The United Public Service Employees Union (UPSEU) represents Rockland County Highway Department employees. The union wants language changes in the proposed contract with the county and turned down the plan to have its members defer 10 days of pay until December 2014.
Contracts with that provision have already been approved by the Doctor’s Council and Rockland Association of Management in September.
“The union rejected the county’s ‘take it or leave it’ proposal, and was met with threats of which will have a devastating impact on public safety during the upcoming snow and season as well as other difficult weather conditions,” said UPSEU President Kevin Boyle Jr. “The events of the past few days only heighten the need to ensure a strong highway department.”
Boyle referred to some legislators’ concerns about the county’s ability to pay the deferred wages and claimed the no layoff policy in the contract agreed to by other unions has already been violated.
“The union and its members have concerns about giving a loan to the county, which the 10-day pay deferral represents,” said Boyle.
He noted the six layoffs would bring the number of county highway workers to the lowest level in the department’s history, which would jeopardize public safety. The union has asked the county to return to the bargaining table.