Members of the CSEA Local 815 have rejected another tentative contract negotiated with Erie County.
This time, it was a close vote: 47 percent of the rank-and-file said yes, while 53 percent voted no. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz tells WBFO News he is disappointed.
"I was hoping to get a contract done. I thought it was important to get a contract done," Poloncarz said Friday. "This is the fourth tentative agreement they've rejected."
Poloncarz noted that the county has closed deals and ratified agreements with several other county workers' unions.
"We are getting contracts done, we're just having difficulty getting this one done," he said.
Poloncarz says he is trying to figure out the sticking point.
"I'm hearing different things. Some people were upset that we changed the healthcare benefits for incoming new employees. Others were unhappy that they did not get retroactive raises in the past," Poloncarz said.
In a written statement, Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw said he stands with CSEA members who voted in favor of the deal and understand that taxpayers can no longer afford benefits out of line with other unions and the public sector.
“These employees deserve a contract that respects their efforts on behalf of the people of Erie County, but is mindful of the taxpayers funding it. I hope the 53% that voted down the contract soon come to the reality that benefits such as free life-time health care and summer hours are no longer a reality in today's economy and are not affordable," Mychajliw said.
Local 815 has been without a contract since 2006.