WPCNR COUNTY CLARION-LEDGER. From the Westchester County Department of Communications. (EDITED) April 21, 2014 UPDATED April 23, 2014 10:15 A.M. EDT:
Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino announced Monday that the county would accept the recommendations that an independent state fact finder, Howard Edelman has laid out to settle the county’s outstanding labor contract with the CSEA, the county’s largest union.
The recommendation called for CSEA-ers to pay a portion of their health care costs.
The Journal News reported Wednesday, Kwabena Manu President of the CSEA has rejected the settlement, saying “To take a salary cut, is unrealistic for them.” The Journal News reports the salary dispute be turned over to the County Board of Legislators that may set a salary for one year of the contract by New York State Labor Law.
For current CSEA employees, health care contributions would be based on premiums but tiered according to an employee’s salary with payments ranging from 7.5 percent to 10 percent of premiums over the course of the contract. New employees would pay 20 percent of premiums.
The fact finder called for a general wage freeze for 2012 and 2013; a 2 percent increase in 2014 and 2015; and bonus and longevity increases of $100 per employee in 2012, $150 per employee in 2013, and $100 in 2015.
“As is the case in all collective bargaining, neither side got exactly what it wanted,” said Astorino. “But, the proposals set forth in the fact finder’s report are fair, and since the fact finder was brought in at the request of the union, I would urge the CSEA’s leadership to act responsibly, accept the recommendations and give its membership a contract.”
The CSEA is the only one of the county’s eight unions that doesn’t contribute to health care. Management and non-union county employees contribute to health care as well.
“The fact finder simply recognized that in today’s economy all employees must pay a share of their health care,” Astorino said. “This is true in the private sector and the public sector. It is time for the CSEA to recognize this reality.”
In accordance with New York State’s Taylor Law, the fact finder met with the parties, heard arguments and received evidence. The report makes findings and recommendations on all issues submitted in the fact finding hearing, most importantly on wages and health insurance contributions.