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Onondaga County reaches contract agreement with union

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Ellen Abbott
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WRVO News File Photo
Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney calls the deal with the union "fair and equitable."

Onondaga County and its biggest union are close to agreeing to a contract. As WRVO’s Ellen Abbott reports, the county and CSEA leadership have agreed to the terms within a fact-finding report from the New York State Employment Relations Board.

The deal includes modest wage increases over five years, and raises health insurance contributions from employees. County Executive Joanie Mahoney says that reflects a changing trend in contracts for government employees, who traditionally were paid less than private sector counterparts, but had better benefits packages.

“The salaries were really out of whack and it was reflected in the benefit packages.  And now that the salaries have done a better job of keeping up with the private sector, you’ll see that the benefit packages are more reflective of that same private sector,” said Mahoney.

There will be yearly wage increases between 2 and 2 ¾ percent through 2017, and health contributions jump from 12 percent to 20 percent by 2017.  

The two sides have been negotiating since before the last contract between the county and the union expired in 2012.  

“This has been a long, respectful, hard-working process that’s gotten us to that sweet spot where we can tell employees, we appreciate you, your work is valued, and we recognize that with that new contact.  And at the same time we can tell the balance of our taxpayers, we were very careful with your money,” said Mahoney.

Union officials say they will not comment publicly until they’ve shared the proposal with their membership. They expect to hold a vote as soon as possible. The Onondaga County Legislature also needs to okay the deal before it becomes final.    

CSEA represents more than 2,500 ranging from workers at the district attorney’s office, transportation workers, to the Onondaga County Library.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.