Deputies and corrections officers in the Erie County Holding Center and Correctional Facility Friday ratified contracts with the county, replacing pacts that expired years ago.
The contracts – with CSEA Local 815, which represents corrections officers, and Teamsters Local 264, which represents employees at both jails – were struck at “substantial savings” for taxpayers thanks to provisions that require employees and retirees to pay a portion of health insurance costs, county officials said.
“These contracts represent a new way of doing business for Erie County,” said County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, who credited the leadership of the local CSEA and Teamsters for “negotiating in a way that was fair to their members, fair to taxpayers and understanding [of] the fiscal realities facing Erie County.”
“Providing 100 percent county-funded health insurance for employees and retirees places a huge strain on county finances and is unsustainable in the long run,” added Poloncarz. “These agreements will make it possible to control such costs in the future.”
The ratified contracts, which are the first approved by county employees this year after rejections by both the white-collar unit of the CSEA and sheriff’s Police Benevolent Association, won’t take effect until they are formally approved by the County Legislature.
The contract struck with the Teamsters, which represents about 540 employees, expired Dec. 31, 2004. Members of the CSEA Corrections Officers unit, with about 230 employees, were working despite a contract that expired at the end of 2006.
Under the terms of the deal with the Teamsters, employees will receive 2 percent raises over three years between 2012 and 2014 with 3 percent pay hikes in 2015 and 2016. Also, employees will receive retroactive cash payments of $300 for each year worked between 2005 and 2011, county officials said.
Included in the health insurance concessions by employees are provisions requiring new hires to pay 10 percent of premiums, with all current employees paying 10 percent of premiums beginning in 2014. Additional provisions call for existing employees who retire after 2016 to pay 10 percent of retiree premiums, with those hired after Jan. 1, 2013 not receiving any paid health care upon retirement.
As for the pact with the CSEA, there will be no “retroactive pay component.” However, all of its members will be bumped up one step starting in 2013 and will receive 2 percent raises between 2013 and 2017. Those employees will be required to pay 15 percent of health premiums starting in 2013, with all new hires to be enrolled in a less-expensive “value plan,” for which they’ll also pay 15 percent of premiums. Newly hired corrections officers also will not receive county-paid health insurance after retirement.
All employees in both bargaining units also agreed to eliminating “summer hours,” and the CSEA group also gave back paid holidays on both Columbus and Election days.
Previous contracts provided employees and retirees in both unions 100 percent paid health insurance.
Calls to leadership from both unions were not returned late Friday.