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NIFA opposes Nassau unions bill now in Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s hands

Nassau unions back a bill to allow workers to get step raises during a wage freeze. NIFA says the measure would undermine its authority.

Adam Barsky, NIFA chairman, opposes a state bill

Adam Barsky, NIFA chairman, opposes a state bill that would allow Nassau union workers to get step raises even when county wages are frozen. Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

ALBANY — Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has just days to decide the fate of a bill that pits Nassau public employee unions against the county’s financial control board in a fight over wage freezes.

Cuomo, a Democrat, has until Dec. 18 to sign or veto a measure that would allow union employees to continue receiving step raises — salary hikes based on time on the job — even when county wages are frozen.

The state Assembly and Senate approved the bill in the waning days of the regular legislative session in June. It was sponsored by Assemb. Earlene Hooper (D-Hempstead) and supported by police unions and the Civil Service Employees Association.

It is opposed by the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, which declared a financial emergency in 2011 and imposed a wage freeze that wasn’t lifted until 2014 for most employees. The freeze was estimated to have saved the county $230 million through the end of 2013.

Last spring, NIFA chairman Adam Barsky told lawmakers that exempting step raises from any future wage freeze would undermine the control board’s ability to manage Nassau’s finances.

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