the details, download the No Layoff Agreement here.
UPDATE 12/08/2020: We have been contacted by the Mayor’s Office of Labor Relations, which is seeking to defer paying a very significant amount towards our welfare fund as a way of helping the city bridge its revenue shortfall. Numbers are being crunched, and we have to see if what they are suggesting is feasible.
Needless to say, we are hopeful that there will be no CSBA member layoffs, and are now working in conjunction with City Employees Union Teamsters Local 237 in arriving at an agreement with the City. We must, at the same time, structure whatever agreement in a manner that allows our welfare fund to continue providing the range of benefits specified in our plan description.
As you undoubtedly heard, Mayor de Blasio and the City Council reached a budget filled with pain and cutbacks for fiscal 2021, primarily due to the severe damage inflicted on the NYC economy by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly every agency and program is being forced to accept significant budget cuts.
The Mayor is specifically demanding $1 Billion in savings from “Labor”, i.e. city workers. He has stated that if the unions do not agree to a plan to reduce the city’s expenses in that tremendously high amount by October 1st [or alternatively, if the Federal government does not provide relief or the State does not increase NYC’s ability to borrow the money], twenty-two thousand (22,000) hardworking municipal workers will be terminated.
It is too early to predict what will happen, particularly its impact on our titles, Agency Attorneys, Agency Attorney Internes and Attorneys-at-Law. The Municipal Labor Committee (“the MLC”), which is comprised of approximately 100 NYC employee unions representing over 200,000 city workers (including us), is exploring that which is feasible with city officials to save jobs, money and services. Some form of retirement incentive, which would require State legislation, and assistance with financing city obligations and expenses, are reportedly being discussed. Redeployment/ transfer and presumably furloughs are among the other potential outcomes.
In the meantime, if you are curious as to the contractual protections, priorities and procedure related to layoffs, they can be found within Article XVII of the DC 37 Citywide Agreement (negotiated years ago but still in effect). It is readily available by searching the web with “DC 37 Citywide Agreement” or as a link to this site.
Prominently mentioned is the requirement that the city provide us, at least thirty days in advance, with a detailed list of the names, titles and agency of each at-risk bargaining unit member. Although such a list is reportedly being created, it is important to remember that being on the list merely indicates that you are “at risk”, not that you will in fact be laid off.
Few of these potential options are desirable, with the possible exception of an early retirement incentive package. Again, it is still too early to know how this will play out. We will let you know more when there is something tangible to share. Needless to say, we will do whatever we reasonably can to protect our members’ interests.