NY Union Approves Contract to Avoid 3,500 Layoffs

Deal calls for no raises through 2013, then a 2 pct increase in 2014

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    NEWSLETTERS

    AP
    A New York State Public Employees Federation worker who was targeted for layoff speaks during a news conference in Latham, N.Y., after the union ratified a four-year contract with the state.

    New York's second largest state employee union agreed Thursday to a contract that includes concessions demanded by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and avoids nearly 3,500 layoffs.

    More than 70 percent of the Public Employees Federation rank-and-file voted to approve the tentative contract negotiated between its leaders and the Cuomo administration.

    The deal calls for no raises through 2013, followed by a 2 percent increase in 2014.

    Union members will also pay more for health insurance but could use vacation time to offset that added cost. Workers will be reimbursed for nine unpaid furlough days at the end of the contract.

    The decision heads off 3,496 job cuts ordered by Cuomo to contend with historic deficits.

    Union members had rejected a tentative contract early this fall.

    A key difference in this deal is that the Public Employees Federation will be able to negotiate a new contract in four years, when fiscal times may be better. That will be a year earlier than other unions.

    "Although this was a difficult decision for our members, it demonstrates they are willing to do their part to put New York state on a stable financial footing, as all New Yorkers should, and are helping to resolve a fiscal crisis for which they were not responsible," PEF President Ken Brynien said.

    Cuomo plans an afternoon news conference.

    Cuomo has already won concessions from other public worker unions including wage freezes, unpaid furloughs and higher health care contributions to save the state $450 million this year and avoid 9,800 layoffs.