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State worker union to vote on new contract proposal

Members of the state worker union the Public Employees Federation will be voting on a new contract proposal, now that the union’s executive board has signed off on a rejiggered proposal agreed to with Governor Cuomo to avoid 3500 lay offs. 

PEF President Ken Brynien urged members to approve the contract, on this second try, asking them not to “sacrifice” the 3500 state workers targeted to lose their jobs if the agreement is rejected.

“I would ask my members to now reconsider,” Brynien said. “We have a new agreement that better meets their needs and they should vote yes.”

The new  version shortens the length of the contract from five years to four, allows workers to be reimbursed for nine mandatory furlough days at the end of the contract, or if they retire before then, and it permits employees to use vacation time to help pay for the increased cost of their health care benefits.

Governor Cuomo says it’s now up to the union members to decide whether to accept the new terms. He says this is his last offer.

Karen DeWitt is Capitol Bureau Chief for New York State Public Radio, a network of 10 public radio stations in New York State. She has covered state government and politics for the network since 1990.