JOHNSTOWN — Fulton County and its criminal justice workers’ union will soon participate in a fact-finding process, hoping to iron out a protracted contract dispute.
An appointed mediator, come July, will review disputed terms and eventually put forward a non-binding resolution following a hearing. It’s a rare step in Fulton County government-labor proceedings.
“In all my years doing this, this is my second, and I represent 37 contracts,” said Bill LeBeau, staff director at the New York State Law Enforcement Officers Union, which represents the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office Employees Alliance. “This is my second one and I’ve been doing this for close to 13 years.”
The Alliance deferred all comments to LeBeau. The local union represents corrections officers, civil office workers and 911 dispatchers in the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department.
It’s been roughly 18 months since negotiations started and 15 months since negotiators hit an impasse.
In a recent release on the forthcoming phase, the county called its last package offer “very fair.” This included 3% salary increases for 2022 and 2.5% increases from 2023 to 2025; a health insurance increase from $1,500 to $3,000.
LeBeau declined to provide details on the union’s demands, but said that it’s “not astronomical.” Union negotiators are looking for higher raises per longevity in order to inch closer towards parity with comparably sized counties. Between February of 2018 and 2022, the corrections division lost 32 employees.
“What we’re looking for is fair market value in this day and age, and comparable to what we do on the job in other counties,” said the union representative.
He believes that the union could have a contract by the fall.
Tyler A. McNeil can be reached at 518-395-3047 or [email protected]. Follow him on Facebook at Tyler A. McNeil, Daily Gazette or Twitter @TylerAMcNeil.