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Oyster Bay and union set Wednesday for contract vote

The Town of Oyster Bay officials and union negotiators added a fifth year and a promise not to privatize services to a revised contract proposal scheduled for a vote Wednesday.

Last month, the members of the Civil Service Employees Association Local 881 defeated an earlier proposal in a 427-417 vote.

Local CSEA president Jarvis Brown declined to comment on the new proposal, saying that the details were available in a fact sheet posted on the union’s website.

“This secures the future of most employees for five years,” Councilman Joseph Muscarella said. “They are giving something up early in the contract to get something back in return at the end.”

After the union vote last month, town officials announced they would look at privatizing garbage pickup and recycling.

The new proposal would keep a 2 percent pay cut that would run for 2017 and 2018, as well as a no-layoff clause that was included in the defeated version. Salaries would be restored in 2019 to 2016 levels and yearly raises of a minimum of 1.9 percent would take effect in 2020 and 2021.

Two union workers, who asked not to be identified, said Monday that the revised proposal was not substantially different from the one that members rejected.

While union jobs would not be cut, the revised proposal calls for the elimination of all part-time, nonunion jobs among bay constables, public safety officers and sanitation workers for two years. In 2015 the town paid 70 people in those positions a total of $730,065, town records show.

The proposal includes a two-year hiring freeze and would reduce benefits for future employees: New employees would begin making contributions to their health insurance.

The CSEA’s contract expired on Dec. 31. Under New York’s Public Employees Fair Employment Act, known as the Taylor Law, the terms of the past contract will remain in place while the new one is negotiated.

Brown and town officials have said a no-layoff clause in that contract expired, but Newsday previously reported that legal experts said the clause would remain in place under the Taylor Law.

The revised proposal explicitly states that the no-layoff clause would expire at the end of 2021, language that Muscarella said was intended to eliminate any ambiguity about its term.

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