Westchester County and the Corrections Superior Officers Association have reached a tentative seven-year agreement which for the first time includes employee contributions to health care insurance coverage.
This is the third county government union to agree to such provisions.
A tentative pact, running retroactively from 2009 to 2015, was announced today by County Executive Robert P. Astorino and Corrections Superior Officers Association Acting President Bruce Donnelly. Union members approved the deal on Monday and it now goes to the Board of Legislators for approval.
“This contract, negotiated through the give and take of collective bargaining, is fair to both the union members and our taxpayers,” said Astorino. “Since taking office in 2010, I have repeatedly called on our county unions to pay some of the costs of their health care, just like everyone else.”
The Corrections Superior Officers Association follows the rank and file members of the Correction Officers Benevolent Association and Teamsters Local 456 to agree to new contracts with employee health care contributions.
The tentative seven-year pact calls for wage increases that average of 2.6 percent a year. The wage increases would be spread over periods that are more than 12 months to lower the cost to the Westchester, according to the county.
The future salary increases will be provided only to current employees. The county and union have agreed to a reduced salary schedule for new hires.
The Corrections Superior Officers Association represents about 120 sergeants, captains and assistant wardens in the county’s Department of Correction, which oversees the county jail and penitentiary on the Grasslands Reservation in Valhalla. Previously, the rank and file members of the Correction Officers Benevolent Association and members of Teamsters Local 456 had separately agreed to new contracts with health care contributions.
Non-union county employees, including Astorino, already contribute to their health care costs, under terms of a law Astorino initiated in 2010.
“After tough negotiations by both sides, the new agreement provides SOA's membership and the county with contract stability through 2015 and at the same time demonstrates the membership’s commitment to work with the county government during these tough economic times by making a significant concession in agreeing to have its members contribute to the cost of healthcare,” said attorney Warren J. Roth of the Law Offices of Bartlett, McDonough and Monaghan LLP., speaking on behalf of the Corrections Superior Officers Association.
Astorino again called on the county’s other unions, including its largest—the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA)—to follow the example set by the unions that have reached settlemens.
The CSEA has been working without a contract since Dec. 31, 2011. The county’s other four unions also have expired contracts as well. They represent police officers and superior officers, investigators in the District Attorney’s Office and nurses.
Under the terms of the tentative agreement with the Corrections Superior Officers Association, members will begin paying a portion of their health care costs as follows:
- Upon ratification by the Board of Legislators, all current SOA members will contribute 12.5 percent to health insurance costs. (For employees getting health care under the county’s self-insured plan administered by POMCO, this would be about $2,600 annually for a family plan or $986 for an individual.)
- The employee contribution would rise to 13 percent on Jan. 1, 2013; to 14 percent on Jan. 1, 2014; and to 15 percent on Jan. 1, 2015, with caps to make sure that premiums on which contributions are based cannot rise more than 6.5 percent annually.
- New employees hired will pay 20 percent towards the cost of their health care during their employment and in their retirement.
- The tentative contract also includes increases in co-payments for doctor visits, emergency room visits and prescription drugs, as well as other cost-containment measures.
Compensation changes as follows:
- Effective Jan. 1, 2009, union members will get a 3 percent raise.
- Effective Jan. 1, 2010, union members will get a 3 percent raise.
- Effective Jan. 1, 2011, union members will get a 2.5 percent raise.
- Effective April 1, 2012, union members will get a 2.5 percent raise.
- Effective July 1, 2013, union members will get a 2.5 percent raise.
- Effective July 1, 2014, union members will get a 2.5 percent raise.
- Effective July 1, 2015, union members will get a 2.5 percent raise.
- The tentative contract includes some increases in night shift differential and longevity pay.
The Corrections Superior Officers Association has been working without a contract since Dec. 31, 2009, when its last one expired.