Saratoga County supervisors Wednesday approved a new six-year contract with the county’s largest union, the Civil Service Employees’ Association.
The deal, retroactive to Jan. 1, calls for the nearly 900 county employees represented by CSEA to receive no raise in 2013, but to receive 2 percent cost-of-living raises each year from 2014 through the contract’s expiration in 2018.
As part of the package, employees who were hired before 2001 — who now pay nothing toward their health insurance premiums — will start paying 2.5 percent in January, and 5 percent starting in 2015.
County Administrator Spencer Hellwig said the health insurance savings should cover the additional salary cost for next year, which he estimated at $766,000.
CSEA members ratified the agreement last week.
The length of the agreement is a benefit, officials said.
“It’s nice not to have to deal with these negotiations every couple of years,” said Wilton town Supervisor Arthur Johnson, chairman of the county Personnel Committee.
The union represents most county workers, including those in the departments of social services and public works and in the Maplewood Manor county infirmary. They have been working without a contract since January,
“We got a contribution to health insurance, but we also recognized the cost of living,” said county board Chairman Alan R. Grattidge, R-Charlton. “This is one of those agreements where there was compromise on both sides.”
The cost-of-living agreement is also good news for non-unionized confidential and management employees, who historically have been given the same raises as unionized workers. Most management employees had gone the last two years without raises, as county officials said the county couldn’t afford to give them raises because of fiscal conditions.
The Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing Jan. 15 in Ballston Spa on a local law to give 2 percent management raises to employees who serve elected terms, including district attorney, county treasurer and county clerk.
The settlement gives the county labor peace with two of its three employee unions. Last spring, it reached an agreement with the union for sheriff’s corrections officers and civilian employees that runs through the end of 2014.
The union for road patrol deputies has been without a contract since 2009. The state Public Employment Relations Board this summer imposed a wage settlement for 2010-11, but not for more recent years.
Johnson said negotiations with the deputies will probably resume in January, once Michael Zurlo takes office as the new county sheriff.