Thursday, May 24, 2012

Monroe County causes delay in contract talks with CSEA

ROCHESTER – CSEA will defend itself against an “improper practice” charge made by Monroe County during a hearing at 10 a.m. Thursday, May 24, in Rochester. The case will be heard by a Public Employment Relations Board administrative law judge.

In the charge, Monroe County alleges that CSEA has bargained in bad faith following the submission of fact-finding materials relating to contract talks.

“Once again, Monroe County has halted any possible progress toward reaching a collective bargaining agreement for CSEA County Unit members,” CSEA Western Region President Flo Tripi. “Simply put, enough is enough.”

The PERB hearing will focus on allegations that CSEA has added to its list of proposals too late in the game and submitted new items to the fact-finder. The county has not shared details of these alleged new items with the union.

“CSEA included no new proposals in its fact-finding materials. Everything included has been discussed during the last four years of negotiations,” CSEA Monroe County Unit President Cris Zaffuto. “The county’s charge against CSEA is simply a way for the county to cause yet another delay. If the issues truly had been improperly included in our report, the county simply needed to discuss it with the fact-finder.”

It will most likely be at least six months until a decision is made in Thursday’s case, and then appeals are possible. All told, the charge could delay any new contract for workers by at least another year. Members of the CSEA Monroe County Full-Time Unit have been working without a contract since the previous agreement expired in 2008.

CSEA has bargained in good faith throughout the process yet the county does whatever it can to choke progress,” Zaffuto said. “These allegations by the county are an insult to the CSEA negotiating team, and to the men and women working hard every day to serve the people of this county. It is time for the county to take a page from its own book and sit down with us for good faith negotiations.”

This is the latest in a long line of delays and stall tactics by the county against CSEA Monroe County Full-Time and Part-Time Unit members.

The county violated the Taylor Law in 2009 when it issued a survey to CSEA members in the CSEA Monroe County Part-Time Unit. That survey halted negotiations in the part-time unit until a hearing and subsequent appeals could be heard. Each legal decision came back the same: the county broke the law and acted inappropriately by issuing the survey.

In the Full-Time Unit, CSEA filed for “fact-finding” one year ago, after mediation failed. In fact-finding, both parties prepare a brief and present their case separately to a neutral, third-party fact-finder. The fact-finder then reviews the materials and issues a recommendation that both parties can either accept or reject.

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