Bloomberg News

New York’s PEF Union Ratifies Four-Year Contract, Averts Layoffs

November 07, 2011

Nov. 3 (Bloomberg) -- New York’s second-biggest public union ratified a four-year contract with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration that freezes wages and saves thousands of jobs.

Members of the Public Employees Federation voted 27,718 to 11,645 to approve the deal, the union said in a statement sent by e-mail.

It was the second time the 55,000-member union voted on a new accord. In September, PEF rank-and-file rejected a five-year deal approved by union leadership, and Cuomo immediately began the process of firing almost 3,500 workers. After the four-year deal was negotiated by PEF leaders last month, Cuomo, a 53-year- old Democrat, said he’d hold off on the firings until tomorrow so the union would have time to revote.

The new agreement calls for no salary increases for three years, with a raise of 2 percent for 2014, the union said in an Oct. 17 statement. It also includes reimbursement for nine furlough days payable at the end of the agreement, the union said.

The PEF represents professional, scientific and technical employees. In August, the 66,000-member Civil Service Employees Association, the state’s biggest union, approved a five-year contract that, although a year longer, is similar to the deal PEF was offered.

Both accords are part of Cuomo’s effort to win labor acceptance of cost-cutting measures under the threat of dismissals. Cuomo gave the unions the choice as part of his fiscal 2012 budget, which includes $450 million in labor-cost savings and no new taxes.

--Editors: Mark Schoifet, Mark Tannenbaum

To contact the reporter on this story: Freeman Klopott in Albany, New York at fklopott@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net.


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