BUFFALO, NY-Erie County's largest employee union has said no to a new ten year contract deal much to the disappointment of their boss.
CSEA leaders reached a tentative agreement with the county last month, but when it came time to vote, the contract was overwhelmingly rejected 3 to 1 by the membership.
The union says among the biggest concerns were provisions to eliminate retiree health insurance coverage for new hires and those employees with fewer than 15 years of service. There was also a requirement to pay 15% of health insurance costs and a provision changing holidays and time off.
In a news release, CSEA Erie County Local President Joan Bender said, "We brought the tentative agreement reached in late July to our membership and they have spoken by voting 2,144 no votes to 706 yes votes, a three to one ratio. We will return to the negotiating table for discussions once again in good faith, balancing what is best for our members and their families."
County employees covered under the agreement had been working without a contract since December 31, 2006.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz released the following statement Thursday in response to the vote:
"I am disappointed that a majority of CSEA's voting membership rejected a contract that would have put more money in their pockets while asking for modest contributions to their health care plans. The contract that was presented was fair to CSEA members and to County residents, and was realistic in its assessment of the economic climate in Erie County. While CSEA has chosen not to move forward with a new contract at this time, Erie County will continue to negotiate with other unions whose members are a vital part of the County workforce."