June 1998 Legal Update

LEGAL UPDATE
By: Louis D. Stober, Jr., Esq.
CSEA REGIONAL ATTORNEY

1992 LAYOFFS ATTACKED IN LATEST CSEA LEGAL ACTION

As all County employees know, 1992 was the year in which approximately 2,500 employees were either terminated or demoted in the County's attempt to effectuate layoffs. Currently, CSEA is fighting those layoffs in several arenas. In the Appellate Division, CSEA is fighting for class action status for all laid off employees in: Weitzenberg et al v. Nassau County et al. In addition, Class Action 214-95 is awaiting an arbitration date. In that grievance, CSEA is attacking the layoffs as a violation of Sections 9, 10 and 14 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. In addition, CSEA has filed a breach of contract lawsuit against the County on the same issues in Supreme Court, Nassau County. Our legal arguments in these two cases include the following:

  • When the County improperly "laid off" or "bumped and retreated" the 2,500 employees in 1992 (hereinafter "the layoffs"), they violated the disciplinary sections of the Collective Bargaining Agreement ("CBA") in that employees were, in essence, hit with disciplinary penalties (termination or demotion), without having disciplinary charges brought against them. This constitutes a violation of Section 10-5 of the CBA which mandates that no penalty can be imposed upon any employee covered by Section 10 unless charges are served within 20 days;
  • The lay offs violated Section 9 of the CBA in that the County's actions exceeded, superseded and conflicted with the provisions of the CBA;
  • The lay offs violated Section 14 of the CBA in that all noncompetitive and labor class employees are to receive the layoff protections of Section 80-a of the Civil Service Law. Since the County did not properly abolish the affected employees positions, the layoffs violated Section 80-a and therefore violated Section 14 of the CBA.

CSEA is seeking a decision holding that the County violated the CBA and that the affected employees be reinstated with full back pay and benefits to their positions up to the date that each employee's position was "properly" abolished, if at all. To date, there have been no decisions rendered on these legal theories. Once a decision is rendered I will report same in a future Legal Update.

As you can see, CSEA has not given up on those caught up in the horrors of the 1992 layoffs. Unfortunately, when embroiled in a legal battle, there is no such thing as a fast resolution. However, patience and persistence will prevail in the end.