Share this article

print logo


Just days before a vote on unionizing is to be held, the Civil Service Employees Association and The Resource Center are trading accusations of improprieties.

The CSEA is seeking to organize some 500 employees of the center, which operates programs for the disabled throughout Chautauqua County.

In a letter to the State Department of Labor dated Oct. 8, the union charged the center with violating state labor law.

The CSEA also filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board, contending the center is violating employees rights to unionize.

The Resource Center Monday denied the allegations and accused the CSEA of a last-minute effort to discredit the agency.

Center Human Resources Director Carol Svensen-Smith said: "This is a transparent move to create a scandal, timed to sway voters against The Resource Center. TRC specifically denies all charges of interference."

CSEA regional organizer Tom Mullen charged that the center is violating state labor law because "employees are not able to have a one-half hour meal period during a 10-hour shift. Moreover, the employees are required by their employer to deduct one-half hour each day from their times sheets, so that they are paid for only 9 1/2 hours."

Ms. Svenson-Smith countered that "certain staff are not permitted to leave the worksite on their break, due to the need to stand by in the event of an emergency. This is legal, according to our understanding of the law."

The union also alleged that the center engaged in surveillance of employees at an off-site union-organizing meeting.

Ms. Svenson-Smith said there was no surveillance but a member of the agency's management was pumping gas into his car at a service station across the street from the site of a union meeting.

The CSEA accused the center of firing an employee because of union activities, but the agency said the woman was let go because of "inappropriate action with a client."

A secret ballot on the unionization effort is scheduled for Thursday at several Resource Center locations.

There are no comments - be the first to comment