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Latest News - June 2014

June 4, 2014
Comsewogue schools, union agree on four-year contract
Source: Times Beacon Record
By: Andrea Moore Paldy

Comsewogue School District and the Civil Service Employees Association have gotten past their April impasse and agreed upon terms for a new union contract for full-time, non-instructional staff.

"We got together and we talked," Assistant Superintendent for Business Susan Casali said about the negotiations with the union, which represents the district's custodians, maintenance, operations and cafeteria workers, computer technicians, clerical staff and school nurses who had been working without a contract this year.

The discussions took place between Casali, union President Marge Mitchell and two union vice presidents.

"I think it's a fair and equitable agreement," Mitchell said, adding that CSEA members voted 61-1 last Saturday in favor of the new contract. "I think it's good for both sides. The membership is happy with it and that was our goal."

Comsewogue's board of education also approved the contract, at its meeting on Monday night.

The contract, which is retroactive to July 1, 2013, and runs through June 30, 2017, will give employees a 2 percent raise each July moving forward. Since the contract was not in place last July, members will receive a one-time payment of $800 for last year.

Additionally, after 11 years in the district, union members will get salary increases for longevity.

The union had been concerned about a rise in health care contributions, but Mitchell said that in the final contract, "the benefits outweighed the increase."

Casali said employee contributions will have increased by 1 percent by 2017.

She also said the district's goal was to get all employee contracts to come in with overall increases just under 2 percent — meaning the entire contract package, including salaries, health care contributions and other elements over the duration of the agreement, when added up would represent a total increased cost of that amount to the district. The new CSEA contract conforms with that goal.

Though the two parties have agreed upon a contract, just two months ago the negotiation process was heated. Union officials attended an April board of education meeting to speak about stalled negotiations and against what they saw as an unfair expectation for givebacks from their side. At the time, Casali had said the district would bring in a mediator to assist in the negotiations, but she met with the union one more time afterward and the two sides were able to come to an agreement without one.

 

 


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