Balloting for county union
3-year contract ends today

Members of Oneida County’s Blue Collar bargaining unit ends voting today on a tentative three-year contract.

On-site balloting began Monday. Results will likely be known Wednesday.

The Blue Collar Unit represents 156 employees at the Public Works and Water Pollution Control departments, and at Mohawk Valley Community College. Their last contract ran out Dec. 31. 2010.

Provisions of the tentative proposal include a 1 percent raise next year for workers on the salary schedule and 2.5 percent for those already at the top of the schedule. The agreement gives up automatic step movement based on tenure for any employees in 2013.

The proposal was accepted in April by the negotiating teams for the county and United Public Service Employees Union.

Blue Collar Unit members on the salary schedule already received step movement increases for 2011 and this year. New York’s "Triborough Amendment" requires public employers to maintain contractual terms for unionized public employees, including automatic step increases in pay, after the expiration of a bargaining agreement.

Under the proposed agreement, employees already at the top of the salary schedule, and therefore not eligible for step movement, would get a 2 percent raise for this year and no increase retroactive to 2011.

The terms are identical to an offer narrowly approved by the county White Collar Unit bargaining group a week ago. The vote was 254 in favor and 221 opposed, or 53 percent to 47 percent. The White Collar Unit also is represented by the UPSEU and has 661 members, making it the largest bargaining group of county employees.