NY Public Workers Union Agrees to Wage Freeze

Tuesday, 16 Aug 2011 11:02 AM

By T.M. Golub

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New York State’s largest public workers union has agreed to a new five-year contract that freezes wages for three years and requires workers to contribute more toward health benefits, thereby avoiding layoffs, according to the New York Post.

The vote by the rank-and-file of the nearly 66,000-member strong Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) was 60 percent in favor. The agreement is a victory for Cuomo, who had threatened thousands of layoffs if the CSEA rank-and-file rejected the contract he had negotiated with union leaders, the Post says.
 
“This is a big, big win — a win for the union and a win for the people of the state,” said Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has cut state workforce costs by $450 million to balance the current budget without raising taxes.
 
The governor sought union givebacks or layoffs — up to 9,800 statewide — to achieve this balancing goal.
 
“These are not ordinary times, and CSEA worked hard to reach an agreement,” said Danny Donohue, president of CSEA.
 
The deal requires an added 2 percent contribution toward health benefits for lower-paid workers, and an additional 6 percent levied on higher-paid employees.
 
Cuomo has said the new contract should save $1.63 billion over the five years.

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