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County, Professional Association OK New Contract

OSWEGO, NY – At Thursday’s legislature meeting, county lawmakers approved a new contract with the Oswego County Professional Association.

The association represents highly skilled position within Oswego County government including supervising public health nurses, highway and public health engineers, shift supervisors at the Energy Recovery Facility division directors at DSS, public information staff and other supervisory and administrative positions.

Union members had already agreed to the deal prior to the legislature meeting.

The new pact covers the years 2013 through 2017.

Under the new deal, which is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2013, members will not receive salary adjustments in 2013 or 2014.

In 2015, they will receive a one-time lump sum (not to increase the base salary or hourly rate) in the amount of $1,000 for full-time workers and $500 for part-timers.

Raises (2 percent) for union members will kick in for 2016 and 2017.

The Oswego County Professional Association has a long history of working with county administration to help reduce county expenses, according to Janet Clerkin, association president.

“As middle management, we are cognizant of the financial challenges that the legislature and administration are facing,” she added.

One of the issues the association raised with the county during the negotiating process was the fact that other employee bargaining units were receiving larger longevity increment (CSEA average of 3.2 percent every five years) than what OCPA members have received (1.5 percent every three years) since they started receiving longevity in 2000, the president said.

The OCPA took the position that a longevity increment should be an incentive to employees and that employees should be treated equally across the board.

“The county accepted our argument and agreed to adjust our longevity to bring it in line with other units,” Clerkin said following Thursday’s meeting. “Our health insurance, life insurance and prescription co-pays will remain the same through the length of the contract, which was very important to our members.”

New hires will accrue less sick leave and annual leave than current OCPA members and will be required to contribute more toward their health insurance plan, among other concessions.

“We hope that these concessions don’t affect the county’s ability to attract qualified applicants for any future positions,” Clerkin said.

“Our job, as the negotiating team, is to represent our members for the good of the whole, to the best of our ability. I want to thank our team members: Chris Baldwin, John Ferry, Nicole Kolmsee, Wayne Hanson, Mary Ellen Barbeau and Terry Bennett for their hard work over the past year to develop the best possible contract,” she continued. “We thank our fellow OCPS members for their support and professionalism and thank the legislature for approving this contract.”