Cortland City Council Approves New CSEA Contract As Union Files Grievances Against the City
Cortland City leaders have finalized a new multiyear contract with employees covered under the Civil Service Employees Union. The new agreement increases wages for those workers and brings there benefit contributions in line with other city employees.
In a unanimous vote the City Council approved the new contract which features a 1.5% pay increase for workers retroactive to 2011 and 2012. Those employees will then see another 1% increase this year as well as increases 1% pay increase in 2014 and 2015 when the new agreement expires.
The new contract also increases the employees clothing allowances, reduces the number of years of service from 25 to 20 an employee must have in before they can retire with full benefits, and cuts their health insurance contributions from 19% to 18%.
Mayor Brian Tobin says the contract mirrors similar agreements with the city’s other unions.
Meanwhile the council also voted to hire an outside law firm to handle two grievances the union has filed against the city.
The union is claiming the city violated its labor agreement by using volunteers to clean up around downtown prior to last summer’s Jets Training Camp. A group of volunteers including city officials spent time picking up trash and painting a welcome logo on main street ahead of the event to welcome the New York Jets and their fans.
The union claims the city should have used D-P-W employees and paid them overtime to do the work, similar to the clean-up after the June Dairy Parade. The CSEA union is also grieving the city over the recent decision to eliminate the public safety department and reassign those duties to other employees, the union claims those employees should be compensated for the additional duties, the City maintains the duties are minor including hanging banners and fixing traffic lights.
Tobin was unsure how much it would cost the city to defend against the grievances, but felt it was important to maintain the city’s authority to use volunteers and redefine employee job duties.