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Babylon Village union says it is pursuing labor complaint

Babylon Village Hall in a 2011 file photo.

Babylon Village Hall in a 2011 file photo. Credit: T.C. McCarthy

The union representing Babylon Village's blue-collar municipal employees says it has filed a complaint with the Public Employment Relations Board against the village for failing to sign a negotiated contract.

The state board resolves unfair labor practice complaints and arbitrates disputes between public employee unions and municipalities.

Members of the Civil Service Employees Association Local 1000 said they mailed the complaint Monday. A spokesman for the employment relations board said Tuesday it had not yet received the complaint.

The union, which represents about 20 municipal employees in Babylon Village, first alleged in November that the village violated labor law by making numerous changes to the contract's language dealing with worker pay, benefits and hours after both sides had already ratified a document known as a memorandum of agreement that authorized only three relatively minor changes.

"For many years, the Village of Babylon has basically done what they want to do. . . . That's not acceptable anymore," said Jay Diaz, a union labor relations specialist with Local 1000. "We're not going to be walked on all over by them."

Village Mayor Ralph Scordino and village attorney Joel Sikowitz could not be reached for comment Tuesday. In late November they called the union's claims "bogus" and "ridiculous."

Diaz said that as late as last week, Sikowitz was still insisting on a dozen changes to the contract that union negotiators had never agreed upon.

One change would eliminate a two-week time limit for nonunion temporary workers hired after a weather emergency, Diaz said. Without that limit, those workers could stay on the payroll indefinitely and would supplant union workers, he said.

Another change would give the village the right to change medical, dental and vision insurance without consulting the union, Diaz said.

The relationship between village officials and the union has deteriorated since the early fall, when both sides said they were near a final agreement and happy with a deal that would have provided modest wage increases over the next four years for union employees. A new contract would have been retroactive to May 31, 2014, when the previous contract expired.

In the interim, grievances between the union and the village appear to have worsened. On Tuesday, Diaz said that union workers were upset about not receiving cash awards they said the village promised after superstorm Sandy.

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