Union Endorsement of 2016 Library Budget

The following Union endorsement of the Library’s 2016 Budget appears on the website Smithtown Matters and has been posted to the Smithtown, Commack, and Kings Park Patch websites. It is also scheduled to be published in next week’s Smithtown Messenger and Smithtown News.

CSEA Local 1000, AFSCME, AFL-CIO, Suffolk Local 852, Unit 8349 endorses the passage of the 2016 budget for the Smithtown Special Library District.

Of course it does, you say: the union, which represents the 100-plus full- and part-time Civil Service employees of the Smithtown Library, has a vested interest in the budget passing.

True enough. Like working people everywhere, library employees have bills to pay and families to care for. A failed budget vote could mean reduced hours or lost jobs for employees due to reduced library hours and service to the community. Union employees are not tax grabbers or highly-paid political appointees. We earn no more than our neighbors with comparable educational and job requirements, and many earn less. No union member works at a public library to get rich.

But safeguarding jobs and families is not the sole motivating factor in endorsing this budget. Most of our members pursued a career in library work because they have a commitment to public service and appreciate the value of a good public library to this or any community.

Good public libraries don’t come free. It takes money to stock, staff, and maintain a public library. Still, all things considered, your public library is the community’s best educational, cultural, and recreational value. Does that sound self-serving? It isn’t. Library employees are taxpayers, too. Like everyone else, we demand value for our money and we scrutinize where our tax dollars go. And we know how little of that tax money, percentage-wise, goes to public libraries.

Ultimately we know that it is the public’s satisfaction with the service they receive on each visit to the library in person or online at the library’s website throughout the year upon which rests the outcome of any budget vote. The union employees of the Smithtown Special Library District take pride in delivering the best service they can with the resources with which they are provided. From supervisors and schedule-makers to those who check out books, DVDs and CDs with a smile and a friendly word; to those who go the extra mile to track down a rare book or article or to provide help downloading an e-book; to those who instill the joy of reading in our youngest patrons; to those who catalog and process a steady stream of new materials, keep the ledgers, pay the bills, and keep our buildings and equipment clean, safe and working properly, every member of the employees’ union cares about the work they do and the quality of service they provide. And, in case you hadn’t noticed, even in the internet age, public libraries are busier than ever. Come by any weekend or weekday after school and check it out. It should be evident that all of us, employees and community residents alike, are best served by the passage of a fair and responsible library budget.

The 2016 library budget vote will be held at all four branches – Smithtown, Commack, Kings Park and Nesconset – from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 13. Please join us in voting “yes.”

CSEA 2016 endorsement

Health Insurance Premium Negotiations

As required by our contract (see the bottom of page 20), CSEA and our Unit’s Contract Negotiating Committee will meet beginning Monday, June 15, to listen to the Library Board’s concerns and/or offer(s) relating to employee health insurance coverage and the percentage of health insurance premiums paid by Library employees.

CSEA’s official response to the Board’s request can be viewed here (posted with permission of CSEA; click on image to enlarge):

Letter from CSEA May 7 2015

The only topic on the table at this time is health insurance coverage; this is not a reopening of the contract, which runs through the end of 2016.

Once negotiations begin, those on the Contract Negotiating Committee are constrained from discussing the contents of the meetings or any offers/counteroffers with other Unit members.

Unit members may be assured that superior health insurance coverage for our members, both active and retired, and fair and affordable premiums are, as always, our highest priority.

CSEA Retirees Application Form

Several retiring members have asked for an application to join CSEA Retirees. The form is available online at cseany.org, but here is a .pdf copy ready to print out and mail in.

Library Board Meeting Tonight

Members are reminded that there is a Library Board meeting tonight at 7:00 p.m. at the Smithtown Main Building. These meetings are open to the public, and the staff, as well as the general public, is encouraged to attend.

Decisions are made at these meetings that can affect your job, your paycheck, and your benefits. Let the Library Board know that you, your family, and your neighbors are interested in how the these decisions are made simply by being present. Remember that there is no better check on governance than public scrutiny.

Around Suffolk County: Employee Contributions Toward Health Insurance

To combat speculation and misinformation, we have been gathering information from Suffolk County public libraries and comparable local government employers regarding employees’ contributions toward health insurance premiums to share with our members. This list will be updated as additional information is obtained.

Percentages represent employees’ contribution toward Individual Coverage Plan premiums, and are current as of May 2015.

Our thanks to the Library Directors, HR managers, union officials and others who provided this information at our request. All figures shown here are public information.

Public Libraries

0% – Bayport-Blue Point Public Library (Employees hired before July 2005)

0% – Cutchogue-New Suffolk Library

0% – Harborfields Public Library (Employees hired before 2011)

0% – Mastic-Moriches-Shirley Community Library

0% – Patchogue-Medford Library (Employees working 5 years or more)

0% – Suffolk Cooperative Library System (Employees hired before 1995)

0% – West Babylon Public Library (Employees hired before June 2009)

3% – Patchogue-Medford Library (Employees working less than 5 years)

10% – Bayport-Blue Point Public Library (Employees hired July 2005 – June 2007)

10% – Hauppauge Public Library (Employees working 5 years or more)

10% – Islip Public Library

10% – West Babylon Public Library (Employees hired after June 2009)

15% – Brentwood Public Library

15% – Harborfields Public Library (Employees hired since 2011)

15% – Hauppauge Public Library (Employees working less than 5 years)

15% – Sayville Public Library

15% – Suffolk Cooperative Library System (Employees hired after December 1994)

17% – Smithtown Special Library District 

20% – Bayport-Blue Point Public Library (Employees hired since July 2007)

20% – Longwood Public Library

Average of Public Libraries Reporting So Far = 10.6% 

Comparable Local Government Employers

0% – Sachem Central School District

0% – Suffolk County Community College

0% – Wainscott Common School District

8% – Amagansett Union Free School District

10% – East Hampton Union Free School District

10% – Town of Smithtown Full-Time Unit

12% – Montauk School District

12% – New York State (Employee Grades 9 and below)

12% – State University of New York at Stony Brook (Employee Grades 9 and below)

15% – Hauppauge Union Free School District

15% – Kings Park Central School District

15% – Smithtown Fire Department

15.5% – Three Village Central School District (Increases to 16% on July 1, 2015)

16% – Commack Union Free School District

16% – New York State (Employee Grades 10 and above)

16% – State University of New York at Stony Brook (Employee Grades 10 and above)

18.5% – Smithtown Central School District

Average of Comparable Local Government Employers Reporting So Far = 11.6%

Board Requests Contract Be Reopened

As you may have heard, the Library Board has requested our contract – barely one year old – be opened for “revisiting and revising the employee and retiree contribution rates toward the medical coverage premiums sustained by the Library.” The Board, “candidly, would be seeking to gain additional % increases from those unit members employed as of July 1, 2015, and those retiring subsequent to that date.” CSEA will be responding soon to the Board on our behalf.

At this point we have no idea what “additional % increases” the Board is considering. Neither do we have any idea what, if anything at all, the Board may be prepared to offer in exchange for any increases.

We share this information, frustratingly incomplete as it is, now for the benefit of those members considering whether to accept the retirement incentive now being offered by the Library Board. Those individuals must weigh their options with the additional understanding that changes in the health insurance contribution rate for employees and retirees may be forthcoming.

We have no doubt that each of you has many questions to which we do not yet have answers. We ask that members hold all speculative questions until we have more information to share. We can assure members that the Union will defend to the very best of our ability the benefits our members have earned.

Union members will be kept informed of additional developments via this website. If you have not yet subscribed for breaking news on this site to be delivered to your email, please take a moment to do so now.

Purchasing Power

CSEA is pleased to announce a new Member Benefit in the form of a partnership with Purchasing Power.

Purchasing Power will permit CSEA members to purchase select brand-name products through manageable payroll or checking account deductions, with zero interest, over a 12-month period.

  • Purchasing Power is the premier purchase program for leading employers and organizations, as well as the federal government and military.
  • Shop thousands of premium, brand name products, vacation packages and education services.
  • Your job is your credit. Simply meet the minimum eligibility criteria to participate.
  • Payments are automatically deducted over time from your paycheck.
  • Budgeting is easy with responsible spending limits based on salary and tenure.

For a limited time, Purchasing Power is offering 15 percent off your order. This offer expires May 2, 2015.

Visit https://www.purchasingpower.com/?domain=cseany

to sign up and start shopping today.

Union Dues for 2015

Please be advised that there have been slight increases to CSEA union dues for 2015.

CSEA dues are set not by our union, CSEA, or by the Library, but by the New York Office of the State Comptroller. Neither the union nor the Library has any input into the process.

The new dues schedule shown here is taken from OOTSC Bulletin 1371, dated January 20, 2015:

Annual Salary: Bi-Weekly Deduction

Under $5,000: $ 6.29
$5,000 to $9,999: $ 9.35
$10,000 to $12,999: $12.89
$13,000 to $15,999: $15.64
$16,000 to $21,999: $17.51
$22,000 to $27,999: $19.44
$28,000 to $29,999: $19.80
$30,000 to $31,999: $21.00
$32,000 to $33,999: $22.06
$34,000 to $35,999: $22.46
$36,000 to $37,999: $23.59
$38,000 to $39,999: $24.74
$40,000 to $44,999: $25.57
$45,000 to $49,999: $26.21
$50,000 to $54,999: $26.86
$55,000 to $59,999: $27.51
$60,000 and over: $28.17

Celebrating the Season

The holiday season was celebrated Caribbean-style at the dinner following the General Membership Meeting at the Bahama Breeze Island Grill in Lake Grove on December 5. Special thanks are due to Dina Lally, who handled the bulk of the arrangements with the restaurant; and to Sheila Doherty, who ably assisted. Several fine items were raffled off during the dinner, including some delectable treats, a basket of hair care products donated by Michelle Aro, wife of Carmine, and a lovely red woolen throw fashioned by Florence Lucker.

Seventy-three people attended the dinner. Unit President Richard Riis’ remarks at the General Membership Meeting that preceded the Holiday Dinner included mention of the Unit’s achievement in bringing the Unit’s 2013-2014 to balance, and, on a social note, extending the Unit’s congratulations and best wishes to several members recently engaged, including Beth Bielskas, Lisa Bitran, Samira Brigati, Sheila Doherty, Jesse Lemke, and Erin McCann. Romance was certainly in the air in 2014!

Photographs of the festivities may be viewed by clicking the “Photo Gallery” link at the top of this page.

Prescription Drug Co-Pay Reimbursement

medicinemoney120810-304Now is the time to prepare for your prescription drug co-pay reimbursement from the CSEA Employee Benefit Fund. The EBF reimburses co-pays and other out-of-pocket costs for prescription drugs which are not covered by the member’s regular prescription drug plan once annually, up to a maximum of $200 per family per calendar year. Prescriptions must be dispensed by a licensed pharmacist. Drugs, vitamins, diet supplements, etc., which can be purchased without a prescription are not covered.

Complete the claim form (see link below) and submit with your itemized pharmacy printout and/or Explanation Of Benefits (EOB) from your health insurance carrier when you have reached the maximum benefit(s) for the current calendar year. If you do not accumulate the maximum allowed, submit your claim after December 31 for what you did pay.

The deadline for claim submission is March 31, 2015.

Cash register receipts, original pharmacy/physicians receipts and cancelled checks are not acceptable.

PS: The claim form requires your EBF ID Number. This number can be found on your EBF card, not your CSEA union card. If you do not have an EBF card, you can call EBF Member Assistance at (800) EBF-CSEA or (800) 323-2732.

CLAIM FORM: To access the claim form, follow this link to the EBF page, select “Reimbursed Benefits” from the menu at left, then select “Rx Co-Pay Form (Local).”


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