Oyster Bay board OKs union contract

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Oyster Bay officials Tuesday approved a reconstructed union contract that saves the debt-strapped town on salaries and averts about 200 layoffs, making official a deal negotiated over months.

Town board members, in a unanimous 7-0 vote, passed a memorandum of agreement to adjust the remainder of the Civil Service Employee Association Local 881 contract, freezing salaries next year, among other concessions, in exchange for a one-year contract extension and a no-layoff guarantee.

The resolution was added last-minute as a "walk-on" to yesterday's town board agenda, and the terms had been approved by union members in a 620-323 vote last Friday.

The union of about 1,100 represents more than 90 percent of the town's workers.

Next year, CSEA members are to forgo salary hikes, step increases and longevity pay in addition to taking a payroll lag of 25 rather than 26 paychecks.

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There is to be another lag in 2014, when members will receive a 2 percent raise with no step increase in January and a 2 percent raise with a step in July, rather than a 4 percent hike at the start of the year.

In 2015, members' raises will again be split, 2 percent in January with no step and 2 percent in July with a step. There will be no payroll lag.

In 2016, the year of the contract extension, members are to receive a 3 percent raise, according to town officials.

Union president Robert Rauff Jr. and town Supervisor John Venditto said they are relieved to avoid layoffs.

The town had been cutting jobs to help it out of a fiscal crisis that includes a $13 million shortfall this year and $754.2 million in overall debt as of May. It is expected to save $8 million in salary givebacks, according to a recent Standard & Poor's rating agency report.

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