Arbitrator rules former Westchester CSEA president must be reinstated to job

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Karen Pecora, the former president of the CSEA unit representing the majority of Westchester County workers, who was laid off at the end of 2012, will have to be reinstated to her former county job, according to an arbitration ruling issued Dec. 13.

Pecora, a secretary in the Parks Department, was laid off because she was working outside the department on union duties, as allowed by the contract, the arbitrator ruled. The ruling, which is binding, says she must be reinstated with back pay and benefits.

“The County’s reason for eliminating the Grievant’s position was not due to a lack of work,” said the arbitrator, Jay Siegel. “Rather, the County decided the Grievant’s position could be eliminated because she was on full-time union leave.”

Ned McCormack, a spokesman for County Executive Rob Astorino, said they are reviewing the decision.

The CSEA president and first vice president are released from their normal county duties to work on union business as part of the union’s contract. The arbitrator said the county acted in bad faith, in part because Pecora was laid off while other secretarial positions in the Parks Department were only eliminated after the workers retired.

“I am thrilled that the hearing officer saw what really happened here,” Pecora said in a statement from the union. “I feel vindicated that the truth came out and the right thing was done. I look forward to returning to my former position.”

As president, Pecora had been critical of the administration of County Executive Rob Astorino over layoffs and stalled contract negotiations.

She had gotten a new job for lower pay with the Board of Elections while she waited for the outcome of her grievance.

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6 Comments

  1. Sane judgment. Certain laws (NYS Taylor Law) exist to prevent arbitrary abuse by a boss against workers and union members who are in the negotiation process for a collective bargaining agreement. What Astorino did rankled every worker in every union in both Westchester and in the US.
    There should be penalties for Astorino for deciding that he was above the law and above having to comply with terms of a contract.
    But somehow Astorino is being touted as some anointed populist after conducting a campaign full of lies, endorsement buying using public funds, and double talk about protecting the most needy after three years of cutting programs for the needy.

  2. I thought she was defeated as president of csea. If she was in a job that she wasn’t actually doing (doing union work instead), Now she has no union duties to perform, then what will her job be? More public employee union abuse…

  3. It’s only the tip of the iceberg. Astorino is despised by the true County of Westchester Civil Service Employees who had to apply for a job and then take tests, and then rank high enough to qualify for a job opening which could have taken from months to years. Astorino hires inexperienced and unqualified favorites and cronies who do not add anything to the functioning of the County. Although thousands of Americans have given all for this country, it is disgraceful to see that Astorino’s kinds of scoundrels just use government to enrich themselves. Investigations are needed into the workings of the corrupt Astorino administration by the Federal Prosecutor and the IRS.

  4. “For the past 12 years, as CSEA Unit 9200 First Vice President and then President, I always fought hard for the members of CSEA Unit 9200. That dedication, perseverance and experience is what I needed to win this grievance. I am thankful the hearing officer saw the truth in our grievance and made the right determination.

    I want to remind the CSEA Unit 9200 members that we must always defend ourselves and our rights. We should always question what we believe is an injustice or contract violation. We may not always win, but we always must try”.

    Thank you

    Karen Pecora