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The 5% ask

February 13, 2012 - John D'Agostino
County workers, apparently, have a bone to pick with our newspaper.

Last week in two editorials, the OBSERVER made note of the Chautauqua County CSEA seeking a 5 percent annual increase in a new contract. This news came out after the CSEA declared an impasse in talks and asked a mediator to become involved.

In the meantime, the CSEA — in its press release announcing the impasse — said their most recent deal would have saved taxpayers $1.7 million over the next two years. What we do not know is if that savings comes from a lesser ask by the union than the 5 percent annually they began with.

By the way, that "5 percent" figure did not come from the CSEA. It came from County Executive Greg Edwards after the impasse was announced. "They wanted five years of 5 percent each year increases in their contract," he said on Feb. 4. "And they wanted more days off. They wanted an extra $1 an hour for what they call shift differentials, so if you work anything other than 9 to 5 you get an extra $1 an hour."

It should also be noted the "5 percent" has not been disputed by the union leaders, though it would seem as the 5 percent annually is nowhere close to what state workers have received in their sacrifice to get new contracts.

So what is the truth in these labor negotiations? Workers want more, county is offering less. Other than that, we have no idea.

It’s kind of like the whole Time Warner-MSG flap facing Buffalo Sabre fans. Who do you believe in those negotiations? One wants more, the other is offering less.

State employees know the drill after recent contract deals. Expect less during economic uncertainty.


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