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The Erie County Legislature this week unanimously approved a long-term contract with sworn members of the Sheriff’s Office.

The agreement is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2009 and extends to Dec. 31, 2016. The Erie County Benevolent Association’s previous contract with the county expired on Dec. 31, 2004, and its members were working under arbitration.

The new eight-year agreement calls for union members to forego wage increases for the period from 2009 to 2011; annual 2.5 percent increases from 2012 to 2015; and a 3 percent wage increase in 2016. In addition, members agreed to pay 15 percent of their health insurance costs and relinquish both Election Day and Columbus Day as paid holidays. The terms of the agreement also call for members to receive a $750 signing bonus for 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Prior to the Legislature’s vote Thursday, the 130-member union had ratified the negotiated contract by a more than 2-1 margin.

The Legislature, which went back into session Thursday after a monthlong hiatus, also approved the transfer of nursing and medical employees in the Department of Health’s Correctional Division from the collective bargaining unit that covers more than 1,800 white-collar workers in the county into the unit that covers corrections officers at the Alden Correctional Facility.

Under the agreement, those employed with the job titles of medical aide, medical office assistant, principal clerk, physicians assistant, senior clerk-typist and record administrator at the correctional facility will no longer be members of Civil Service Employees Association Local 815. Instead, they will be governed under the provisions of the county’s contract with the CSEA Corrections Officers Unit.

As a result, the affected staff will begin paying 15 percent of their health care costs and no longer receive summer hours and Election Day and Columbus Day as paid holidays. New hires will no longer be guaranteed paid health insurance when they retire.

In exchange, those employees will receive wage increases that are in alignment with other unionized correctional health employees.

email: hmcneil@buffnews.com