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February 14th, 2013

CSEA rebuffs county call for impasse

GOSHEN – CSEA, New York’s Leading Union, today called Orange County Executive Ed Diana’s declaration of impasse in contract negotiations yet another stall tactic to sabotage the Valley View nursing home and called on Diana to agree to meet in marathon collective bargaining sessions to reach a contract agreement with CSEA.

The union planned to request marathon negotiations at the negotiations session scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 13, but county officials cancelled that session. That cancellation was the fifth time management has cancelled negotiations since the process began. CSEA officials are investigating legal options related to the county’s repeated cancellation of negotiations, including the possibility of filing a bad faith bargaining charge with the state Public Employment Relations Board (PERB).

“For awhile, we’ve suspected that the slow pace at which the county’s negotiators have been moving meant they’d been directed to run out the clock and make it impossible to find savings at Valley View in time for next year’s budget process. Today’s announcement of impasse validates our suspicions,” said CSEA Southern Region President Billy Riccaldo. “If the county executive has any respect for his constituents and the county workforce, he will agree to come to the table for as long as it takes to get this contract hammered out and avoid stalling with impasse. The county has yet to present any meaningful proposals pertaining to Valley View. They’ve come to the table with this bizarre approach where they expect the union to negotiate against itself, but that isn’t how negotiations work. There are also a myriad of issues impacting the entire workforce that have not been addressed.”

The previous CSEA collective bargaining agreement expired Dec. 31, 2011. Marathon sessions are traditionally used when both parties are wrapping up contract talks, but CSEA officials said that employing this practice could resolve the long list of issues related and unrelated to Valley View that must be resolved before the CSEA membership could vote on a tentative memorandum of agreement.

“The county executive’s press release announcing the CSEA proposals is another blow to his credibility, reminiscent of the taxpayer

funded antiValley View work of fiction he sent constituents last year. The $41 million proposal Diana suggested he was rejecting is about as accurate as the $19 million deficit he projected at Valley View,” said CSEA Orange County Unit President William Oliphant. “When we have managed to avoid the county canceling on us and meet as scheduled, we’ve been faced with the county negotiators coming unprepared to sessions, lacking the facts and figures needed to reach agreement on various proposals. We won’t apologize for bringing our initial proposals, as both sides must have a starting point in negotiations, but the county executive’s list of our proposals is inaccurate. The union has made offers of concessions. It’s unethical of Diana to mislead the public on this issue, especially with so much at stake.”

Oliphant noted that he e

mailed Orange County Attorney David Darwin yesterday afternoon, asking for the county to offer another negotiations date in a timely manner. Diana and other county officials were copied on that email.

“The county didn’t respond and instead issued a press release for impasse instead of returning to the table as requested by the union,” Oliphant said.

Riccaldo and Oliphant said marathon negotiations are unusual in this stage of negotiations, but that the same old, traditional progress is not working.

“The residents of Orange County need to see that progress is being made in our negotiations and we strongly believe that meeting for as long as we need to would allow us to accomplish that goal,” said Riccaldo.

“Today, we call on the county executive to put an end to his stall tactics. We’re ready, willing and able to meet for as long as necessary to reach an agreement.”

CSEA is the largest union representing Orange County employees.

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