Retirement benefit changes top the list of grievances
Village workers in Skaneateles say local leaders are showing them no respect. Some folks who've given years of service to the village will retire with no health benefits
"It's really a slap in the face to the workers who've provided dedicated service and who in fact have been earning these benefits during their career," said Mark Kotzin, Civil Service Employee Association spokesman.
According to Skaneateles Mayor Robert Green, a new resolution was passed last month. It states that starting on Oct. 1, current non-management employees will not receive health benefits when they retire, and a cap will be placed on health coverage for those already retired.
"Obviously we have very dedicated and hardworking employees and it was a difficult decision to make but one we felt we had to make for the taxpayers of the community," Green said.
Village workers said there was no warning about the changes made to healthcare and they actually found out about it hours before the resolution was adopted.
"Was real kick in the britches per say and to have it taken away it's just one of those unwritten laws I guess that you're going to to have it at your retirement," local union representative David Short said.
Green said he would be willing to meet with union reps but felt their input was not necessary when the board adopted the resolution.
"We didn't feel it was part of the collective bargaining agreement," Green said.
To attract qualified employees to the village, the resolution calls for management to receive some health benefits during retirement. Village workers feel the cuts made will have an impact on recruitment.
"The workers were pleased to see the support the community," Kotzin commented after the meeting, "and we intend to build on that support. The board's treatment of the workers should not go unchallenged, and we ask village residents to contact the board and ask them to rescind their changes to retiree healthcare and to sit down with the union to work cooperatively to come up with cost savings."
Ryan Dean contributed to this story. He writes for Eagle Newspapers' news partner News10Now.