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County Legislature approves 2-year CSEA contract

Healthcare concessions expected to net savings for county

After Schenectady County CSEA union members voted down the first proposed contract, a similar one was approved and passed unanimously by the County Legislature.

Union members approved a new 2-year contract for county employees of CSEA on Thursday, June 9, after a week-long voting period resulting in 292 in favor and 237 opposed. The Schenectady County Legislature unanimously approved the contract on Tuesday, June 14, during its regular meeting. The previous contract had expired on January 1, and the new contract will be effective until the end of 2012.

We had a very good cooperative relationship with our CSEA negotiating team, said County Attorney Christopher Gardner. "Overall, the cost of the contract is almost the same as the initial one that was voted down."

Previously the union rejected a contract proposal in April by a larger margin than the current proposal passed by. Even if the contract's cost is similar, union goals were met in the approved contract.

"The negotiating teams was able to soften the language related to new hires at Glendale who would be paying more for health insurance and would have had lower salaries," said Therese Assalian, spokeswoman for the Capital Region CSEA, in an email. "This new tier will still exist, but the disparity between new and current employees is not as great as the previous offer."

The new two-tier wage scales for new Glendale Nursing Home employees previously had employees coming in at 5 percent below current salaries, but now it will be 10 percent lower. The decrease in salaries is a result of the county removing night and weekend shift time accruals and shift differentials for new employees, which was in the rejected contract.

Another change was giving early retires a $300 annual health retirement savings account to help offset the copays, which were previously lower. Assalian said this was another important area the union wanted to address and was pleased to have accomplished.

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