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Governor Cuomo and Public Employees Federation reach tentative agreement

By Associated Press

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the union representing state workers have reached a tentative agreement that could avoid close to 3,500 layoffs.

The New York State Public Employees Federation says the agreement will be presented to the union's executive board on Monday. If approved, it will go out to the membership for a vote.

The two sides have been racing against an October 19 deadline for layoffs to begin statewide. The union said if the executive board approves the contract, the layoff date will be pushed back to November 4 to allow enough time for the membership vote.

The tentative agreement is for a four-year contract. The union membership voted against another tentative agreement in September.

Cuomo has said union concessions are needed to deal with the state's deficits.

“The changes we were able to obtain under this revised agreement address many of the concerns raised by our members," said PEF President Ken Brynien. If the agreement is approved by our executive board and ratified by the full membership the jobs of 3,496 members will be saved.”

"The Administration has worked very hard with the PEF leadership to make modifications which the leadership believes will address the concerns of the membership. The contract modifications are revenue neutral to the state and achieve the same level of savings as the first proposal. The allocation of these costs among different elements of the contract have been shifted. For example, there are fewer unpaid furlough days but the cash payment has also been reduced. The layoff provisions are the same as originally proposed and the same as in other union contracts already ratified," said Governor Cuomo in a released statement. "We hope that the leadership as a whole moves for a revote and the membership is governed by the needs of the collective and ratify the contract. I am confident that my Administration has been more than reasonable and fair, as CSEA's ratification demonstrates. Simply put, the fate of the members is in the union's hands. It's up to them."

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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