Monthly Archives: August 2004

2004.08.27: Stand With 1199 and Fight Back! (Legal Aid)

From: Michael Letwin
Sent: Friday, August 27, 2004 12:24 PM
To: 1199 Members; ALAA MEMBERS
Subject: New Signers (Total 41): Stand With 1199 and Fight Back!

The following has been endorsed by the undersigned ALAA members (new names in bold); additional names will be published as they are added.

It is particularly urgent given that our givebacks are paying for new attorneys, and that 1199 has rejected givebacks by a vote of 86%.

Please also note that this letter concerns not only 1199 layoffs — critical as they are — but the need for an emergency Delegate Council meeting to take public action (i.e., beyond grievances) against the Board’s entire attack on our unions.

If you agree with this letter, please stand up and say so.

———————-
Dear Fellow ALAA Members:

We are in the midst of a very serious crisis.

The Legal Aid Board’s unfolding program of 1199 layoffs, transfers, givebacks and unilateral “restructuring” is the most serious attack in our unions’ history.  This assault cannot be stopped by empty threats, unrealistic schemes, further concessions, or hoping it all just goes away.  Business as usual only breeds fatalism and impotence.

But we are not powerless.  As hundreds of 1199 support staff declared in a recent statement (below), “[i]nstead of giving money back. . . . we need to use all our resources to stop [the Board by]: mobilizing City Council, working with the media, picketing Board members, and more. . . . We have more power than they do.”  This stance has already contributed to withdrawal of some 1199 layoff notices.

To reaffirm that fighting spirit and that ALAA and 1199 are — as we were in the 1990s — “United in Spirit, United in Action,” we propose the following emergency response:

1.  Draw a Line in the Sand.  Immediately inform the Board that we categorically reject *any* additional ALAA/1199 layoffs or give-backs and will not cooperate with any restructuring (time sheets, etc.) to which the unions have not agreed.

2.  Back It Up With Public Action.  Give this weight by telling the Board that, unless it agrees to the above position, we and 1199 (subject to its agreement) will launch a rapidly-escalating public campaign, including a press conference and pickets at Board members’ offices in early September.

3.  Fully Inform the Membership at Every Stage.  There can be no meaningful membership engagement or leadership accountability until all members receive complete, prompt, factual written reports on each discussion held with management and/or the Board.

If you agree, please join us in publicly calling for an emergency Delegate Council meeting to adopt and implement the above.

CDD-Bronx
Kissa Broadie, Complex D
Antonia Codling, Complex A;  ALAA Trustee & Exec. Bd. Member Laura Pitter, Complex A Lia Rodriguez, Complex C Jodi Smith, Complex A

CDD-Brooklyn
William Boggs, Complex 3
Erica Cioffero, Complex 1
Alexandria Cubbage, Complex 3
Jason DeJesus, Complex 4
Katherine Fitzer, Complex 1
Alexandra Flanders, Complex 3
William Fowlkes, Complex 2; ALAA Trustee & Exec. Bd. Member Molly Gallivan, Complex 3 Cedric Gayle, Complex 5 Michael Higgins, Complex 3 Melissa Kanas, Complex 4 Estajo Koslow, Complex 2 Nanette Kripke, Complex 2 Adrian Lesher, Alternate Delegate, Complex 5 Michael Letwin, Complex 3 Paul Liu, Complex 1 Arlene McCrae, Complex 5 Kevin McManus, Complex 4 Meighan McSherry, Complex 2 Alba Morales, Complex 3 Susan O. Morris, Complex 3; ALAA Sgt.-at-Arms & Exec. Bd. Member Nicole Mull, Complex 4 Edwin Novillo, Complex 2 Patricia Ragone, Complex 5 Karena Rahall, Complex 4 Tasha Ricks, Complex 3 Jennifer Ritter, Delegate, Complex 3 Andrew Rowe, Complex 3 Scott Rudnick, Complex 4 Shekera Shahid, Complex 2 Monica Sheehan, Delegate, Complex 3 Jeffrey Sugarman, Complex 3 Steven Terry, Alternate Delegate, Complex 5 Azalia Torres, Complex 3; ALAA Sr. Attorney Rep. & Exec. Bd. Member Richard Torres, Complex 1 Christopher Wright, Alternate Delegate, Complex 2 Robert Zuss, Complex 5; Vice-President, CDD-Brooklyn & Exec. Bd. Member

Other
Dale Wilker, Prisoners Rights Project

—————————-
1199 MEMBERSHIP STATEMENT (AUGUST 2004)

*WE SAY NO!
–No to Lay-Offs
–No to Givebacks
–No to Short Staffing
–No to Union Busting

Management wants us to defer our next raise of 3% for 10 months and to give up transit checks for an entire year.  In all, they want us to give up almost $1 million to help them pay for buyouts that would further reduce our numbers and weaken our union.  And they won’t even guarantee that it we do all this, they won’t turn around and lay-off more people later.

These give backs would mean losing about $2,000 each.  We are the lowest paid Legal Aid workers by far and simply cannot afford it!  Legal Aid Board members, some of whom make millions of dollars a year have offered nothing.  It’s outrageous that they’re asking us to pay for their mistakes.

Instead of giving money back to management, we need to confront them.  We are part of one of the strongest unions in the country.  If management is willing to work with us, we should keep working with them.  But if thy are going to lay off even one member, we need to use all our resources to stop them including: mobilizing City Council, working with the media, picketing Board members, and more. We can show them that it is not in their interests to lay us off.  We have more power than they do.

For these reasons we pledge to SAY NO TO THE PROPOSED GIVE BACKS and urge others to reject them!

[Signed by 225 members of 1199 support staff]