President's Message

Longevity Agreement Fact Sheet

March 19, 2022

Dear COBA Members and Retirees;

See below a detailed Fact Sheet explaining not only the particulars of the Longevity Agreement but also a brief history of exactly how we got here since the Wage Freeze was first implemented back in 2011. I urge everyone to come to our informational meetings for a discussion of the issue and for answers to all questions and concerns.

Longevity Agreement Fact Sheet

·      Longevity has been the subject of contentious litigation dating back to the NIFA

Wage Freeze in 2011.

·      NIFA has stood in the way of any talks with Longevity because the monies aren’t

budgeted etc.  

·      NIFA Stood with Laura Curran to block any Longevity agreement since 2018.

NIFA only offered zero retro and .47 cents on the dollar 6 months ago.

·      The new County Administration (Blakeman) understands that to settle this

dispute, the monies have to be budgeted, not create a deficit and be structured to

satisfy NIFA requirements going forward.

·      We won our argument to proceed to Grievance Arbitration on Longevity and may

very well be successful in Arbitration. But, we also know that NIFA and the County

will appeal any win and we will be in State Courts for approx. 4-6 years fighting

appeals. This was the same road we went down with the NIFA Wage Freeze

lawsuit that took almost 10 years and ultimately failed for all County workers in

State and Federal Court.

·      Therefore, all 5 Nassau Unions, COBA, CSEA, PBA, SOA, DAI all banded

together and in a unified effort, along with the advice of all 5 sets of our Labor

Attorneys sought to find the best solution to this long overdue issue, in our best

efforts to make sure we could ultimately resolve Longevity as best we could, and

not lose in the end in a long drawn out legal battle that would be decided in the

New York State Court of Appeals under the purview of Judges who have

allegiances to County politics.

·      All 5 Nassau Unions met countless times, particularly over the past year with first

the Curran people, which proved fruitless. Then with the Blakeman team who

offered to bring the issue in front of a non binding Mediator to try and resolve.  

·      We mutually agreed upon former New York City Supervising Judge George Silver,

who came highly recommended by our sibling Union’s in the city, who stated he

was a very fair and impartial problem solver. His resume includes years of

resolving Grievances and Disciplinary cases in the New York City Court system

for uniformed and civilian personnel. Judge Silver worked with our Unions and the

County to formulate a resolution that will provide what we believe would restore as

much longevity as possible for our members, while also satisfying NIFA’s

budgetary constraints.

·      Newsday reports a few weeks ago stated that NIFA was unaware of any deal we

were working on, which is untrue. While NIFA was not in the room negotiating as

we have been doing with Contract Negotiations, talks were most assuredly done

with NIFA regarding Longevity. NIFA has not issued an opinion on this deal, but

the agreement is tailored to meet NIFA’s concerns. Should they attempt to block

this deal in any way, it would be purely political in nature, since the monies are

budgeted and accounted for.

·      What follows is the agreement that all 5 Nassau Unions believe is in the best

interests of our collective members. While not providing full restoration of

Longevity, it makes fiscal sense to all parties involved and puts money in our

members pockets.

1.)   Within 60 days of full ratification, the County shall pay current and former employees who were eligible for Longevity between 1/01/18 and 12/31/21 Fifty percent (50%) of the difference between the FULL value of longevity, as if the wage freeze in 2011 had never happened, and the amounts they actually received. This for all purposes related to wages impacted by longevity i.e. overtime, termination pay, and pension reporting.

2.)   Effective 1/01/22 a new Longevity schedule shall be implemented consisting of 72.22% of the dollar value rounded up to the nearest dollar for each step of the full value of the currently frozen chart.

3.)   Effective 1/01/23 the Longevity schedules for each union will be capped at 32 years for each employee. If you are already past the 32 year cap, you will be grandfathered in for that amount, new employees will be capped at 32 years.

4.)   All terms and conditions regarding the implementation of longevity shall continue as they existed prior to the wage freeze, including but not limited to, credit for prior years of service.

5.)   Within 60 days of full ratification, the County shall place $100 million dollars in a reserve fund solely for Longevity which shall be maintained until exhausted through the County’s four year Master Financial Plan that is approved by NIFA.

THE COUNTY REMAINS OBLIGATED TO PAY LONGEVITY PURSUANT TO THIS AGREEMENT, THROUGH THE TERMS OF ALL UNION CONTRACTS IN ANY STATUS QUO PERIOD UPON CONTRACT EXPIRATION.

6.)   This agreement would settle all claims, grievances related to the Longevity issue dating back to March 1st, 2011 and is subject to full ratification by the Union’s and the County Legislature.

7.)   Failure of one Union to ratify this agreement shall not invalidate the agreement for other Union’s that do ratify.

While this agreement does not make County employees whole, it also does not in any way, reflect the County and NIFA’s demands over these many years of contentious litigation. What it does do, is put money in our pockets, provide for future payments of same, and directs the budgeting of those payments.

Nothing is perfect. Nassau County has been an operational mess for years. That mismanagement caused the wage freeze and NIFA’s control of its finances. Nassau’s 5 Unions agree that this agreement is in the best interest of all employees in the County and we urge all of our members to ratify it.      

Thank you.

Brian Sullivan, COBA President

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