Dunkirk, N.Y. (WKBW release) -- CSEA declared impasse in contract talks with Chatauqua County on Wednesday, following the county’s refusal of a deal that would have saved taxpayers close to $2 million over the life of the contract.
“For what we believe are purely political reasons, the county is giving up the opportunity to save $1.7 million over the next two years, plus additional savings that would come from changes to workers’ health insurance coverage,” CSEA Chautauqua County Unit President Rose Conti said in a news release. “We want residents to know that this union found ways to reduce costs and offer savings, but the county executive turned away a chance to save a significant amount of money.”
CSEA had proposed a two-year agreement that would have frozen employee wages and benefits at 2011 levels. The agreement also would have frozen employee step increases and longevity payments for two years.
The CSEA Chautauqua County Unit represents 1,000 county workers. The employees have been working without a contract since Dec. 31, 2011 when the previous 4-year agreement expired. The union’s negotiating team has been meeting with the county since August 2011.
The formal declaration of impasse by the union with the state Public Employees Relations Board will move the negotiating process to mediation, where a PERB-appointed neutral mediator will meet with both parties to try to hammer out a compromise agreement.
“Our members are the front-line workers that provide the needed services to the taxpayers and residents of Chautauqua County,” Conti said. “We recognize these are difficult times and we believe our proposal – with the near $2 million in savings – takes today’s economy into account. County workers deserve a fair contract and to be treated with respect.”