The lack of a final contract for Oyster Bay’s public sector union four months after it was agreed upon has become an issue in upcoming union elections and an ongoing federal lawsuit.
Town officials said it should be completed by the end of the month and Jarvis Brown, the current president of Civil Service Employees Association Local 881, said that nothing had changed since the union ratified the agreement on Jan. 5.
Keith Wilson, a labor supervisor in the town clerk’s office who is running for local union president, said the new contract should have been posted online already.
“That’s a credibility issue with the current administration in the union; that needs to do better,” Wilson said. “At least get it up on the website so that people can look at it.”
Brown, who declined to speak about the union election scheduled for May 19, said he’s seen the final version of the contract and it is now with the town attorney’s office.
“There’s nothing on our part that we haven’t done,” Brown said. “They’re doing their part. They’re doing their due diligence.”
Town officials said the contract’s language is still being finalized.
“That document is being drafted,” Deputy Supervisor Gregory Carman said. “It’s supposed to be completed and reviewed by both sides as reflecting the terms that were agreed to when the union members voted on it.”
Svetlana Sobel, a Syosset-based attorney representing more than 70 sanitation workers seeking to nullify the contract, said the fact it hasn’t been finalized bolsters their case that the Jan. 5 vote to ratify it was improper and the old contract is actually still in effect.
“People have to vote on a contract they haven’t seen and the town ratified a contract that they haven’t seen,” Sobel said.
The lawsuit, filed in January in U.S. Eastern District Court in Central Islip against the union and the town, alleges that sanitation workers weren’t properly represented in negotiations because they alone among town employees received effective pay cuts as high as 22 percent when “productivity” payments, a form of overtime guaranteed in the old contract, were eliminated in the new contract.
The union is seeking to dismiss the suit and the town has been granted additional time to respond.