Early Autumn Update

Summer’s over and we are now gearing up for an exciting and challenging Fall.   Here is an update on some things we have been talking about in the past and a look at some topics that are important to you.

Survey  

I know that many of the members thought that the office made a poor and insulting attempt at ascertaing the issues in this office  by distributing the infamous survey.  I agree.  (I also found out that  the survey was not written by  a subcommittee of the Public Defender’s advisory board.)  But  I think that it is still a good idea  to candidly communicate with management about issues that interfere with our mission: to provide the finest legal representation to the indigent accused in Cook County.  To that end, please email any ideas or suggestions you have to board@cookcountypd.org   As I said earlier in a flash message sent to the members on our email burst list, the executive board met with top management including Judge Cunningham to express our collective disappointment and concern over the content and quality of the survey.  We meet again with management on 10/22/10 and would like to share any other thoughts or suggestions the members have to make the office an even more professional environment.

Negotiations 

Council 31 received on 9/30/2010 the arbitrator’s decision from the interest arbitration that AFSCME and the County engaged in over the four Sheriff’s locals and the results were that the arbitrator chose AFSCME’s offer because it was right and fair.  (The terms have been sent to everyone on the email burst list.  Not on the list?  Send an email to board@cookcountypd.org and include your name and worksite.  We will not add any cookcountyil.gov addresses (those are the county email addresses that are assigned to all county employees), so make sure you send us your personal email address.)

Contract negotiations with our local and the County resume on October 13, 2010.

The County’s finances are always an issue because how much money the County really has and how much the County says it has are definitely two different things.  Who will win the November 2nd election for County Board President? Will that individual increase, maintain or decrease the current County sales tax?  Will the hospital finally collect more of the monies it is owed?  These and other questions will determine how things will shape up for next year and as you can imagine, the situation is fluid and dynamic.  Rest assured that when the executive board knows more about the situation, we will share it with the membership in a timely manner.

Politics 

I can’t tell you who to vote for but  I can tell you that even though this is not a presidential election year, it is the year that we will choose not only our governor but also our U.S. Senator and also County Board Commissioners and President not to mention, Judges.  These elections are not meant for us to ignore and sit on the sidelines.  Every member of this local, at a minimum, should vote.  The governor’s race will have an impact on our pension plan, funding for Cook County and the generation of more revenue to meet the budget shortfall that is now inching closer to $14 Billion;  the Senate race will impact many of the agenda items set out by Barack Obama;  and the County Board President’s race will determine many things that will affect this office in terms of resources. 

Ideally, you should volunteer and work on a campaign.  Brother Joseph Gump (Executive-at-large; RM; PEOPLE chair) is on another leave from the office so he can devote weeks to the upcoming election.  If you would like to volunteer for AFSCME endorsed candidates by phone banking, canvassing, getting out the vote or working on election day as a pollwatcher, please email board@cookcountypd.org and we will forward the email to him.

A final reminder, the last day to register to vote or change address or registration for the election on 11/2/2010  is Tuesday, October 5, 2010.  Make sure you are registered to vote!

Local Trustee Election Reminder 

In case you missed all the notices, Kevin Ochalla and Rosa Silva are squaring off in a runoff election to be held at 2650 S. California on Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at the 7th Floor Library from 3:00 to 4:30 pm.

Know Your Rights

It is ironic that sometimes the people who are best at defending the accused do such a pitiful job representing themselves.  Please note that if you are called by a supervisor into a meeting or “counseling session”, AND you even remotely think that the meeting or session may lead to your being disciplined or some other adverse action, then you are entitled to union representation.   This right, codified in our contract in section 11.5 comes from the language in NLRB v. J. Weingarten, Inc., 420 U.S. 251 (1975). 

In order for an employee to receive Weingarten protection, they must first ask for a union
steward or representative.  After this request is made, management  has three options: 1) grant the request and delay questions until a steward arrives; 2) deny the request and end the investigatory interview; or 3) give the employee the choice of a) continuing without a steward or b) ending the interview. If management denies the request for a steward and continues with the interview, then management  has violated the terms of our contract and a timely grievance should be filed.

Odds and Ends

If you are a Facebooker, make sure to friend our local’s page.  The page is full of great links, photos and quick announcements that don’t always make it to this website.  Not on Facebook?  Well, it’s almost worth it to join Facebook, just to become a fan of our page.

We had six new lawyers started in our office last month.  Here is a picture from their Local 3315 orientation.  Please welcome them.  They are all MVPs and full members!  Two new hires (not pictured below) have slipped through the cracks and the Board will be catching up with them as soon as possible.

In Solidarity,

K.S. Galhotra

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4 Comments

  1. Julie Koehler
    Posted October 1, 2010 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    “I also found out that the survey was not written by a subcommittee of the Public Defender’s advisory board.”

    The obvious follow-up question then is “who wrote it?”

    Bob, who wrote the survey? On whose authority do you have it that the survey was not written by “a subcommittee of the Public Defender’s advisory board?” And if it wasn’t written by the subcommittee, then why did the survey explicitly state right on it that it was?

  2. Bruce Mosbacher
    Posted October 1, 2010 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Sister Julie (aka Baby Moma) pitches a batting practice fastball. Will our clean up hitter (aka Sexy Sikh) hit it out of the park??? Stay tuned!

  3. Local 3315
    Posted October 1, 2010 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    This is not a deposition.

  4. Bruce Mosbacher
    Posted October 2, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Permalink

    The Sexy Sikh takes the pitch!

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