Village employees reject latest contract proposal

After months of negotiations and more than a year without a contract, Greenport CSEA members have rejected a proposal union leadership thought would be accepted by the rank and file.

A sticking point for the 23-member union was that the contract contained a provision affecting overtime pay. Overtime pay would still kick in after a worker completed the required 40-hour week, but if a worker used sick, personal or vacation time during that week, those days wouldn’t be considered part of the 40 hours.

Local union president Eileen Wingate said she doesn’t believe her membership to will budge on the issue.

“There won’t be a re-vote,” she said.

Ms. Wingate was surprised at the contract rejection because when she started to negotiate, members told her their priorities were to protect their health insurance and retirement benefits and to get salary increases.

“We did all of that,” Ms. Wingate said.

Ms. Wingate said many other other municipalities don’t count sick, personal and vacation days when calculating overtime pay.

Mayor David Nyce declined comment on the situation, explaining that he’s prohibited from talking about ongoing negotiations.

The union has been trying to resolve the impasse on the contract through mediation.

Both sides have insisted they are negotiating in good faith. Union members were silent about the negotiations until April when they staged a sit-in at a Village Board reorganization meeting, followed by a more vocal demand in June for village officials to return to the negotiating table.

The union also submitted a written statement to the Village Board last month arguing that 72 percent of its members were in revenue-generating positions, meaning their efforts enabled the village to gain money not solely from tax revenues.

The mayor responded, saying the village had put a very fair offer on the table and would continue to bargain in good faith to reach a mutually beneficia2011-07-26l agreement.

Ms. Wingate said at that time she had been trying to find common ground with Mr. Nyce.

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