Good Morning
Good Morning
Long IslandSuffolk

Mastic Beach, public employees union spar over layoffs

Mastic Beach Mayor Maura Spery outside her office

Mastic Beach Mayor Maura Spery outside her office on Aug. 2, 2016. Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

The union representing the public work force in Mastic Beach has refiled an unfair labor practice charge against the village in response to layoffs of some employees and a reduction of hours and the denial of health insurance to others.

In late May, Hempstead-based law firm Barnes, Iaccarino & Shepherd LLP filed the amended charge with the New York State Public Employment Relations Board on behalf of Union Local 342, which represents the unionized employees.

The labor relations board had deemed the original filing — which had been filed in early May — deficient.

In the new filing, the union alleges the village failed “to negotiate and bargain the impact of changes in the workforce with the union” and interfered “with the rights of employees.”

According to the documents filed with the relations board, the union said it wrote a letter to the village on April 22 demanding that both sides negotiate before the layoffs and reduced hours were enforced.

Both sides met six days later and village officials informed the union it had already decided on staff reductions, the filing states. At the beginning of May, Mastic Beach Village had 11 full-time employees and 20 part-time employees.

Then the village initiated reductions, shortening the work hours of six full-time employees to part-time, and laying off one full-time employee, according to the filing.

Eventually, eight full-time and five part-time union workers were laid off.

Reached by phone Monday, attorney Riccardo Iaccarino said he needed permission from the union to speak. Mastic Beach Mayor Maura Spery said in an interview that village employees should have been included in discussions about the workforce. She blamed the lack of communication on trustees Joseph Johnson and Anne Snyder.

“They didn’t reach out to the union because they didn’t believed the union existed,” Spery said.

Johnson, in a text message, said that the labor union did know about the proposed layoffs. He said Spery has brought the village to “financial ruin.”

In recent weeks Mastic Beach has hired three more full-time employees — none of whom are eligible for health benefits — bringing the total of full-time workers from three to six.

Latest Long Island News