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CSEA Charges Onondaga County With Breaking The Law By Approving Three-Year Retroactive Contract, Public Employees Union Says County “Never Asked” For Multi-Year Extension

Published Wednesday, February 17, 2016
by Chris Baker/

(SYRACUSE, NEW YORK) - Onondaga County's largest Public Employees Union says the county “broke the law” by approving a three-year retroactive contract last week.

On Tuesday (February 16th), the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) said state law invalidates the contract approved by the county legislature last Thursday (February 11th).

The legislature voted to implement retroactive pay raises for CSEA-represented Workers, who had been working without a contract since 2013.

CSEA claims the state's Taylor Law only allows employers to impose a one-year, wages-only contract for the first year following expiration of a previous contract.

The law, CSEA says, only allows a multi-year contract if the Union agrees to it, which it did not.

"The county ‘never came’ to the Union asking for a multiple-year imposition," CSEA Spokesman Mark Kotzin said. "Instead, they went to legislative imposition and the way they did it was illegal."

The approved contract included a 2% wage increase for half of 2014 and a 2.25% increase for 2015.

The legal action has ground to a halt negotiations between the CSEA and the county.

"We ‘can't go back’ to the table," Kotzin said. "Had they followed the law, they would impose a one-year contract for 2013, which is in their purview, then we would be back at the table for 2014 and beyond.  That would have started immediately."

The CSEA is filing an Improper Practice charge against the county.

The state's Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) will be tasked with ruling on the legality of the contract and the charge.

CSEA Membership has rejected three contract offers in the last 18 months.

The most recent vote came in January, when leadership cited health Insurance increases and pay raises for elected officials as reasons for rejection.

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