The new contract signed between the Town of North Hempstead and its civil service employees recognizes the realities of new marriage arrangements and the increasing cost of health insurance.
Supervisor Judi Bosworth and Town Board members announced that the town approved a collective bargaining agreement to run from Jan. 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2022. Workers had been operating under the old contract, whose term ran from Jan. 1, 2012 through Dec. 31, 2016. The approximately 345 employees on the town payroll, members of the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) Unit 7555, recently voted in favor of the contract.
The agreement will require new employees to contribute 25 percent towards medical and dental insurance (up from 18 percent in the previous contract). In the section dealing with bereavement policy, the phrase “husband and wife” has been changed to “spouse or domestic partner.”
“The new contract reflects the numerous hours spent by my senior staff and our union leadership in order to present a fair agreement that serves our union employees well and protects our taxpayers,” said Bosworth in a statement. “I believe that the contract will also allow for more flexibility in scheduling for our department heads and our employees.”
CSEA Long Island Region President Nick LaMorte said in a statement, “The CSEA is proud to support the contract ratification with the Town of North Hempstead and the CSEA members who work there. I think it is a very fair and equitable agreement for the town, its residents and the CSEA members who provide these services.”
According to a press release, under the terms of the new contract, the town’s unionized employees will receive the following compensation:
• 2017: a 1.5 percent one-time payment that will not be added to the employee’s base pay
• 2018: a 1.75 percent increase
• 2019: a 1.5 percent, one-time payment similar to 2017
• 2020: a 1.75 percent increase
• 2021: a 2 percent increase
• 2022: a 2 percent increase
New employees will be eligible to work new work shifts to allow for more flexibility in town departments. New employees will also accrue two less vacation days each year, which will result in a cost savings for the town.
As per negotiating policy, both Bosworth and LaMorte declined to comment on the details of negotiations. The agreement was reached after the town adopted its 208 budget, but according a town spokesperson, no major changes to the budget numbers are expected because of the new agreement.
The town will hold a public hearing on Dec. 6 at 10 a.m. to change its tax code regarding the property tax exemption for Cold War veterans (serving Sept. 2, 1945 to Dec. 26, 1991). This reflects what seems to be in the offing in the New York State Legislature. During the current state legislative session, a bill that extends the 10-year limit of those exemptions is making its way through the process and has already cleared the Senate.
Now the town hopes to extend the exemption so that it covers the property as long as the qualifying veteran remains a qualifying owner. According to a town spokesperson, current and future exemptions (amounting to 15 percent of a property’s assessed value, with qualifications and restrictions) “have a small impact because there are not a lot of these exemptions town wide.”