Onondaga County and its largest union have reached an impasse in contract negotiations after more than a year of meetings on the subject. Talks broke down Thursday during the twelfth session of talks between the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) Local 834 and the county.
President Kathy Zabinski says considering the way the talks have gone so far, the county worker isn't being valued. She says the union members aren’t asking for too much:
Zabinski says the union tried to cut down the items they wanted taken care of, but the county wasn’t satisfied with that. Now, she says the disagreement has been filed to go to impasse, which means a judge or neutral arbitrator will hear both sides before coming to some kind of an agreement.
ONONDAGA COUNTY'S VIEW
County officials accuse the union of negotiating in bad faith. In a release, Executive Joanie Mahoney says the union presented a "take it or leave it" wage package, and then refused to consider the county's counter-proposal. The county says that's grounds for improper practice charges against the union, which they plan to file with the New York Public Employment Relations Board. Mahoney says contrary to Zabinski's assertions, Onondaga County places a "tremendous value on the hard work of our employees and I appreciate the work they do." She says CSEA members have had their pay increased by more than 15% since 2008, when the country was in recession. Mahoney continues, "The reality is that county taxpayers cannot continue to pay for raises at this pace." She hopes the CSEA returns to the bargaining table to work out a solution that "respects county employees for their hard work while also respecting the county taxpayers who pay their wages."
CSEA Local 834 represents more than 2,200 workers in probation, 911, corrections, the health department and the parks department. They've been without a contract since January of last year. For more information, visit www.csea834.com.