Frequently Asked Questions

What's this I am hearing about an additional personal day this school year?

Because the District designated December 23, 2016 a school day and due to the fact that the BENTE contract states that when a holiday falls on a Saturday (Christmas Eve), the paid holiday is recognized the day before, the Union filed a grievance.  As a settlement to the grievance, ALL BENTE Union Members will be provided with an additional personal day that can be used any day when school is not in session (i.e. Christmas recess). Members will also receive Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as paid holidays, recognized on Monday, December 26th and Tuesday, December 27, 2016.

This is also in addition to the personal day that can already be utilized per the BENTE Union Contract for the day before Thanksgiving.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the BENTE Union office at 458-8670.

When does our contract expire?

The current Collective Bargaining Agreement runs from July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2017. Members who are off-schedule and who were hired prior to April 1 will receive a 2.5% raise on July 1, 2015 and a 2.7% raise on July 1, 2016. Members who were hired prior to April 1 and who are on the wage schedule listed in Appendix A will advance one step on July 1 each year.

2014-2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement

Can we take a personal day on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving this year?

Yes, the District declared the day before Thanksgiving as a recess day this year and therefore, as negotiated in the Collective Bargaining Agreement, all members of the bargaining unit may utilize a personal day on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  

Can I use a personal day on the Friday before Memorial Day weekend this year?

No. This year the Friday before Memorial Day is a work day (not a recess day) and therefore you will be unable to use a personal day.

When are the Membership meetings?

Membership meetings are always on a Wednesday at 5:00 pm, typically at Rochester Water Works on Felix Street, except for the last meeting in June, which is celebrated with a picnic at Seneca Park. 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. 

Meetings & Events

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.

I am thinking about getting more involved in the Union, when are elections?

Nominations and elections for the Chair Officer positions (President, Vice President, Secretary-Treasurer, Recording Secretary, Sergeants-at-Arms) will take place in the Spring and Fall of 2017. Nominations and elections for the individual unit offices (Unit Chairperson, Unit Vice Chairperson, Unit Secretary, Unit Steward) take place after the election of Chair Officers in 2017. 

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.