Oyster Bay’s public sector union has delayed a vote on its contract that had been scheduled for Friday as negotiations continue, the union president said Tuesday.
“Negotiations are still going on,” said CSEA Local 881 president Jarvis Brown. Brown said the vote would happen after the town board’s Oct. 18 budget hearing but before its Nov. 15 vote on a final budget.
Supervisor John Venditto in August called for 150 layoffs to balance the proposed $284.1 million budget. The union has proposed salary cuts and other cost savings that have not been made public. The town has about 1,200 full-time employees.
A copy of an absentee ballot obtained by Newsday showed three options that workers would have voted on: The first was to “Save Every Members Job” and included a no-layoff clause; the second was for “150+ Layoffs. No job protection;” while a third option rejected the first two choices.
Brown said the ballot was sent to members through “human error” and did not contain an attachment with additional information about the options and did not reflect recent negotiations.
He said that a salary cut of 7 percent has been discussed but that an actual percentage has not been settled on. Cuts to health insurance and benefits for existing employees have been “pretty much removed” from negotiations, but the union and town have proposed that new employees pay for some of their health insurance costs, Brown said.
Venditto’s proposed budget assumes there will be layoffs.
“The supervisor’s tentative budget plans for the worst-case scenario, that there would be no contract,” Oyster Bay finance director Robert Darienzo said at the Sept. 27 town board meeting. “We’ve reduced full-time salaries by 10 percent in each and every department. The only way to achieve those savings would be to institute layoffs starting on Jan. 1.”
Under New York State’s Taylor Law, the provisions of a public union contract must remain in place “until a new agreement is negotiated.” While the current contract contains a no-layoff clause that is in effect through the life of the agreement, both Brown and Town Attorney Leonard Genova said the clause will expire with the contract on Dec. 31.
“All the terms of employment do continue, but not those things that have . . . sunset language,” Genova said.