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January 14, 2016 - 11:22am
posted by Howard B. Owens in CSEA, unions, County, government.

The county has reached a new four-year contract agreement with its largest employee union, granting employees represented by the bargaining unit a 1.8 percent annual raise.

The immediate budget impact is an increase in spending this year on employee salaries and $114,291 more in payroll expenses.

The Civil Service Employees Association represents at least one employee in every department of the county, with the largest concentration being in the Department of Social Services, Health and Mental Health. Other unions represent Sheriff's deputies, nursing home staff, dispatchers and jailers and Highway Department workers.

County Jay Gsell said negotiations were much less contentious this year then in rounds past and it took only two or three meetings to arrive at an agreement. He credited the negotiating team from CSEA's Rochester office -- in the past, it's been a negotiator from Buffalo who met with county officials -- for working quickly to get an agreement in place.

The employees voted 158-13 in favor of the contract, Gsell said.

The contract also changes how expenses for health insurance are shared.

Cost sharing between the county and county employees started a few years ago and the employee share was capped at 10 percent of the employee's wage.

The new formula will calculate the share based on the bi-weekly cost of the premium. This year, the employee will pay 10 percent of the premium, then 11 percent in each of the following years and 12 percent in 2019.

The county's healthcare costs, which is a self-funded insurance program, have been going up 3 to 5 percent per year. This formula will distribute those rising costs to employees.

The highway workers are already under a contract with this new language, Gsell said, and the county will seek to get the other three unions to agree to the new terms.

"It's easier for us to be somewhat uniform and also clean up these contracts and the number of clauses," Gsell said. "(The contracts) with health care and compensation, changes get so convoluted at times. It's in our best interest to try and simplify them, but also understand there needs to be more cost sharing between employer and employee. It's the real world."

The pay raise, at 1.8 percent per year compounded would take an employee at $15 an hour to $16.11 in 2019. For an employee at $20 an hour, the rate in four years would be $21.48.

That's an extra $117.60 in pay bi-weekly for the $20-an-hour employee.

If the employee is currently covered by a healthcare plan worth $1,100 per month, and that premium went up 3 percent each year, in four years, the premium would be $1,238. The employee's share would increase from $55 bi-weekly to $74.28.

These are dollars not adjusted for inflation, which is currently less than 1 percent.

The Ways and Means Committee recommended Wednesday that the County Legislature approve the new contract.

December 2, 2010 - 3:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in CSEA, Genesee Justice.

Debbie Long, president of the union that represents county workers, will meet with county officials tomorrow to get details about a proposal to cut employee hours at Genesee Justice.

The proposal by GJ Director Ed Minardo would eliminate his own job and cut the remaining staff's hours, saving more than $100,000 and cutting the budget gap substantially -- though not completely -- thereby potentially saving the pioneering restorative justice agency.

"We're going in with an open mind," Long said. "We're willing to listen to anything that would save county employee jobs. We want to see the details. We obviously don't want to set a precedent for the whole union."

Legislators heard Minardo's plan for the first time Wednesday night and reacted with caution. There was the issue of whether CSEA would sign off on it, but also the plan needs to be "budget neutral," members said. That means another $12,000 in savings must be found so that there's no increase in county spending.

If the plan is approved -- which the legislature will meet again at 5 p.m., Monday -- Minardo plans to work on forming a foundation that could receive donations in order to cover future funding gaps.

For previous coverage of Genesee Justice, click here.

April 12, 2010 - 9:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, unions, CSEA.

The bargaining team that represented the City of Batavia's 17 CSEA members were fair negotiating partners, City Manager Jason Molino said tonight after the council unanimously approved a new contract with the union.

The council approved the new five-year agreement without any discussion before the vote.

It's the second time Molino has negotiated a contract with the Civil Service Employees Association. Both times union representatives were realistic about the economic situation they faced, he said.

The first time, four years ago, the city was in deep, dire financial straits. This time, New York is facing massive deficits and a prolonged recession.

"The CSEA has always been very responsive to the city’s needs," Molino said. "They’re set on doing what’s best for the community."

The new contract includes no raise in the first year -- just as the last contract did four years ago -- with graduated raises after that, with raises higher than 2 percent in the fourth and fifth year. The contract also asks for greater contributions from employees for health care.

He said negotiations took six months, and there were no major hurdles. Both sides were willing to lay their issues on the table and discuss them openly.

"Like any negotiation, you’ve got to be willing to work at it and come to the table being willing to compromise," Molino said.

April 8, 2010 - 3:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, unions, CSEA.

The City of Batavia and the union representing many its workers have apparently reached a tentative contract agreement.

Details of the agreement with the Civil Service Employees Association have not been released.

The new five-year contract, which will run from April 1, 2010 to March 31, 2015, will give union workers graduated raises (no raise in the first year, but a $1,000 bonus and compensation instead), and 2-percent raises in the fourth and fifth year.

The total impact of the raises over the next five years will be $79,000 in additional expense.

New hires will not be able to accrue sick leave to use to purchase health care upon retirement. They will not be able to purchase health care from the city when they retire.

Health care contributions for current workers will increase, with the first-year contribution being 10 percent, then 12.5, then 15, then 17.5, then 20 percent. There are cash incentives, up to $1,000 per employee and spouse, for participation in wellness programs.

New hires will contribute 30 percent to health care, an amount that can be reduced if they participate in wellness programs. If both spouse and employee participate, the total health care contribution by the employee would be reduced by 25 percent.

Information on the settlement is contained in the Batavia City Council's agenda for Monday night. The council will be asked to approve the agreement.

The council meets Monday at 7 p.m.

The Batavian apologizes for the incorrect information in the original version of the story.

March 10, 2010 - 2:00pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in genesee county, labor, CSEA.

A spokeswoman for the union that represents most county workers issued a statement this afternoon asking the County Legislature to table a resolution on tonight's agenda to freeze county employee pay.

Lynn Miller writes:

The legislature is expected to vote on the terms and conditions of the contract tonight following failed mediation and a fact-finding recommendation rejected, in part, by the union. CSEA had asked the county to return to the table to fine tune the fact-finding report. In addition, the union provided several alternatives for the county’s consideration.

“The fact-finding decision brought the two parties a bit closer, and with further talks an acceptable agreement may have been reached,” said CSEA Genesee County Unit President Debby Long. “We are disappointed the county manager turned down both our request to negotiate and the alternatives we offered."

Throughout negotiations, the county’s negotiator has asked for CSEA to agree to a “second tier” wage scale. The new scale would cut 10 percent from the salaries of newly hired county workers. CSEA considers that to be the major sticking point.

“Creating a second tier wage scale does little more than drive a wedge between employees,” Long said. “The county didn’t suggest any other union agree to the second tier. We do not believe it is in the best interest of the membership.”

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