For SCCC staff left out of wage hikes, mediation a next step

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Four hundred blue-collar and white-collar union workers at Suffolk County Community College have gone without two years of raises that more than 6,000 other county union employees have received.

The college workers were not included in in a four-year deal between the county and the Association of Municipal Employees because when the deal was struck an outside union, the Civil Service Employees Association, was challenging for the right to bargain for college workers. That four year AME deal gave other county employees no increases in 2009 and 2010 but 2 percent wage hikes in 2011 and 2012.

The CSEA challenge involving white-collar workers was thrown out in January 2012, and the blue-collar employees voted to remain with AME last June.

While college officials favor a deal covering the affected workers and have money in their budget to pay for salary hikes, Suffolk County officials so far have balked at an agreement with college workers on the same terms. College officials also said the union has agreed to more concessions, allow a totally electronic payroll and altering holidays to meet college requirements.

Aides of Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone canceled a scheduled Dec. 13 meeting aimed at resolving the situation and frustrated AME officials on Jan. 3 sent a letter to the county declaring an impasse that will lead to mediation and perhaps factfinding.

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