Labor deal saves 200 Oyster Bay Town jobs

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Oyster Bay Town employees on Friday overwhelmingly approved a new contract package to save 200 jobs from elimination.

The vote was 620-323 to accept the financially strapped town's offer of reduced pay in return for a no-layoff clause.

"The union is very happy," union president Robert Rauff said. "Our obligation is to save jobs and create more security, and I think we accomplished that. They stuck together and they looked at the big picture and they gave the town the help it needed."

Among concessions made by the union, workers will forgo salary hikes, step increases and longevity pay in addition to taking a payroll lag -- 25 instead of 26 checks -- in 2013. And 2014 will see a step increase but also another payroll lag and 2 percent raises in January and July, rather than a 4 percent hike at the start of the year.

The reconstructed contract approved by the 1,100-member Civil Service Employees Association Local 881 will be in effect until 2016.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

The measures are intended to cut expenses to rescue the town from a fiscal crisis that includes borrowing to cover a $13 million shortfall this year.

"We commend the leadership for striking the right balance and commend the workforce for doing the right thing for the town and its residents," town attorney and deputy superintendent Leonard Genova said.

About 90 employees retired earlier this year through an incentive program, but 200 layoffs or union concessions would have been necessary to cut costs, town officials said. The town is expected to save $10.5 million in salaries and benefits from the buyouts and $8 million in union salary givebacks, a Standard & Poor's credit ratings agency report showed last month.

A scheduled Nov. 5 union vote on a deal was postponed by superstorm Sandy. At meetings last fall, union members complained that they and their families were bearing the brunt of the town's financial problems.

You also may be interested in: