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CSEA: Should Nassau Living Wage Law cover part-timers too?

Nassau Comptroller George Maragos. (March 28, 2011)

Nassau Comptroller George Maragos. (March 28, 2011) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

The Civil Service Employees Association is asking Nassau Comptroller George Maragos to examine whether part-time and seasonal workers should be covered by Nassau's Living Wage Law.

CSEA Local 830, the county's largest public employee union, pointed to the law's requirement that county vendors pay their employees a minimum hourly rate plus a benefits supplement if no health insurance is provided.

The Living Wage is $14.91 an hour without benefits or $13.11 with health benefits. Payroll records show that 591 part-time and seasonal county employees are being paid $13.11 an hour, and do not receive health benefits. The CSEA said it wants Maragos to take another look at a legal opinion from 2007, during the administration of former County Executive Thomas Suozzi, that interpreted the law as exempting part-time and seasonal employees.

"Under this law, part-time workers should get the minimum wage and health benefits or else get an additional $1.80 an hour," said CSEA president Jerry Laricchiuta. "But the county says these workers are excluded from the law because they come under the union contract."

Maragos blamed the Suozzi administration for determining that part-time and seasonal employees "were exempt from the Living Wage Law and thus could be denied the same minimum wage rates as private employees working under county contracts."

Suozzi is running in the Democratic primary for county executive against businessman Adam Haber. Suozzi's campaign manager, Danny Kazin, said Maragos was trying to "deflect attention" from the county's fiscal problems.

Maragos said he has requested an updated opinion from county attorney John Ciampoli about whether part-time and seasonal employees should continue to be exempt.

Ciampoli said he had not yet received Maragos' request, "but we'll certainly look into it when we get it."


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