Saratoga County

Saratoga Springs approves new pacts with two CSEA units

After two years of negotiations and arbitration, the city and its two units of the Civil Service


After two years of negotiations and arbitration, the city and its two units of the Civil Service Employees Association have new four-year contracts with pay increases of 2 percent in both 2011 and 2012.

The new agreement, which runs from 2009 through 2012, will also save the city a significant amount of money because the employees will have a single health insurance carrier — MVP — rather than the four different health insurance companies under the old contract, according to Mayor Scott Johnson.

An arbitrator, Ira Lobel from the Public Employment Relations Board, was called in last year to help both sides reach an agreement. Representatives of the city and the union spent dozens of hours negotiating the agreement.

The members of the City Hall unit of the CESA, which includes 75 workers, and the Department of Public Works unit, which includes 80 workers, ratified the new contract last week.

The City Council approved the new agreement unanimously at Tuesday’s meeting in City Hall.

“It was a give, give situation,” said Gary Benincasa, president of the DPW unit.

Kathy Moran, president of the City Hall workers CSEA unit, said it took two years to work out this agreement. She said the PERB arbitrator ended up becoming a mediator in the final stages of negotiations.

Johnson noted there are no retroactive pay increases in the new agreement. Accounts Commissioner John Franck said this was one of the reasons he was voting in favor of the new pact.

Johnson said the old CSEA contract, which expired at the end of 2008, provided the City Hall unit with a 3.5 percent pay increase and the DPW unit with a 4 percent raise.

There were some slight differences in the contracts for the two units.

In the case of the City Hall unit, the 2012 pay increase is 2.5 percent as compared with the DPW unit pay increase of 2 percent.

But the City Hall unit will not have any step pay increases (automatic pay increases depending on how many years an employee has served) in 2012 while the DPW unit employees will still receive their step pay increases.

CSEA workers hired before 2001 had never paid part of their health insurance but, under the new contract, they will start paying $500 per year effective July 1, 2012. City employees hired after 2001 already pay 10 percent or 20 percent of their health insurance, Johnson said as he read the terms of the new agreement.

Nobody would discuss the new CSEA contracts prior to Tuesday’s council meeting at the request of the arbitrator.

Finance Commissioner Kenneth Ivins said both sides win under the new agreements.

Johnson said having a single health insurance carrier will provide the city with “significant cost containment, not just this year but for years to come.”

He said this cost savings — which he did not put a price tag on — “far outweigh the wage increase” granted employees in the new contract.

Some city residents speaking before the unveiling of the new agreement, urged the City Council to announce the terms of the agreement but not vote on it until the council’s next meeting so members of the public could discuss it.

“We are the ones who are paying for the contract; hold off the vote,” said resident David Bronner.

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