Office of County Executive Steve McLaughlin
News Release: December 12, 2018
RENSSELAER COUNTY REACHES AGREEMENT WITH LARGEST UNION, WITH BOTH SIDES TERMING CONTRACT AS FAIR, EFFECTIVE AND FORWARD-THINKING
The largest union for Rensselaer County employees has a new contract, following approval by members and a unanimous vote by the County Legislature this week, County Executive Steve McLaughlin announced with legislative officials and union leaders.
McLaughlin said he is happy with the approval of the new contract with United Public Service Employees Union, saying the agreement will protect county taxpayers and needed county services, while encouraging future efficiencies and strength in the coming years.
“We are proud to have efficiently reached agreement on an important agreement with the county’s largest union. The new contract is fair for taxpayers and employees and will enable Rensselaer County to continue on our mission of providing the best possible service at a cost our residents can afford,” said McLaughlin.
The contract is also notable in that it is the first major county union contract to be approved before the end of the current contract, helping avoid costs for retro pay and lengthy negotiations. The agreement is reached in the first year of McLaughlin’s term of service as County Executive.
“It is also a positive that this contract is resolved before the Christmas holidays and the end of the current contract, so there is no uncertainty facing the county or employees,” added McLaughlin.
“We are pleased that a fair agreement could be reached before the expiration of the existing contract. We believe the agreement is fair for the dedicated county employees who provide valuable services to county residents and taxpayers each and every day,” said UPSEU President Kevin E. Boyle Jr.
The agreement will span four years, including 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022. Under the contract, employees are eligible to receive raises of 1.75 percent, and slightly more in later years. UPSEU includes approximately employees, with some cost savings in its implementation.
The Legislature approved the new contract by an 18-0 vote at the December 11 legislative meeting.
“We are glad we are able to resolve this before the end of the current contract. It allows us to budget appropriately for years into the future. This is the first time in a long time that we have had a contract resolved in such a timely manner,” said Chair of the Legislature Mike Stammel.
“I appreciate the time and effort the employee union and the County Executive’s team put into finalizing this contract. It is good to see a positive outcome for our employees and taxpayers, while being fair and equitable to everyone,” said Vice Chair of the Legislature Kelly Hoffman.
Employees in some areas of county government are also eligible to receive expanded stipend benefits and some shift differential adjustments, along with recruitment incentives. The contract also creates new avenues to streamline the grievance process.
Along with the efficient approval of the contract, McLaughlin this month also saw unanimous approval of his first budget as County Executive. The 2019 county budget includes no tax increase, is the eight consecutive county budget under the tax cap, maintains needed services and protects the county’s strong financial ratings to help encourage new investment and job creation.
The solid 2019 budget followed McLaughlin announcing cost-savings of over $1 million in personnel, purchasing and health benefits, all while maintaining or expanding needed county services.
For more information regarding this press release, call County Director of Operations Richard Crist, 518-270-2955 or 518-928-1920.