Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state's largest public workers' union agreed to five-year deal late last night which includes union concessions such as a pay freeze and high insurance costs, but the deal also avoids big layoffs. The NY Times says CSEA's cooperation was "a begrudging acknowledgment of the increasingly hostile mood toward public workers" and the NY Post reports, "It's a victory for Gov. Cuomo, who had threatened thousands of layoffs if the CSEA rank-and-file rejected the contract he had negotiated with union leaders."
The contract has a three-year pay freeze, and then 2% cost-of-living raises for the last two years. There are also five unpaid furlough days in 2011 and four unpaid furlough days in 2012. Lower-paid CSEA members will have to pay 2% more for their health insurance while higher-paid ones will have to pay 6% more. According to the Times Union, the deal was announced "after daylong hand count of some 30,000 mailed paper ballots conducted at an undisclosed location in Troy. No vote count was immediately available, but a spokesman said the vote was roughly 60 percent in favor and 40 percent opposed."
CSEA represents about 66,000 workers. Its president, Danny Donohue, said, "These are not ordinary times and CSEA worked hard to reach an agreement that we believed would be in everyone's best interest." And Cuomo said, "This is a big, big win -- a win for the union and a win for the people of the state."