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April 16, 2013

Essex County inks CSEA pact

ELIZABETHTOWN — After one failed attempt, Essex County lawmakers and the Civil Service Employees Association have ratified a new labor agreement.

The three-year contract replaces a four-year pact that expired at the end of 2012.

It was affirmed by a 14-0 vote of the County Board of Supervisors on Monday morning. Supervisors Roby Politi (R-North Elba), William Ferebee (R-Keene), Sharon Boisen (I-Essex) and Edward Hatch (D-Willsboro) were absent.

The new contract is slightly better than the first offer for workers and includes an additional 1 percent raise.

The second vote by CSEA Local 816 passed on April 9 by a tally of 193-63 and includes no raises this year but 1 percent more in 2014 and 2 percent in 2015.

ISSUES RESOLVED

The union had defeated the first proposal on Jan. 29 by a vote of 205-87. It would have given no raises the first two years and 2 percent in the last year, along with changing some administrative procedures that workers felt went against the union.

County Manager Daniel Palmer said those issues were resolved when county and union negotiators went back to the bargaining table.

The new contract does remove the built-in daily four hours of overtime for workers in the County Sheriff’s Department, who work 12-hour shifts at the County Jail. It allows up to 84 hours of straight time in a work period before overtime is paid.

The overtime change will save the county $175,000 a year, County Manager Daniel Palmer said.

“We essentially gave up 1 percent in wages for the overtime,” he said.

‘FAIR CONTRACT’

Outside the meeting, CSEA Local 816 President Michael McGinn said they tried to retain benefits that workers felt were essential.

“I think it’s a fair contract,” he said. “We identified the top three issues from last time. We worked on them, I hope to everyone’s satisfaction.”

He said they weren’t necessarily giving up anything but just adjusting some procedures.

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