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Politics and Government

Otsego County workers approve contract they once rejected

J. Stephen Conn

Union workers ratified a contract with Otsego County government on Monday.

They have been working without a contract for over three years and even rejected this agreement several months ago. But after working with a mediator -- and given Otsego County’s budget deficit - the workers took a re-vote and approved it 117 "yes" to 70 "no."

"Our members, obviously, want to lock in whatever they can get," said Mark Kotzin of CSEA, the union that represents Otsego County employees. "As well, they want to do their part to try and get the county stable [on] financial footing and so the county knows what to budget for the next few years for the contract.

The contract includes no wage increase for 2012 or 2013 and increases; wages go up 1.5 percent for 2014 and 2015 and 2 percent in 2016 and 2017.

The Oneonta Daily Star reports that the chair of the county’s negotiating team said the agreement would increase the budget deficit significantly. The Otsego County Board still has to sign off on the contract.

Just over a month ago, the CSEA rejected a contract for its workers in Onondaga County. It's the largest union for Onondaga County employees, and they have been working without a contract since the end of 2012.