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Suffolk guards offered lower-paying jobs

Suffolk lawmakers are weighing a $1.8-million plan to

Suffolk lawmakers are weighing a $1.8-million plan to amend Suffolk County Community College's budget so that tuition this fall will stay below $4,000. (Dec. 13, 2010) Credit: SCCC

Seven Suffolk County security guards scheduled for layoffs have taken lower-paying jobs at Suffolk County Community College, school officials said Wednesday.

Jeff Tempera, SCCC's director of human resources, said seven of nine guards who were offered jobs have accepted, and the school is waiting for final answers from two others. Tempera said that, if those guards refuse, the college may offer the jobs to other county security guards scheduled for layoffs.

The seven guards accepted jobs even as their union, the Association of Municipal Employees, is battling to preserve their old jobs in hearings before an arbitrator. Further testimony is expected Thursday and the arbitrator has agreed to rule by Sept. 24 on whether the union filed its grievance over the layoffs in timely fashion.

Even if the union succeeds on the time limits issue, a lengthy hearing process is still likely over whether Suffolk violated the contract by seeking to turn over security work to a private firm. If the union ultimately wins, the guards who move to the college would be eligible to return to their old higher-paying jobs, said Tempera.

In all about 30 guards were scheduled for layoffs, but have been allowed to remain in their jobs ending the arbitration. About half have retired to protect their medical benefits, officials said.

Fred Towle, a union spokesman, said each of the guards who have signed on at SCCC "made a choice on what was best for them and their families." He said the union will continue to fight to restore their former jobs.

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