Members of the Civil Service Employees Association on Friday rejected a tentative agreement that union officials reached with Erie County last month.
It was the third straight time that members of Erie County government’s largest union said no to a negotiated wage and benefits package. CSEA-represented county employees have been working without a contract since the previous contract expired in 2006.
“We brought the tentative agreement to our membership, and they have spoken by voting 1,296 no votes to 570 yes votes,” CSEA Erie County Local President Joan Bender, said in a prepared statement Friday.
The rejected agreement would have provided a total of 11.5 percent in raises over a five-year period but would have required current county workers to pay 7.5 percent of their health care premiums starting in 2017. Employees hired after the ratification of the agreement would have had to contribute 15 percent of the cost of their health insurance.
Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz, in a written statement Friday, expressed his disappointment in the results of ratification vote. “I am disappointed that this tentative agreement has been rejected. This is the third time that a tentative agreement has been rejected by this bargaining unit, once under the prior administration and now twice with my administration. I will be discussing next actions with Director of Labor Relations David Palmer and others,” Poloncarz said.
County Comptroller Stefan I. Mychajliw noted that, had the agreement been ratified, it would have cost the county about $21 million over the life of the contract. He also issued a prepared statement after Friday’s vote. “The rank and file have spoken. The county should provide workers with raises they deserve and that taxpayers can afford,” Mychajliw said. He applauded the removal of massage and acupuncture benefits from the contract and the inclusion of provisions requiring county employees to pay a share of their health care costs. Also under the agreement, all employees would have lost Election Day as a paid holiday and lost the shorter summer hours beginning in 2014.