Niskayuna swiftly approves PBA contract

Landry: two-year agreement addresses town’s fiscal constraints, fair to union and town

— Less than five months after the Niskayuna police union contract expired the town has settled on an agreement that is to save the town money when compared to the previous contract.

The Niskayuna Town Board on Thursday, May 17, unanimously approved a new collective bargaining agreement with the Niskayuna Police Benevolent Association to cover a period from Jan. 1, 2012, to Dec. 31, 2013. PBA President Michael Stevens said union members unanimously approved of the contract.

Union members would receive a 1.5 percent salary increase this year and another 1.5 percent increase the following year. The union’s previous four-year contract held a 3.75 percent salary increase each year from 2009 to 2011, according to Town Attorney Matt Miller.

“In these economic times big raises are not something that can happen and we can understand that,” Stevens said.

Town Supervisor Landry thanked PBA members for approving the agreement and said it was fair for the town and union members.

“This was done in an incredibly fast time and it worked out well for all of us,” Landry said.

Councilwoman Liz Orzel Kapser also applauded the agreement for being reached in a timely manner.

“This came through quickly and with no tears I hope and I’m glad this finished,” said Kasper, who chair of town Public Safety Committee.

Stevens said the town was responsive to the union’s concerns, which made the process move smoothly.

“This is actually the third contract I have worked on and this is the first one I have been a part of that we were able to get accomplished without a mediator,” Stevens said.

Landry said salary increase for PBA members have historically been “a lot higher,” but town officials explained to the union what fiscal difficulties it’s facing under the state mandated tax cap.

“We worked very well with the PBA to lay out what economic parameters we are working under,” he said. “This was a concession that they were willing to work with us on and they recognized the tax cap and what the tax cap is doing to municipalities.”

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