Gov. Cuomo, Union Reach Tentative Agreement

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the union representing state workers have reached a tentative agreement that could avoid close to 3,500 layoffs if approved by the union’s membership, which voted against an earlier agreement.

The New York State Public Employees Federation said Sunday that the agreement will be presented to the union’s executive board on Monday. If approved, it will go out to the membership for a vote.

The two sides have been racing against an Oct. 19 deadline for layoffs to begin statewide. The union said if the executive board approves the contract, the layoff date will be pushed back to Nov. 4 to allow enough time for the membership vote.

PEF’s members in September rejected a tentative contract negotiated by its leaders that would have avoided layoffs, but included a wage freeze, unpaid furloughs, higher health care contributions and other concessions.

In the agreement announced Sunday, there would be no wage increases in 2011, 2012, and 2013, with a 2 percent increase for 2014. A lump sum payment contained in the earlier agreement would be exchanged for a reimbursement of unpaid furlough days at the end of the four-year contract, the union said.

“The ratification of this agreement will demonstrate that our members are willing to sacrifice to save the jobs of 3,496 of their co-workers and preserve the level of service to taxpayers,” said PEF President Ken Brynien.

Cuomo has taken a hard line in talks with all unions, and has said union concessions are needed. Savings are already budgeted as part of the way the state balanced its budget and addressed a $10 billion deficit.

Cuomo said his administration “has been more than reasonable and fair.”

“Simply put, the fate of the members is in the union’s hands,” he said. “It’s up to them.”

Please leave a comment below…

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

  • Edna R.

    PEF NO Voters need a dose of reality. If this contract is voted down, Governor Cuomo needs to follow the lead of Governors in Wisconsin and Ohio and take steps to revoke the collective bargaining rights of ALL state unions. Then go after Civil Service protections of senior employees. Let every able bodied unemployed NYSer compete for these jobs that these out-of-touch-with-economic-reality union members seem to live in.

    I can’t relate to the attitude of public sector workers of ‘people might lose their jobs.. but so what, I won’t.. lets wait for a better offer’. This ONLY happens in the public sector where jobs are protected by seniority and preferred lists. I suspect that if a person under threat of layoff knew that the job would be open to competition from any source, this attitude would be different. Before the vote there were no faces to the layoff numbers.. today there is.. They will not get ANY sympathy from the private sector or the general public who think public sector workers have little touch with the reality of what is going on with the economy or talk like they should be exempt.

    As usual, people’s primary focus is ‘how does this affect me’. Posters are not as informed as they like to think they are. There has been an assault on public sector workers and unions in this country for years. It started with campaigns stating that governments shouldn’t have to pay public sector pensions because they could no longer afford them or exceeded private sector pensions.

    In that anti-union, anti-public sector atmosphere it was foolish for PEF voters to drag this out. The obvious reason is the vocal senior members who either wanted to retire before the 5 year end of contract lump sums, furlough reimbursement kicked in or with seniority to bump anyone if laid off. It’s interesting that Not one NO voter states that their stance is to preserve the union … everyone goes off in detail how their costs will increase… with pay freezes and increase in Health costs.

    Go ahead vote NO again. Hopefully the Governor can move forward with removing the bargaining power of the union and maybe go as far as to let workers compete for positions on individual merit (remove CS protections), not strictly based on seniority. It’s a good way to get rid of the dead wood just holding on.

    Can’t happen?? … pay attention to what’s going with public sector workers in other states, then think again.



  • SickofWallStreet

    No reason for some crooked hack on Wall Street to make billions either and then not pay taxes!!

  • Richard Allen

    Still cuomo has NO guts to attack where the real saving are…

    We need to make it easier to FIRE government workers 3 write ups in 90 days and you are unemployed!

    No more can you screw up and still keep your job……thousands are waiting on lists to be employed NO reason to ever have a lazy loudmouth ignorant wasteful employee on the public payroll any longer.

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