Governor Andrew Cuomo has reached a deal with a group of corrections officer who have been working without a contract for a number of years. As Capital Tonight's Nick Reisman reports, this could be a sign the Governor is pressuring other groups to make deals before the budget deadline.
NEW YORK STATE -- A bargaining unit of about 1,600 law enforcement workers within the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association agreed to a tentative contract with Governor Andrew Cuomo. The three year deal includes retroactive pay raises for 2009 and 2010, pay freezes through 2013 and a two percent bump in the last two years.
“It was difficult times we faced, but both sides did it with respect. They deserve a lot of credit for identifying our members' needs and respecting the job they did for New York,” said NYSCOPBA President Donn Rowe.
But it was unusual for the Cuomo administration to highlight a contract agreement with a relatively small amount of workers. There's still more than 25,000 members of NYSCOPBA who continue to negotiate a new labor agreement. And members of the United University Professions and the State Police unions are also without a contract.
Rowe, the union's president, said last year's struggle over closing prison facilities hasn't impacted the negotiations.
“That's two separate issues,” Rowe said. “Certainly the prison closures are budget issues that were addressed last year and not in this year's budget.”
The administration has successfully sought concessions from the state's major public employee unions, including the two largest: The Civil Service Employees Association and the white-collar Public Employees Federation. In most cases, the contracts call for wage freezes and a greater employer contribution to health insurance.
“When the governor came into office, he said we would all have to work together to get through this fiscal crisis and get our state back on track. Families have had to make that sacrifice, small businesses have made that sacrifice,” said State Operations Director Howard Glaser.
The clock is ticking for Cuomo and remaining union contracts. Administration officials say they want new contracts in place by April 1, the start of the state's fiscal year.
Glaser said, “You know, we've worked very hard to try to resolve some of the past contract problems and get them back on track, to get all the unions up to speed and so we did so here and resolved a long-standing dispute.”