For a hard copy of the contract, email your home mailing address to: email@example.com
The Trial Court yesterday (April 16) announced exam dates and opened online registration for the entry exam required to establish eligibility for the position of Associate Court Officer, Court Officer, and Probation Officer.
ALL provisional ACO’s, CO’s and PO’s MUST take this exam in order to become permanent.
The Probation Officer exam will take place June 28, 2014.
The Court Officer exam will take place July 19, 2014.
Exams will be conducted at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center in Boston.
Please note that there will be one blended exam for both ACO’s and CO’s. Successful completion will result in ACO’s becoming permanent and becoming eligible for future CO positions.
Please visit the Massachusetts Trial Court Employment page at www.mass.gov/courts/jobs to view the announcement and instructions on how to register.
NAGE on Friday filed an amendment to strike a section of the House budget bill that would prohibit the Trial Court from using any funding to pay for security and probation officers who were hired or promoted on a provisional basis.
These new hires and promotions—affecting more than 200 members—were made with the provision that they pass an exam administered by the Trial Court. The Trial Court is currently working with a third-party vendor to develop the exam.
House Speaker DeLeo added language—Section 86—that would effectively strip these new hires of their jobs and demote those who were promoted. His language states that in the absence of the exam, no money in the Trial Court budget could be used to pay the new hires or support the promotions. NAGE filed amendment 520 to strike Section 86 in its entirety.
NAGE is urging ALL members to support their colleagues by asking their state senators and representatives to SUPPORT AMENDMENT 520.
Please call the State House today at (617) 722-2000.
Speaker DeLeo: (617) 722-2500
House Ways & Means Chair Brian Dempsey: (617) 722-2990
NAGE on Monday filed a petition at the Supreme Judicial Court, calling on the justices to remove the hiring and promotion freeze in the Trial Court in order to ensure public safety. As you know, the freeze, which affects both probation and court security, resulted from the failure of the Trial Court to develop and administer written exams as required by the Court Reform Act of 2011.
“The safety and security of the public should be the highest priority for the Trial Court,” said National President David Holway. “Obviously, that’s in dire jeopardy when the Trial Court can’t adequately staff the courts or put probation officers out in the community to supervise offenders.”
The Trial Court has continued to hire and promote probation and security officers on the condition that the new hires pass the exam once it was created. The Trial Court says the delay in administering the exam resulted because the court couldn’t even find a vendor to develop it.
NAGE is looking for the SJC to apply a 1992 decision—reaffirmed by the appeals court in 2011—that ruled that a state of emergency existed due to legislative inaction in the face of reform proposals and that the interests of public safety trumped any reason for continuing delay.
Margaret Thompson, president of Local 229 said, “People in our communities rely on us to keep them safe. They put a huge amount of trust in our probation officers, and our probation officers can’t adequately protect them if there’s a staffing shortage. It’s a very real public safety issue.”
Local 458 President David Abbott said, “Now that it’s a priority, I’m hopeful that the exam process will start sooner rather than later so that hiring and promotions can continue.”
We will continue to update you on any developments related to the filing of this petition.
The Joint Committee on Public Service voted last week to refer House Bill 2302, to a study. The bill would move all NAGE Trial Court members into pension classification Group 4. The committee’s vote effectively kills the bill for the rest of the legislative session, which ends July 31.
The bill can be revived this session. Public Service Committee Chairman Aaron Michlewitz has to request that the House Rules Committee release it from study. The bill has been reported favorably several times in past years, so there should be no reason to do any differently this time.
Please call Chairman Michlewitz and ask him to recall House Bill 2302 from study and report it favorably. Then call the other members of the Public Service Committee (contact information below) and ask them to urge Chairman Michlewitz to recall HB 2302 and report it favorably. Your Trial Court executive board members are calling the committee members as you are receiving this fax. We need everyone to call to move this bill!
NAGE and Quincy College have teamed up to provide NAGE members with pathways to educational opportunities focused on professional development. Quincy College will offer NAGE members for-credit courses leading to the award of collegiate level certificates and degrees. The College will offer NAGE members scholarships of $1,000 a year, applicable in $100/class increments.
Quincy College will offer our Trial Court members the opportunity to enroll in courses that lead to certificates and associates degrees in the fields of Criminal Justice, Law Enforcement, Paralegal Studies, and Corrections and Security Administration.
The next “flex semester” courses available begin on March 24. NAGE and Quincy College are working together to expand class offerings to Trial Court and other NAGE members as early as the summer semester, which begins in mid-May.
Why NAGE and Quincy College joined forces
“Our mission statement says we are dedicated to improving the lives of workers and their families and creating a more just and humane society. Giving our members a way to pursue professional development and grow their careers is exactly that,” said NAGE National President David J. Holway. “With Quincy College as our partner, we can offer members a tangible benefit with lifelong returns.”
“I am tremendously excited that we are able to partner with NAGE to help meet the academic needs and aspirations of their members,” said Peter H. Tsaffaras, president of Quincy College. “This collaboration provides a pathway to educational and professional growth which exemplifies the mission of both the College and NAGE and benefits the rank and file members of the union, who, after all, are our neighbors and friends. We view this as a win-win for all.”
Classes: Accessible way to earn credits, degrees
Quincy College’s focus on teaching and learning one student at a time has led the College to deliver its academic programs through a variety of delivery methodologies—including on-site, hybrid, and online—in both traditional and “flex” scheduling formats. Many courses are offered during nights and weekends, perfect for “non-traditional” students who work during normal business hours. In addition to courses offered at its campuses in Plymouth and Quincy, the College will offer courses for NAGE members at other locations in the Commonwealth in order to meet student demand.
Quincy College develops its academic programs in a “scaffolding” model. With this design, students can apply credits they earn in certificate programs towards a degree, instead of having to start from the beginning in a degree program after completing a certificate. Quincy College has articulation agreements that allow graduates of some associate degree programs to transfer with advanced standing in specific baccalaureate programs.
To learn more or register for classes:
Course descriptions for Criminal Justice, Security (Go to this list, then click on the program link to see a description)
Quincy College Summer 2014 semester class catalogue (links to class schedules are on right of screen)
Over the last year or so, the Trial Court has used provisional appointments to both hire and promote members in Security and Probation. This was the method the Trial Court has used to meet staffing needs while management works on implementing an entrance and promotion exam, required by state law enacted in 2011.
Recently, there have been concerns over the statutory authority to hire and promote provisionally prior to administering an exam. The Trial Court is reconsidering this process and has temporarily suspended hiring and promoting candidates this way.
NAGE is working with the Trial Court to alleviate these concerns, work within the guidelines of the 2011 state law, and get back to hiring and promoting officers in Security and Probation as soon as possible.
We will keep you updated as developments unfold. If you have further questions do not hesitate to call NAGE Trial Court Director David Bernard at (617) 376-7250, or your local president:
Security: David Abbott (617) 376-7223
Probation: Margaret Thompson (617) 376-7222
Trial Court members are reminded that the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to all Trial Court employees and their families at no cost. While this program is not new, we remind you that it’s a valuable resource if you or a colleague or family member is experiencing difficulties in your work or home life. The program is completely confidential and is described in the brochure that is linked to below.
If you or any member has a question about the program, please contact Roger Albrecht, Benefits Manager for the Trial Court at (617) 878-0373, who is managing this benefit.
Most employees think it could never happen to them, but ... if you are ever called into an interview meeting with your supervisor or manager so that they can investigate a situation that might result in discipline, you have specific representational rights. These rights are called Weingarten Rights and are based on a 1975 Supreme Court decision (NLRB v. J. Weingarten).
WEINGARTEN RULES TO REMEMBER
Under the Supreme Court’s Weingarten decision, when an investigatory interview occurs, the following rules apply:
RULE 1: You have the right to have a union steward or union representative present, and you have the right to speak privately with your representative before the meeting and during the meeting. Your steward has the right to play an active role in the meeting and is not just a witness.
You must make a clear request for union representation before or during the interview; management is not obligated to inform you of your right to representation.
If your manager refuses to allow you to bring a representative, do not refuse to attend the meeting, but do not answer any questions either. Take notes. Once the meeting is over call your representative at once.
RULE 2: After you make the request, your supervisor or manager can do one of three things:
1. Grant the request and delay questioning until your union representative arrives and has a chance to consult privately with you; or
2. Deny the request and end the interview immediately; or
3. Give you a choice of (a) having the interview without your union rep or (b) ending the interview.
RULE 3: If your request for union representation is denied and your manager/supervisor continues to ask you questions, he or she is committing an unfair labor practice and you have a right to refuse to answer. Your manager or supervisor may not discipline you for such a refusal.