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Brothers and Sisters,

On February 6, 2009, our negotiating team, comprised of myself,
Vice President James Courson from DSS, Treasurer Pat Baker from
Clinton County Mental Health and Addiction Services, Susan Thew
from the Environmental Unit of the Public Health Department, Bernie
Bushey from Clinton Community College, Amy Ciolek from the Clinton
County Nursing Home and Judy Sipe from the Home Care Unit of the
Public Health Department, met with the county for the first time in
order to discuss the development of a new Collective Bargaining
Agreement. With us was our Labor Relation’s Specialist, Emy Pombrio
whose job is to assure that any agreement is within the purview of
Civil Service Law and to insure that the Membership is protected.
Representing the county during negotiations were Mike Zurlo, County
Administrator, Alan Gibson, Personnel Director and, acting as the
county’s labor specialist, Jackie Kelleher, Esquire from the Stafford
Law firm.

Both sides agreed that a wage proposal should be arrived at prior to
entering into the next phase of negotiations; Interest Based Bargaining.
Both sides agreed that general committees would be established to work on
issues generic to both sides and that these committees would be manned by
individuals from Labor and management that were on the “Executive Committee,”
the individuals at the table from both negotiating teams. Thereafter
individual committees would be established in those work places where it
was deemed necessary to review policy and procedures in an attempt to make
that workplace function more smoothly.

Mr. Zurlo then proceeded to list those issues the county felt were important:
Normal Work Week, Leave Time (specifically Vacation and Personal), Drug Testing
for County Employees, Union Leave Time and “GASBY,” an method accounting for
individual retirement benefits that is mandatory for the private sector as a
result of the Enron fiasco where, if you recall, large numbers of middle class
workers lost their entire pensions due to greed and theft on the part of upper
management. It is noted that this is not a mandatory issue at this time in the
public sector but may well be in the future. Mr. Zurlo indicated that these
issues would be discussed in length in the future. We did not present any issues
at this time but on February 12, 2009, the negotiating committee met to do so and
establish a survey that will be introduced to the Membership in the near future in
order to determine what issues are important to the rank and file. Two more
meetings were scheduled prior to the end of March in order to work on wages, discuss
the length of any new agreement, establish issues and develop committees that will be
assigned the task of working on those issues established as meaningful to both sides.

Regarding the issue of wages, we asked for a package that would assure an average
yearly wage increase of 3.2% for each year of the contract. Mr. Zurlo indicated that
the county was prepared to impart a wage increase of 2.5%, inferred that this increase
would be inclusive of the average increment (step) of 1.3% and stated that the county
was looking for a five year agreement. As all have access to this page, I do not want
to impart any direct figures until such time as they have been discussed at the table.
What I can say to you is that this initial wage offer is not one acceptable to those
individual with whom I have spoken and most have indicated that they do not want another
five year contract. I will keep you updated as things transpire and after the
negotiating committee has been given the information.

In Solidarity,
Joe Musso (Small)

Joseph F. Musso,
CSEA Local 884
    CSEA Local 884 (518)563-0761 
6 Booth Drive 
Plattsburgh, NY 12901