Sep 14, 2012 Jason Emerson Uncategorized
The Skaneateles Village Board of Trustees and the local chapter of the Civil Service Employees Association, after more than one year of negotiations and disagreements, have declared labor contract negotiations to be at an impasse, Mayor Marty Hubbard told the village board at its Sept. 18 meeting.
At issue are wage increases for the 2012 year, which the village offered as a one-time payment but the union wants as a permanent wage increase.
“We made what we felt was a fair offer and they didn’t think so,” said Village Trustee Marc Angelillo, the board’s union negotiator. “They are one of the highest paid CSEA employees in the county. In fact, we offered them something better than what their counterparts in the county and the state were offered, and they said no.”
CSEA spokesperson Mark Kotzin said, “We’re just asking for parity in the agreement to what the management personnel got. We’re not looking to break the bank here, we just want something that’s fair.”
The village contract with its seven Department of Public Works employees who are members of the CSEA expired May 31, 2011. The two sides have been unable to reach an agreement on a contract since that time.
According to the union, the main issue in the contract is that the village gave each of its three management personnel 1.7 percent salary increases for 2012, while they offered CSEA employees a 0 percent wage increase for 2011 and a “modest wage increase” in the form of a one-time payment for 2012.
“Our people willing to take 0 percent for 2011, but the sticking point is instead of one-time bonuses we want wage increases for 2012 to be added to base salaries just as management got,” Kotzin said.
The village position has been that New York state CSEA employees negotiated a three-year contract with 0 percent increases each year and that should be the baseline for the local contract. The village also negotiated a two-year contract with its police department union at 0 percent wage increases.
“Quite frankly, what management got has no bearing on our union contract,” Angelillo said.
The village made the union the offer of the one-time bonus “in order to get [the contract] done,” Hubbard said, but was unwilling to agree to permanent wage increases for the 2012 contract.
“I can’t justify giving an increase to CSEA when our police got zero and Welch Allyn is laying people off down the street,” Hubbard said. “As mayor, I can’t justify that.”
Angelillo said another issue in the contract has been about healthcare contributions. The village asked the CSEA to increase its employees’ contributions, which the union refused to agree to.
“It’s been a very tenuous negotiating session with them,” Angelillo said.
Because the two sides have been unable to reach agreement on a contract, the state will now appoint a neutral mediator to meet with both parties to try to bring them to an agreement. If that fails, the NYS Public Employment Relations Board will send in a neutral third party for a fact-finding process after which it will issue a non-binding report.
“It’s always our hope going into a mediation that we can resolve it and come to a reasonable agreement,” Kotzin said.
This is the third time in less than a year the village and the CSEA local 1000 have been unable to resolve contract issues.
Last November, an arbitrator ruled against the union on its charge that a change to employee health insurance benefits violated its labor agreement. Then in February, the village and the union reached a last-minute settlement prior to an administrative law hearing over what the union claimed were unfair labor practices, specifically that non-bargaining unit employees were performing work previously done by union workers who were laid off.
Also at the meeting:
—The board refused to agree to Endurance Monster’s request to run its second annual Monster Mash race down Fennell Street, starting at the town garage and ending at the Endurance Monster store. Trustees said they were “uncomfortable” with blocking traffic and closing Fennell Street for the race because so many village residents complained about such road closures for similar races last year. Instead, they suggested the store consider using an alternate race route, such as down Jordan Street to the Austin Park and YMCA Recreation Center area. They asked race organizers to coordinate with the village police department on the best routes possible to avoid major traffic blockades or road closures.
—Village police Sgt. Marty Stevens said the department is monitoring late-night downtown disturbances now that the Lake House Pub has opened in the old Morris’ Grill space. “Calls are up,” Chief Lloyd Perkins told the board. The police will continue monitoring the situation and is considering the possibility of increasing late-night patrols downtown, which they previously did when Morris’ was open.
—Director of Municipal Operations Bob Lotkowicz said the Village DPW will pave West Lake Street probably around the first week of October. He said the three new RBCs for the village wastewater treatment plant were delivered last week and installed within five working days.
—Village Codes Enforcement Officer Adam D’Amico asked the board to remind residents that political signs in residents’ yards must be placed behind sidewalks towards houses, and are not allowed to be on grass between sidewalks and village roads. Signs placed near the road can and will be removed by the village without notice to landowners.
—Hubbard announced that two bids were received for Skaneateles Fire Department air pack purchases. They were “two very competitive prices,” with the low bid at $138,799 and the high bid at $139,880, Hubbard told the board. The two bids, however, are for two different air pack systems so the board will take the full 45 days allowed by law to decide on the most appropriate bid, Hubbard said.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Skaneateles Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.