County union members reject new contract

Aug 23, 2012

The largest union representing Erie County government workers has voted down a new contract proposal with the county.

The deal included 11 percent raises over the next five years, as well as employee contributions toward health insurance and reductions in paid leave.

Joan Bender, president of the Civil Service Employees Association Local 815, reports the vote was 2,144 to 706, an approximately three-to-one margin.

The union has been working under terms of a contract which expired in 2006. The new proposal would have covered the years 2007 through 2016.

CSEA Local 815 previously turned down a proposal negotiated in 2010 with former County Executive Chris Collins that would have provided 15 percent raises and also included employee payments for health care benefits.

In a statement, County Executive Mark Poloncarz expressed his disappointment with the contract vote:

“I am disappointed that a majority of CSEA’s voting membership rejected a contract that would have put more money in their pockets while asking for modest contributions to their health care plans. The contract that was presented was fair to CSEA members and to County residents, and was realistic in its assessment of the economic climate in Erie County. While CSEA has chosen not to move forward with a new contract at this time, Erie County will continue to negotiate with other unions whose members are a vital part of the County workforce.”