It appears as if the CSEA wants to make a portion of its negotiations with Chautauqua County public.
During the Legislature meeting on Wednesday, union President David Fagerstrom told the governing body the county has rejected its proposal to freeze wages as well as step increases as part of a two-year deal.
"It appears to me ... that the union has made an attempt to correct part of the situation," county Legislator Keith Ahlstrom of Dunkirk said last week on WDOE-AM. "This agreement would have covered ... close to 1,000 members of the CSEA, not just the County Home workers, so the savings on it would have been substantial."
According to Fagerstrom, those savings would have been about $1.8 million.
Let us begin by applauding the CSEA for understanding the plight of the county and its economy. We are not growing - and industry here in many sectors is suffering.
Let us also applaud the union for reducing its demands, which began last year at this time with 5 percent annual wage increases. They have come down to no annual increase, which is admirable. But we still do not know the full details of the proposal.
Fagerstrom was outspoken in regard to what the CSEA is giving up, but what exactly is the union wanting in return? Would the county taxpayers pick up a larger tab in health-care benefits for the workers? Would the pension benefits be affected?
There are two sides in every negotiation. CSEA, which was not completely honest with its membership last year when it asked for 5 percent annual wage hike, has presented a portion of its side in Mayville.
If the county rejected those potential millions in savings, then there has to be a clause in the proposal that does not sit well with the other side. Is the CSEA ready to disclose that?