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Union, Town Reach Accord

Thu, 11/16/2023 - 11:24
Durell Godfrey

The East Hampton Town Board voted Tuesday to ratify a memorandum of agreement between the town and the Civil Service Employees Association covering Jan. 1, 2024, through Dec. 31, 2027.

Shortly after that vote, an announcement from Town Hall confirmed that the town and its union workers had ratified a new contract. Under it, C.S.E.A. members will see a $2,000 across-the-board increase to their base wages in 2024, on top of a $3,000 base wage hike implemented in 2023. In addition, the union members’ new base wages will increase by 4 percent annually in the first three years of the contract, and by 5 percent in 2027, its final year.

The new contract also calls for an increase in “longevity” payments made to employees who have served the town for five or more years. The payment at five years of service will increase to $2,500, from $1,700, with payments increasing by $500 every five years up to 30 years of employment.

Under the new contract, Juneteenth will be a holiday, and the Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve holidays, both half-days, will become full days off. In exchange, Good Friday will no longer be a holiday. The list of family members for whom employees are entitled to bereavement leave will be expanded to include stepparents and stepsiblings.

New contractual items regarding health insurance include reducing the waiting period for health insurance eligibility for new employees from 62 days to 30 days; offering an alternative, less expensive health insurance plan

along with the plan the town now offers through the New York State Health Insurance Program, and instituting a program that would allow employees to make use of accumulated sick leave to reduce the cost of their share, if any, of health insurance premiums after retiring.

Under the new contract, the town will have the right to implement an annual employee evaluation program, which could be used when considering employees for promotions or for merit pay. Eligibility for merit pay, which can be issued by the town board upon a department head’s recommendation, will be contingent upon a positive evaluation, as will continuance of previously granted merit pay.

Beginning in 2024, workers will have a 30-minute paid lunch period, although there will be no compensation for missed lunch periods.

The C.S.E.A. approved the contract last Thursday by a vote of 114 to 15.

“The new contract represents a very fair and reasonable agreement between the town and its union employees,” Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said in the town’s statement. “It was negotiated in good faith, by both sides, with the understanding that East Hampton needs to remain competitive in the local labor market in order to attract and retain staff. The contract acknowledges the work of our competent and highly professional employees and balances the town’s needs and challenges with our fiscal responsibility to our taxpayers.”

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