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Board Approves Contract with County’s Largest Union

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White Plains, NY — The Westchester County Board of Legislators voted unanimously Monday night to approve a new contract with the county’s largest union, the Civil Service Employees Association, or CSEA.


The union represents about 3,000 county workers, around two-thirds of the county’s workforce.  The members have been working without a contract for seven years. The union ratified the deal on October 5.


The deal is expected to cost the County a little more than $37 million in retroactive pay increases this year, although reimbursements from federal and state sources are expected to reduce that cost by $9.3 million.


The new contract provisions include no pay increases for 2012-2013, retroactive increases of 1% per year for the years 2014-2017, a 2% increase for each of 2018 and 2019, and 2.25% in 2020 and 2021.


Beginning in January, employees hired before 2019 will contribute between 5 and 10% to their health care costs, depending on salary scale.  Those hired from 2019 on will contribute from 10 to 20%.  Previously, members did not contribute to their health care costs. The new contract’s health care provisions are in line with the health care provisions agreed to with other civilian unions.


Board Chair Ben Boykin (D – White Plains, Scarsdale, Harrison) said, “I’m very pleased, both for our hard working employees and for the County, that we’ve finally been able to settle and approve this contract.  No money has been set aside, which means the money for it will have to come from our decreasing fund balance. But as we work to stabilize the county’s finances, this contract is now a known quantity and that’s essential for our ability to plan for our future.”


Majority Leader Catherine Parker (D - Harrison, Larchmont, Mamaroneck, New Rochelle, Rye) said, “Westchester County has a quality workforce whose people were left hanging in the balance for the last seven years. I’m glad that now we have we’ve been able to resolve the situation in a deal that’s good for workers and good for taxpayers. ”


Leg. Damon Maher (D- Eastchester, New Rochelle, Tuckahoe), chair of the Board’s Labor and Housing Committee, said, “This contract is fair to our taxpayers and fair to our valued County employees.  It is not just a stop-gap, so our workers can plan for their families’ future and the County can plan its financial future investment of tax dollars wisely, with the kind of certainty and stability valued by bond rating companies.”


Leg. Lyndon Williams (D - Mount Vernon), chair of the Board’s Law and Major Contracts Committee, said, “The County negotiated a fair and equitable contract after years of inaction. The dispute over union employees making contributions to their health insurance coverage should have been resolved years ago rather than being used as a political weapon by the prior administration. This contract requires employees’ contributions. County employees and taxpayers have a right to expect that contract obligations will not be kicked down the road. These delays by the prior administration resulted in the substantial financial cost of this contract.”


Catherine Borgia (D - Briarcliff Manor, Cortlandt, Croton-on-Hudson, Ossining, Peekskill), chair of the Board’s Budget and Appropriations Committee said, “We thank the CSEA members for all their hard work, especially over the seven the years they worked without a contract. This is the beginning of a new era of cooperation across all levels of the county government and I’m happy we have an agreement that benefits our employees while we work to repair the county’s finances.”


Kitley Covill (D- Bedford, Bedford Hills, Katonah, Lewisboro, Mount Kisco, North Salem, Pound Ridge, Somers), chair of the Board’s Social Services Committee which deals with the largest county department, said, “For the CSEA workers who have had no raise for so long, it’s about time.”


Also on Monday, the Board voted to approve a new contract between the County and the union representing around 40 investigators in the District Attorney’s office. That vote also was unanimous.  The four-year deal reaches back to 2016 and runs through 2019.  It includes salary increases of 2.5% for 2016, 2017 and 2018, and a 2.75% increase for 2019.  It is in line with agreements with other public safety unions.  There is no change in the contract to health care provisions. Investigators pay 15-20% of health care costs. The contract is expected to have an impact on the County’s 2018 budget of around $700,000, and on the 2019 budget of around $500,000.


With these approvals, the County now has approved agreements with all of its civilian and public safety unions for the first time in seven years.

 

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