Frequently Asked Questions

When does our contract expire?

The current Collective Bargaining Agreement runs from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2021.

Can we take a personal day before or after a holiday?

The current contract states that BENTE employees can take a personal day before and/or after a holiday as long as it is approved by their supervisor.   

When are the Membership meetings?

Membership meetings will always be on a Wednesday at 6:00 pm at the BENTE union office, except for the last meeting of the year, which will be celebrated with a catered picnic at 5:00 PM in the Sandpiper shelter at Ontario Beach Park (Charlotte). Membership meetings are scheduled by the Executive Board, and are held every month, except for the months of December, July, and August, as per the BENTE Local 2419 Constitution.

I don’t understand why we pay so much in union dues, can you enlighten me as to why they go up every year and what the money is spent on?

The majority of the money that comes out of your paycheck in dues gets directly forwarded to AFSCME International and New York State Council 66, and the increases that BENTE members incur from year to year are mandated by the International. AFSCME provides political clout and state and national representatives that help lobby for more money for education, fight the outsourcing of jobs, and advocate for protections in the workplace.  New York State Council 66 supplies representatives for arbitrations and attorneys who fight Improper Practice Charges in front of an Administrative Law Judge. Out of the money that employees pay per month for union dues, BENTE Local 2419 receives a little more than one-third of all dues collected. Out of that, the local has to pay for rent, utilities, salaries, holiday gifts, events, office supplies, arbitrations, and all other expenses incurred from running an operation capable of serving nearly twelve hundred members.

I am a part-time employee, why do I have to pay the same in dues?

Part-time employees often complain that they should pay far less in union dues than what a full-time employee pays, since they work less hours. The Union has fought vehemently during contract negotiations for part-time workers to continue to receive the same health care benefits as a full-time employee—a cost that would far exceed the amount of money that they pay in union dues. AFSCME International is, however, currently looking into creating a dues structure that would be commensurate with salary, rather than across-the-board rates. Under our administration, we have tried to give as much as we possibly can back to the members through gifts, tee shirts, BENTE Day winners, free Sea Breeze tickets on Labor Day, the BENTE Bash, and other events, to which all part-time employees are entitled.

UPDATE: Members working 20-hours or less will see a reduction in the portion of dues paid to AFSCME NY Council 66 and as a result, will pay $10.55 less per month.  Members who work 21-29 hours will pay $5.25 less per month.

How can I get more involved in my union?

If you are looking to become more involved in the union, please call the office at 458-8670 or e-mail BENTE President Dan DiClemente @ dan@bentelocal2419.org. A union activist training will take place in the Fall for those looking to become more actively involved in their union.

What is the process for setting up an investigatory meeting?

Whenever a supervisor would like to schedule a meeting involving the employee and the Union, it filters through the Steward Coordinator of BENTE. That person is Louise “Weezy” Landry and she may be reached at the Union office at (585) 458-8670 between the hours of 8:00a.m. and 4:00p.m. daily or via email at stewardcoordinator@rochester.rr.com. Upon making contact with the Steward Coordinator, the supervisor will be asked the nature of the meeting and the type or extent of the discipline being proposed. This will determine the type of representation that will be assigned to the investigatory meeting.

A meeting will then be scheduled with the employee, the supervisor, and the Union to investigate the issue. The employee and the Union may be informed of the action being taken at that meeting, or if disciplinary action is not being imposed at the meeting, the employee and the Union will be notified of the outcome at a subsequent meeting.

Upon the exercise of any disciplinary action or measure, the employee will be informed that he/she has the right to union representation. The employee may then assert his/her “Weingarten Rights,” which state: “If a discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated, or affect my personal working conditions, I respectfully request my union representative, officer or steward be present at this meeting. Until my representative arrives, I choose not to participate in this discussion.”

If disciplinary action is imposed upon an employee without just cause, an employee may then seek redress of such action through the grievance procedure.

What is the BENTE Student Scholarship?

BENTE awards two Rochester City School District students with $500 scholarships toward supplies/books for college. For more information, please go to the "Forms" link underneath the "Information" heading and click on "BENTE Scholarship."

What is BENTE Day?

Please click on the following link to learn more about BENTE Day: BENTE DAY

What are the health care plans?

Please click on "Health Insurance" or go to the "Information" heading for contribution rates and a comparison of health care plans.

What is the process for accessing professional development funds?

For general information on Professional Development guidelines, please look under the heading "Services" and click on Professional Development.

For additional information, please contact your Educational Coordinator, Weezy Landry, at EdCoord@rochester.rr.com.

Who do I contact if I have questions on New York State Retirement?

The number for New York State Retirement is (866) 805-0990, or scroll on the heading "Information" and click on the link "Retirement Information" to access the NYS Retirement website.

What do I lose by not being a union member?

The BENTE Union has fought collectively throughout the years to achieve and maintain the benefits that you and your fellow sisters and brothers receive including health care, paid time off, wage increases, pensions, job protections, and more. Efforts to achieve economic justice for all workers become more challenging if the employer knows that we have less than one hundred percent membership in the Union.

In addition, non-members are not eligible to take part in the Union's collective bargaining, ratification of contracts, meetings and events, and election of Local Officers and stewards. In addition, you are not entitled to receive exclusive union member benefits such as AFSCME Advantage, AFSCME Free College, and the Council 66 Insurance Program.

Furthermore, BENTE/AFSCME Local 2419 is no longer obligated to represent you:

During questioning by your employer for any reasonDuring any stage of employee evaluationsDuring any disciplinary actions under the CBAIn administrative matters such as an Improper Practice      charge before the Public Employee Relations Board (PERB)In disciplinary contractual grievances up to and      including arbitrationIn protecting your job against an improper termination      by your employer