May 8, 2016
WNYLaborToday.com Editor-Publisher Tom Campbell
Rochester, NY – Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) Monroe County Unit 7400, Monroe County’s largest Public Service Union, declared a contract impasse today (Monday, May 2nd) with its employer.
The Union represents 1,691 Members in Monroe County who are employed in seven county departments, including, but not limited to Public Works, Probation, County Administration, Health and Parks.
Impasse was declared with the New York State Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) after the negotiating team polled Members and determined that a final contract could not be reached without assistance from a mediator, CSEA Officials said. The Union hopes the intervention of a neutral third party will be able to break the county’s refusal to negotiate in good faith and bring both sides to a fair and equitable agreement, they added.
CSEA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement with Monroe County expired on December 31st, 2013. The last negotiation meeting was scheduled for Monday, March 21st. However, CSEA Representatives received a call late in the day on Thursday, March 17th – only to find out county officials unilaterally canceled the meeting with no just cause.
Currently, one out of eight Full-Time Bargaining Units has a valid negotiated contract with the county.
728 BY 90"We are ‘very disappointed’ the county ‘chose not to meet with us,’” CSEA Monroe County Unit 7400 President Jim D’Amico said. “With respect to terms and conditions of employment, county officials and their ‘outsourced’ law firm are ‘dictating’ – ‘not negotiating’ a fair and equitable deal."
In the past eight years, County Workers have only received a 2% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), which is well below the threshold for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and rates of inflation. During the same time period, some top county management officials have garnered a 21% wage increase during the same time period.
“In our last contract, Workers made ‘big concessions’ and ‘got nothing in return,’” D’Amico said. “Morale is at an ‘all-time low.’ However, ‘we are ready, willing and able’ to get back to the table and ‘hammer out’ a fair contract. Unfortunately, in my opinion – the county is ‘more concerned about keeping an outsourced law firm on retainer’ than ‘making sure’ County Workers have the ‘support and resources necessary’ to ‘deliver the high quality services that our county residents have come to know, love and respect.’ Our Members decided that impasse was the ‘best course of action.’”
CSEA – New York State’s Leading Union – representing Workers employed by New York’s counties, towns, villages, school districts, library systems, authorities and public corporations. Together – with a growing population of Private Sector Members and retirees, CSEA forms a Union that is 300,000 strong. CSEA is also the largest affiliate (Local 1000) of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) – which, in turn, is one of the largest affiliates of the National AFL-CIO.