Source: Legislative Gazette
Council 82 deal a ‘model’ for other unions, gov says PEF, CSEA say not so fast
April 18, 2011
New York’s largest state employee unions say the contract agreement tentatively reached between Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Council 82 leadership last week has no bearing on their negotiations with the administration, even though the governor called it a “model” for other unions to follow.
The Civil Service Employees Association and Public Employees Federation say the negotiating process and outcomes will look different for their organizations.
And both unions noted the Council 82 agreement only affects a very small percentage of the public workforce when compared with the number of employees they represent.
“The Cuomo administration’s agreement with Council 82 represents a settlement with a very small number of specific state law enforcement officers who haven’t had a contract for six years,” said CSEA President Danny Donahue. “CSEA will continue to negotiate in good faith at the bargaining table on an agreement that will fairly address the state’s fiscal situation, while respecting the needs of the 66,000 CSEA members who deliver a wide range of essential services to the people of New York every day.”
PEF said the union has already rejected an offer similar to the one now being considered by Council 82’s membership.
“PEF has not accepted the state’s initial offer because it would impose an unfair burden, including long-term hardships on our members and their families,” PEF President Ken Brynien said. “The state’s proposal would require an average PEF member to give up as much as $10,000 in salary and benefits every year of the contract. Additionally, the state made it clear that accepting these concessions would not ensure PEF members would not be laid off anyway.”
PEF, which represents 56,000 of the state’s professional, scientific and technical employees, has a counter proposal it says would accomplish the state’s savings goals for this fiscal year while putting less of a burden on its employees.
“We are willing to accept short-term hardships for what may very well be a short-term fiscal crisis. The Council 82 agreement in no way sets the groundwork for our continuing negotiations,” said Brynien.
Cuomo’s office announced last Wednesday an agreement had been reached between the state and the Agency Law Enforcement Services unit of Council 82, a union representing law enforcement officers. The Agency Law Enforcement Services unit represents 1,160 employees and includes State University of New York police, park police, Department of Environmental Conservation officers and state forest rangers.
“I applaud Council 82 and its leadership for understanding the problems of the state and realizing that through shared sacrifice we can get New York on the road to recovery,” said the governor. “This is a model the other unions negotiating with the state can follow. If similar contract terms were adopted by New York’s other public employee unions, the state could achieve the $450 million in savings needed to avoid the 9,800 layoffs projected in the enacted budget.”
Prior to the tentative agreement, Council 82 had been without a contract since 2005. The contract proposal includes wage freezes through the 2013-2014 fiscal year and would eliminate step increases for employees. Law enforcement employees would have to pay more for their health care premiums. Individuals, who currently pa0 percent of health care costs, would have to pay 20 percent of expenses. Those needing family coverage would pay 35 percent of health care costs, an increase from 25 percent.
The proposal would also reduce the amount of unused sick leave that can be credited toward reducing insurance premiums for retirees. Sick days would no longer be considered when calculating overtime compensation, a move that would save $11 million in the first year.
“This is a responsible agreement that is in the best interest of our members, the state of New York and the taxpayers,” said Jim Lyman, executive director of Council 82. “It brings a long overdue contract to completion. It demonstrates the Cuomo administration’s commitment to working with its labor partners and its commitment to these employees and their important work. Council 82 looks forward to continuing the good working relationship that we’ve developed with the governor and his staff and supporting him in his efforts to restore our state government and making it work for the people again.”
In a memorandum from the union’s general counsel, Ennio J. Corsi, members were told information packets detailing the terms of the tentative agreement were to be sent to their homes on April 18 and that their votes must be received by the close of business on May 2. Results of the vote are expected to be posted on May 3.
“The agreement speaks for itself and the choice in the matter is entirely yours. If it is acceptable to you, vote for it, and if it is not acceptable to you, reject it. It is that simple,” the memo reads.
NYPFRA Comment: Please note: We don't know at this time if this agreement is signed if it would effect their retirees.