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Schenectady County Legislature Voluntarily Recognizes Public Defender Union

Schenectady County Seal

The Schenectady County Legislature passed a resolution last night to voluntarily recognize certain employees in the Public Defender’s Office in the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys (ALAA) – UAW Local 2325.

The ALAA sent a letter to the County on April 1, 2024, seeking voluntary recognition of the bargaining unit.

Schenectady County values our strong partnership with our union employees, working together to address their needs and concerns while ensuring essential services for our residents,” said Gary Hughes, Chair of the Schenectady County Legislature. “Providing voluntary recognition accelerates the process to establish their union status, bypassing the lengthy procedures typically involved. The Public Defender's Office provides essential support beyond legal representation, offering compassionate advocacy for our residents in court. We’re committed to working with them to ensure they have the resources needed to support our community.”

The bargaining unit includes all full-time and part-time employees in the following classifications: Assistant Public Defender, Assistant Public Defender I, Assistant Public Defender II, Assistant Public Defender III, Assistant Public Defender IV, Assistant Public Defender V, and Chief Assistant Public Defender. These employees will be represented by UAW Local 2325 for the purpose of negotiating a collective bargaining agreement that establishes wages, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment for the employees in the bargaining unit.

"We would like to congratulate the attorneys of the Public Defender's Office for coming together to form a union," said Lisa Ohta, President of UAW Local 2325 - Association of Legal Aid Attorneys. "We look forward to working closely with Schenectady County to address critical issues like pay parity and caseloads in order to fulfill our mission to zealously represent residents of the County."

Public Defender’s Office

The Public Defender's Office represents residents who can't afford a lawyer in Criminal Court, Family Court, and County Court. They do this by getting ready for cases, giving advice to clients, and working with other staff like investigators and specialists.

Schenectady County is looking for NYS-licensed attorneys to join our team as an Assistant Public Defender. Job details, including qualifications and how to apply, are available here