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County still at odds with its largest union

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Negotiators for Monroe County and for its largest union are headed back to the table for more contract talks.

County and CSEA Unit 7400 officials agreed on a contract proposal in September, but the union's members recently rejected the deal by a 463 to 377 vote. The union has 1,700 members working in every area of the county, including the zoo, finance, and health.

"Let me be perfectly clear -- we are committed to reaching an agreement that is respectful to employees and taxpayers alike," unit president Jim D'Amico said in a statement.

The union plans to send members a survey to find out what they didn't like about the proposal, which included a "considerable" increase in what active and retired workers would pay toward health insurance, says Ove Overmyer, a union spokesperson. Union officials can use the feedback to guide them in the next round of negotiations, he says.

The last time CSEA members voted on a contract was 2012, when then-county executive Maggie Brooks was running for Congress. They approved a four-year agreement, but three of those years were retroactive and included no pay raises. The union has been working under an expired contract since the end of 2013.

"We are disappointed the union lost the membership vote, but the county remains committed to settlements that allow it to recruit and retain talented employees while respecting the fiscal challenges facing taxpayers," county spokesperson Brett Walsh said in a statement. "The County and CSEA will continue the negotiation process."

Only two of the county's eight unions – the Federation of Social Workers and the sheriff's road patrol deputies union – have contracts. The Sheriff's Office command staff union is voting now on a tentative agreement, and results of that ballot will be released on October 28.

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