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City, Police Union At Odds Over ‘Show Up Pay’

City, Police Union At Odds Over ‘Show Up Pay’ On Feb 22, 2013 09:45 am UTICA, NY – The city of Utica and its police union are at odds over $620,000 that’s not in the city budget. Utica’s PBA President … Continue reading

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City of Utica files grievance against police union – YNN, Your News Now

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UTICA, N.Y. — In an effort to save the City of Utica hundreds of thousands of dollars, Utica also filed a grievance Tuesday against the city’s police union. The city is trying to gain more control over which officers are … Continue reading

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Woman charged in connection with ambush slaying of New York firefighters | Duluth News Tribune | Duluth, Minnesota

Published December 28, 2012, 03:45 PM Woman charged in connection with ambush slaying of New York firefighters A 24-year-old woman was arrested Friday and charged in connection with the guns used in the Christmas Eve ambush slaying of two volunteer … Continue reading

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Police: NY gunman set ‘trap’ for firefighters – TwinCities.com

Police: NY gunman set ‘trap’ for firefighters By JOHN KEKIS Associated Press Posted:   12/24/2012 08:01:23 AM CST Updated:   12/24/2012 05:38:34 PM CST Click photo to enlarge Map locates Webster, N.Y. where… (Map locates Webster, N.Y. where firefighters were shot) … Continue reading

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Union grievance in Herkimer not going away – Utica, NY – The Observer-Dispatch, Utica, New York

HERKIMER — The local union representing Herkimer County employees has filed a grievance over the apparent failure of the county to list a job opening. County officials said a clerical error caused the problem, but the union still is continuing … Continue reading

Saugerties Teachers’ Association, school district may go to arbitration – DailyFreeman.com

SAUGERTIES, N.Y. — A grievance and improper practice claim filed by the Saugerties school teachers’ union against the district was premature and unnecessary, the Board of Education president said.

The Saugerties Teachers’ Association filed a grievance Sept. 7 over an issue with family health insurance for employees, said board President George Heidcamp, who said the union also filed an improper practice claim against the district in regards to the same matter. Heidcamp said he felt the union’s filings were premature and unnecessary because the district had agreed to go to arbitration with the union to resolve the issues.

“I just think it’s wrong,” Heidcamp said during a board meeting last week. “I think this grievance is frivolous. I think there’s no merit to it. There’s nothing there. We haven’t violated it yet.”

The board had been scheduled to vote on whether to approve or deny the grievance, but opted to table the resolution.

At issue is language in the contracts for the Saugerties Teachers’ Association and the Saugerties Education Support Association that states if spouses of school employees receive buyout payments from their employers in lieu of insurance coverage, the district employee is eligible only for individual coverage. The district sent a letter to employees earlier this year stating, in part, that any employees who had inappropriately been enrolled in family coverage under the school district’s health insurance plan during the past six years should contact the district and plan to make reimbursement.

Current union members were also asked to sign a form stating that their spouse does not receive compensation or buyout payments from their own employer’s health insurance before the district would enroll them in the family plan.

During Tuesday’s meeting, union President Patrick Reynolds said the Saugerties Teachers’ Association felt the portion of their contract dealing with the family health insurance had never been enforced by the district.

“Therefore, what we said in our grievance, was that we felt that language was waived,” Reynolds said.

School board Trustee Teresa Bach-Tucker said that portion of the contract had, in fact, been enforced. She said it was only recently that the district realized there was a problem and is now working to correct that.

Reynolds said the improper practice claim related to the form the district wanted union members to sign. He said such a form was subject to negotiation.

Heidcamp agreed with that.

Reynolds also said there was discussion between representatives for the union and the district about going to arbitration to resolve the health insurance issues. He said that discussion came after the grievance and improper practice claim were filed. Going to arbitration is still something the union is interested in doing, Reynolds said. He said when the district and union sign a memorandum of understanding regarding that arbitration, then the Saugerties Teachers’ Association will drop the grievance and improper practice claim.

Reynolds added that the union had hoped to have that memorandum signed the week before, but a meeting with the district was canceled. He said the union hoped to do it instead during a meeting Tuesday, Nov. 20.

Later in the week, though, the district asked to postpone the Nov. 20 meeting. That meeting was originally scheduled for the union and district to meet in super conciliation to try to resolve two final issues surrounding a new proposed employment contract.

via Saugerties Teachers’ Association, school district may go to arbitration – DailyFreeman.com.

As deadline nears, contract talks hold up evaluations | Press & Sun-Bulletin | pressconnects.com

ALBANY — Disagreements over school employees’ salary and benefits — not the new state-mandated teacher evaluations — are what’s stalling some New York districts and their union partners from submitting performance assessment plans by a January approval deadline.

Though the majority of the state’s roughly 700 districts missed the July 1 deadline to submit evaluation plans to the state Education Department, only about 119 have yet to reach agreement. As of Friday, 578 districts had submitted plans, 536 had received feedback and about 225 had been approved.

via As deadline nears, contract talks hold up evaluations | Press & Sun-Bulletin | pressconnects.com.

Contract Talks Stall Districts, Unions from Agreeing on Evaluations | wgrz.com

ALBANY — Disagreements over school employees’ salary and benefits — not the new state-mandated teacher evaluations — are what’s stalling some New York districts and their union partners from submitting performance assessment plans by a January approval deadline.

Though the majority of the state’s roughly 700 districts missed the July 1 deadline to submit evaluation plans to the state Education Department, only about 119 have yet to reach agreement. As of Friday, 578 districts had submitted plans, 536 had received feedback and about 225 had been approved.

Under the controversial new system, teachers will be rated “highly effective,” “effective,” “developing” or “ineffective,” based largely on student test scores and observations. Two consecutive “ineffective” ratings could be grounds for termination.

For schools that haven’t submitted or are waiting for review or approval, a Jan. 17 deadline looms. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has vowed districts without a state-stamped plan will lose a scheduled aid increase.

State Education Commissioner John King Thursday told Gannett’s Albany Bureau that while most districts and partners have been working together productively, others are stuck.

“In some cases, the issues that are holding up completion are not about the evaluation but actually are about other contract issues — salary issues, benefits issues,” he said. “Those are sometimes more difficult to resolve.

“My hope is that as we get closer to January 17, districts will either resolve them or complete side agreements that resolve the evaluation issues, even if they haven’t resolved every issue that they need to to complete a new contract,” he continued.

Critics of the evaluation plans, which in order to be developed require schools and union leaders to work out local details, worried early on that either party might use the January deadline to force the other into making concessions.

In districts where a union contract has expired, negotiations over evaluations have become “entangled with traditional collective bargaining issues,” said Robert Lowry, deputy director of the state Council of School Superintendents.

Where that has happened, “there is no end in sight to reaching an agreement,” Lowry said. “Either you make concessions on traditional contract items, or you risk losing state aid. That’s an awful position to be in.”

Like King, Lowry said his group is also advising districts to separate discussions about the evaluations from other contract negotiations.

“Certainly, we don’t want to see districts and superintendents or boards getting blamed for a loss of state aid because they couldn’t reach an agreement. And particularly, if it’s over issues not related to (the evaluations),” Lowry said.

Richard Iannuzzi, president of New York State United Teachers, a statewide union, said it should be a local decision whether to deal with the issues separately or in the same contract.

He argued that neither schools nor unions were attempting to take advantage.

“I don’t think that either side is trying to hold up their plan in order to get a leg up in collective bargaining,” he said. “No one wants to see this process any more disjointed than it already is.”

Some districts might choose to ignore the deadline, though, he said. For wealthier districts that don’t depend as heavily on state dollars, it might be more expensive to implement the new evaluation system than the roughly 4-percent aid increase is worth.

He said districts in the Hudson Valley, suburbs of Rochester and on Long Island might be in a position to turn down the aid increase.

Districts that miss the deadline will still need to design a plan that gets approved by the state, but the law says they have to do it by the time they negotiate their next union contract. Cuomo’s threat, which Iannuzzi called “successful” if not ideal, acts as an incentive to implement the new plans sooner.

“So if they have a contract that runs out let’s say to 2014 or 2015, then they wouldn’t have to deal with the new evaluation law until 2014 or 2015,” Iannuzzi said. “They are going to be few and far between, but I would not be too shocked if one or two popped up at the end that way.”

The union president said districts’ progress in submitting plans was what he expected.

“Our anticipation from the beginning was that it would start slowly and then move very rapidly,” he said.

King, the education commissioner, hailed that now the majority of districts have submitted and a significant number have had plans approved.

“We’re moving in a positive direction,” he said.

via Contract Talks Stall Districts, Unions from Agreeing on Evaluations | wgrz.com.