Orange County reaches tentative contract

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GOSHEN — A series of marathon negotiations sessions yielded a tentative five-year contract agreement for the Orange County Unit that will now go to members for a vote.

Orange County Unit President Rosemarie Kukys and County Executive Steve Neuhaus, joined by both negotiating committees, held a ceremonial signing of the tentative agreement the day after Christmas, when Neuhaus was home on leave from a deployment with the U.S. Navy Reserves.

“We’re pleased to bring what we feel is a fair and equitable agreement back to our membership for a vote,” Kukys said. “The fact that we were able to come to an agreement quickly and without complications is a testament to work both CSEA and the county have put into building a stronger labor-management relationship.”

The tentative agreement includes wage increases each year, improvements to uniform allowances, and a provision ensuring workers begin receiving overtime pay as soon as they work the required number of hours in their workweek. That provision brings equity for members hired to work 35 hour or 37.5 hour workweeks, as both were previously required to work 40 hours before accruing overtime pay.

The deal also includes a slight increase in employee contributions toward health insurance premiums.
Unit leaders distributed copies of the tentative agreement to members before a series of contract information meetings scheduled for different county worksites.

Members will vote on the agreement via mail ballot, a process the American Arbitration Association is administering.

— Jessica Ladlee

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Jessica Ladlee

Jessica Ladlee is the communications specialist for CSEA's Southern Region. A graduate of Boston University, Ladlee is an award-winning journalist who worked as a newspaper editor before joining the CSEA communications team in 2004. She is passionate about the opportunities unions provide for people to join the middle class, something her grandmother did as a Rockland County CSEA member over 50 years ago.

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