Poughkeepsie... Dutchess County Executive William R. Steinhaus today announced agreement on a new labor pact with the CSEA, the county government’s largest employee union with over 1400 members. The five-year agreement will run retroactively from January 1, 2005 through December 31, 2009. The union overwhelmingly ratified the new agreement by a 10 to 1 ratio.
County Executive Steinhaus commented, “In any contract negotiation process, my goal is to structure a settlement that is fair to our hard working dedicated employees, while at the same time being mindful of the impact on county taxpayers.”
The settlement includes restructuring the County’s health plans to maintain affordable health care coverage for county employees while providing stronger fiscal control over escalating health care costs for both the employee and the taxpayers who pay the bill. The most significant changes include replacing the County’s current more costly self-insured plan with the New York State Health Insurance Program’s Empire Plan; modest increases to employee co-payments for doctor visits; and a 20% contribution toward the cost of health insurance coverage for new employees. The agreement provides annual wage increases of 3.5% for 2005, 3.6% in 2006, 3.8% in 2007, 3.85% in 2008, and 4% in 2009.
Steinhaus continued, “I am very pleased we are able to provide an equitable compensation package to our valued employees. These are the dedicated public servants who plow snow at 3 a.m. in the morning, dispatch emergency 911 calls, make health care visits to seniors in their homes, care for our county parks, plus many more services residents count on. They make this government run and work hard to serve the thousands of county residents using our county facilities and programs. Labor negotiations can be challenging, but this agreement represents a balanced compromise for both sides.”
Liz Piraino, CSEA President stated, “This new contract reflects items most important to our membership. While the negotiating process was a long one, we ensured our members will receive wage increases commensurate with the cost of living with little or no impact in health insurance.”
The CSEA agreement will be presented to the County Legislature for consideration and adoption at its September 11, 2006 monthly meeting.
CSEA is the second union to settle a labor agreement with the County this year. In February 2006, the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) representing Deputy Sheriffs settled a four-year contract agreement through December 31, 2008. The county’s remaining union, the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Employee Association (DCSEA), which represents jail employees are currently negotiating a new agreement with the county which expires December 31, 2006.