November 7, 2013

City gets deal with largest union

PLATTSBURGH — The City of Plattsburgh’s largest union has come to an agreement on a new contract, ending three years of negotiation.

“Things are tough out there, and there are huge changes going on in the economy, and I guess the members felt this deal was not that bad for us,” said Chris Bleaux, president of the American Federation of State County Municipal Employees Local 788.

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The union agreed to a five-year deal that retroactively covers from July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2015. The plan calls for raises of 1.5 percent for each of the five years.

The contract also calls for employees hired after May 21, 1993, to continue paying 15 percent of their health-insurance premiums. When those employees retire, they will pay no more than 3 percent of their earnings for the coverage.

Employees hired after Nov. 15, 2013, will pay 15 percent of their health-insurance premiums while they are working and throughout retirement.

The union rank and file approved the contract by a vote of 58 to 9 on Monday night.

“I was a little surprised. I thought it might be a closer vote,” Bleaux said. “But I think this sends a strong message that they wanted this done.”


Mayor Donald Kasprzak, who headed negotiations for the city, said he feels the deal is fair.

“I appreciate the efforts of Chris Bleaux, the AFSCME Executive Committee and the city negotiating committee in working in the best interests of AFSCME employees and the taxpayers in supporting this fair contract,” he said.

“This is a testament on how good people can work together, unlike in the past with the former AFSCME president and the fire union.”

Kasprzak has often fought with former AFSCME President Denise Nephew as well as leaders of the Fire Department union over contracts.

The Common Council will vote on the AFSCME contract at its Nov. 21 meeting.

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