Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards is only looking for the same type of deal with the local CSEA workers that state Gov. Andrew Cuomo received last year.
To no one's surprise, that is too little for the union, which came to the table seeking 5 percent annual pay hikes.
"That deal was struck after Gov. Cuomo threatened to lay off 3,500 CSEA workers," Edwards said last week after an impasse was declared in the contract talks. "Even more interesting is the fact that at least three other state unions have agreed to contracts in the last two months with three zeros, furlough days, and increase contributions for health insurance. No one has alleged 'politics' in the state CSEA, but in this case, the local CSEA president is making just such a baseless allegation."
Edwards has not even threatened layoffs publicly, which Cuomo did. But Edwards - and county taxpayers - have every right to expect the same deal Albany received.
With the impasse, the Public Employee Relations Board will mediate the negotiations. In the past, the board has been very generous with the unions. With budget times being much tougher today, it will be interesting to see how mediations move forward.