MEA + OLR Meeting

(L to R) Matthew Campese (OLR Assistant Commissioner), Alice Wong, (MEA Executive Director), Renee Campion (OLR Commissioner), Darrell L. Sims (MEA President), Tamara Lake (OLR Assistant Commissioner), Stuart Salles (MEA Legal Counsel)

Dear Commissioner Campion, Assistant Commissioner Lake, and Assistant Commissioner Campese,  

Thank you for taking time to meet with the MEA. We look forward to continuing development of a working relationship with the Office of Labor Relations.

MEA recently wrote to First Deputy Mayor Wright because there has been no follow up from the Office Labor Relations regarding the labor issues presented at the July 13, 2022 in-person meeting and the July 29, 2022 letter summarizing the meeting, as well as the January 3, 2022 letter the MEA sent to Mayor Adams.  It is anticipated that you have answers to address many of the issues we discussed.  The following items are being presented to you for which we advocate and seek answers and responses:    

Presentation of Managerial Labor Issues for Discussion:

Pay Raises for Managers:  When will managers receive pay raises?  Will managerial pay raises be same / similar to the DC 37 Economic Agreement including the $3,000 pensionable bonus and work flexibility?  Managerial employee salaries are stagnant and significantly inadequate to address increases in the cost of living and the highest inflation rate in over forty years.  Pay raises are desperately need for all City employees.  The lack of fair and timely pay raises has negative impact on the morale of City employees. 

Pay Equality for All Employees:  When will managers be paid equally? Pay equity for all managers.

The MEA requests critical and productive follow-up to the NYC Council’s 2021 Report on disparity in salaries among women and minorities civil service employees when compared to white men’s salaries for the same work in the same civil service titles with the same seniority.  The report provides stunning data comparing salaries of women and minorities with salaries of white males.  Salaries for women and minorities were substantially less than their white male counter-parts.  Disparity in salaries not only affects victims with lesser pay today, it lessens the perpetuity value of the victims’ monthly pension and social security incomes upon retirement.  Pay disparity creates an artificial and inferior sub-servant identity in the workplace for the victims.  It is possible for employees who are victims of pay disparity discrimination to suffer from unwarranted stress and financial hardship.  The MEA advocates for abolishment of pay disparity.

Both parties agreed to have further discussions on this issue.  MEA stated that we would like to participate in any follow-up committees or activities by City agencies or the City Council regarding this Report.

MEA Participation in the Work Flexible Committee: It is requested that MEA be included as a member of the Work Flexible Committee representing managerial employees.

Webinars on Healthcare BenefitsWith the conversion of NYC Retirees Original Medicare healthcare benefits to a Medicare Advantage Plan, we are requesting OLR to provide membership seminars for that transition and for members anticipating retirement.  We strongly believe the more informed our members are, the better choices they will be able to make when deciding on healthcare benefits.  Propose meeting between OLR and Aetna with MEA Retirees to understand changes in health care insurance and benefits.

Paid Parental LeaveOLR committed to revisiting this matter with Mayor Adams and will communicate with MEA regarding overall usage data for the PPL Program. MEA proposed a Paid Family Leave Program similar to the unions for the managers.  A City employee must work fifteen years to earn twenty-seven days of annual leave per year.  By the time an employee reaches fifteen years of City service (a senior manager), he or she in most cases is beyond child rearing age.  Because of the age of most senior managers, the PPL Program does not provide any benefit for them although they are contributing two annual leave days per year to help fund the Program.  Based on this rationale, the PPL Program is unfair and inappropriate for most senior managers whose age renders them beyond child rearing.  Whereas, a Paid Family Leave Program would more appropriately provide leave for the care of children, parents, and immediate family members for all managers.  The Paid Parental Leave Program is outdated / obsolete because of limitations on what managers are eligible to benefit from its usage.   Although not discussed, in addition to two annual leave days being taken from each senior manager who earns twenty-seven days of annual leave per year, a .47% pay raise (effective July 1, 2017) was repurposed from all managers to assist in funding the PPL Program.  A Paid Family Leave Program would be available for more managers and provide more equitable usage by a greater number of managers regardless of family composition.  Feasibility for a Paid Family Leave Program will be explored.

Pay Plan for Managerial Employees (PPME): MEA advises revising the Pay Plan for Managerial Employees to address salary compression.  Anytime a non-manager is offered a promotion to the managerial titles, pay compensation for the promotion shall be a guaranteed increase of 8% or more.  All promotions within the managerial titles shall also be accompanied by a guaranteed salary increase of 8% or more.

Managerial Longevity Pay:  MEA stressed the importance for managers to have longevity pay as an incentive to become a manager, and as an incentive for the retention of managerial employees.  Managerial longevity pay would create a sense of some pay equity with union employees.  Because managers do not receive overtime pay nor accumulate compensation time when working more than 35 hours per week, longevity pay would help narrow the inequity in compensation between managers and union employees.  Many times, the unionized staff, who the manager supervises, earns more pay than the manager because of longevity and overtime pay.  This can also be demoralizing for managers.  Longevity pay would provide a sense of equity between managers and unionized employees, and reward managers for their tenure in civil service employment.

Managerial Performance EvaluationsBoth parties agreed it was important that evaluations should be provided annually. OLR will follow-up with DCAS for the city-wide policy.  Kindly note: a requirement for Managerial Performance Evaluations would be just one example of “Standardization of Regulations for All NYC Managers” pursuant to the MEA letter to Mayor Adams.

Standardization of Regulations for All NYC ManagersThere appears to be a lack of uniform and consistent standard of rules and rights for managers working at the various agencies throughout City government.  MEA requests that the Office of Labor Relations (OLR) and the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) create standardization and distribution of regulations to all managers and all agencies’ human resources units.  All managers should be informed of managerial employment guidelines and treated equally and fairly using the same policies and procedures.

Meaningful Adverse Action Appeal ProcedureMEA requests a meaningful adverse action appeal procedure for managers.  The appeal procedure should be transparent, independent, and not in a conflict of interest with those reviewing and making a final decision on the appeal.

Increase MEA Manager Enrollment in The DCAS Leadership Academy:

Continuing education and professional development are extremely important in today’s work environment.  MEA requests increased enrollment of MEA managers in the DCAS Leadership Academy to enhance managerial skills and abilities.

Terminal Sick Leave Parity for Managers and Unionized Employees:  MEA advocated for parity with unionized employees in terminal sick leave compensation for managers upon permanent separation from City government.  We strongly believe the requirement for a minimum balance of 60 days of sick leave to be eligible for any sick leave compensation be eliminated. This 60-day minimum balance is not required for unionized employees. We also advocated for compensation for terminal sick leave be allocated at the same rate as unionized employees, one day for every two days of sick leave earned, in lieu of one day for every three sick days earned.  It was stated at the meeting that recently hired unionized employees’ terminal sick leave is allocated for compensation at a rate of one day for every three sick days earned.  However, MEA still advocates at separation from City government sick leave for managers should be compensated at one day for every two sick days earned in lieu of one day for every three sick days earned.

Reimbursement for Professional License Renewal FeesNon-managers are contractually entitled to be reimbursed for renewal of their professional licenses while only some managers receive reimbursement for license renewal for select professions by a limited number of agencies.  Not all professionals in all agencies are reimbursed accordingly.  All professionals who are required to maintain a license in order to perform their vocational responsibilities should be reimbursed for license renewal.

We will follow-up with your office in the coming weeks. Thank you for your time and attention to these important topics.

Darrell L. Sims, President
Alice Wong, Executive Director