Members of New York's largest state workers union, the Civil Service Employees Association, approved a new five-year labor contract with the Cuomo administration Monday, a deal that includes a pay freeze and higher health care costs but provides some protections against layoffs.
"The union avoided layoffs and the state is financially stronger. Mutual respect and honest negotiations work. "CSEA members agree that this contract is reasonable and responsible for the long term and shows that CSEA members will do what is right for the good of all New Yorkers. Employees would get two bonuses worth $1,000 during the contract.
CSEA's leadership accepted the deal in June, while PEF reached a deal in July. PEF's executive board voted just last week to put the contract to its members.
About 30,000 ballots by members of the Civil Service Employees Association union were counted and certified Monday. CSEA President Danny Donohue said in a statement that "These are not ordinary times and CSEA worked hard to reach an agreement that we believed would be in everyone's best interest."
The current state budget is counting hundreds of millions of dollars in concessions from all its unions, much of it from the CSEA, the state's largest union and one that represents many of the state's blue-collar workers. The deal would provide employees with lump-sum retention payments of $775 in 2013. Cuomo's plan with all union contracts would cut workforce costs by $1.63 billion over the course of their agreements.
The Cuomo administration said the contracts would be $3.8 billion less expensive to the state than the contract agreements in 2007.
The state budget is about $132 billion.
The agreement will avoid state layoffs, but does include a number of concessions.
Here is the release from Governor Cuomo's office:
GOVERNOR CUOMO AND CSEA PRESIDENT DANNY DONOHUE ANNOUNCE CSEA CONTRACT RATIFICATION
New contract avoids the need for broad layoffs while meeting tough fiscal demands
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and CSEA President Danny Donohue today announced that members of the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) have ratified the five year labor contract agreed to in June by CSEA leadership and the Cuomo administration. The contract includes provisions to keep CSEA-represented state employees on the job delivering essential services to New Yorkers. It also calls for a redesign of the employee health care contribution and benefit system.
"This is a big, big win-- a win for the union and a win for the people of the state," Governor Cuomo said. "The union avoided layoffs and the state is financially stronger. Mutual respect and honest negotiations work. The terms of the agreement will take effect immediately as the state legislature already approved the agreement contingent on the CSEA ratification.
Employees will receive a 2 percent increase in 2014-15 and 2015-16.
Savings: The 2011 wage agreement is $2.5 billion less costly to the state than the 2007 agreement, if adopted through the state workforce.
Health Care System Redesign: The agreement includes a series of reforms in the employee health care system. Health Care Contributions: The agreement includes substantial changes to employee health care contributions bringing public employee benefits more in line with the private sector. The agreement reflects a two percent increase in contributions for Grade 9 employees and below, and a six percent increase for Grade 10 employees and above. (Under the agreement, for example, the state will pay 69 percent of family coverage for a Grade 10 employee and above, and the employee will pay 31 percent. The prior split was 75 percent state/25 percent employee. For individual coverage, a Grade 10 employee and above will pay 16 percent and the state share will be 84 percent. The prior split was 10 percent employee/90 percent state).
Health Care Opt Out: For the first time, the state is offering an opt-out option. Health care premiums cost $16,600 for family coverage and $7300 for individual coverage. Savings: If adopted by all bargaining units, these changes generate $85.5 million annually when adopted statewide, and $361.4 million over the term of the contract.
Savings: The furloughs will yield $360 million in savings if adopted by all bargaining units.
Patient Abuse Reforms: Both CSEA and the State agree that the system in place for investigating allegations of abuse of patients at state facilities does not adequately protect our most vulnerable population in state care. While CSEA employees are dedicated caretakers, allegations of abuse must be dealt with thoroughly.
Layoff Protection: CSEA employees will receive broad layoff protection for fiscal year 2011-12 and 2012-13 arising from the $450 million budget gap. CSEA, New York's biggest state workers union has ratified a contract agreement with New York state that keeps people working and protects rights and benefits. The votes were counted until late Monday night, and Governor Cuomo and CSEA President Danny Donahue made the announcement just before 11:30pm.
Albany-- Monday CSEA spent the day counting votes to see if their latest agreement will be approved by members. State workers told us bottom-line: the issue is divided between new employees and veterans.