The still-unreleased deal between the Hochul Administration and the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA), state government’s largest group of unionized workers, would award bonuses, backpay, and guaranteed raises the next three years, documents sent to union members show.

The tentative agreement, which was negotiated behind closed doors, covers about 56,000 blue- and white-collar state employees in executive branch agencies, including SUNY. It calls for:

  • two 2-percent raises, retroactive to April 2021 and April 2022;
  • $3,000 bonus payable in April 2023 or upon retirement, whichever is sooner; and
  • guaranteed 3-percent raises in April 2023, April 2024, and April 2025 (in addition to seniority-based step increases).

CSEA endorsed Governor Hochul’s re-election while the deal was being negotiated, citing her goal of “growing the state workforce.”

State officials, representing the taxpayers, appear to have won a few small concessions. Copays for doctor office visits under the Empire Plan, the state’s main employee health insurance plan, will rise from $20 to $25.

The $1,500 longevity payments currently made to state employees in their 5th, 10th, and 15th years will instead be paid in their 12th, 17th and 22nd years beginning in 2025.

The results here, however, will be mixed: some workers could get a second longevity check sooner (while CSEA-repped employees who have only been on the job for a year will get their first longevity pay in 2033 instead of 2026). This is a typical outcome in union contracts, which tend to be negotiated by more senior members.

The deal also gives covered employees a thirteenth paid state holiday, Juneteenth.

Lawmakers must vote to approve specific parts of the deal that requires changes to state law by passing what’s known as a “pay bill”—though New York lawmakers have not rejected such a bill in recent history, if ever.

In a memo related to the pay bill, Hochul’s office estimated the first-year cost for the contract would be $220 million, though it’s not clear whether that would include the bonus payments.

The memo indicates Hochul has preserved at least some form of authority to postpone pay raises in a fiscal emergency, which Governor Cuomo exercised at the onset of the pandemic.

 

About the Author

Tim Hoefer

Tim Hoefer is president & CEO of the Empire Center for Public Policy.

Read more by Tim Hoefer

You may also like

State Budget Back in the Red

Historically large budgetary surpluses inherited by Governor Hochul are now just a memory with New York facing projected gaps of $13.7 Billion Read More

The dangers of Governor Hochul’s endless ’emergencies’

Last week, Governor Hochul extended one of her two pandemic-related emergency orders into its ninth month – an action so routine and non-urgent that her office issued no press release. Five days later, an expose in the Times Union showed why casually overusing emergency powers can be a bad idea. Read More

DiNapoli audit diagnoses the Health Department’s chronic conditions

A penetrating new audit of the Health Department's pandemic response makes clear that problems at the agency run much deeper than its misreporting of nursing home deaths. Read More

Answers needed on Governor Hochul’s health-care budget

The health-care agenda laid out by Governor Hochul in her budget proposal this week leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Here are a few of them. Read More

The State of the State Spending Spree

The State of the State is the prelude to Hochul’s state budget reveal. It’s a budget that represents a generational opportunity. Read More

Climate Act Accounting Overstates Benefit to New Yorkers

The Scoping Plan prepared by the Climate Action Council claims benefits of up to $430 billion from the Climate Act. Read More

Putting Governor Hochul’s $10 billion health-care ‘investment’ in context

In her State of the State address this week, Governor Hochul prominently called for a $10 billion "multi-year investment" in the state's health care system, including $4 billion earmarked for wages and bonuses, with a goal Read More

Hochul faces a test on health insurance costs

With judicious use of her veto pen this month, Governor Hochul could draw a line against spiraling health expenses for consumers and taxpayers. Several health insurance-related bill Read More

Subscribe

Sign up to receive updates about Empire Center research, news and events in your email.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Empire Center for Public Policy
30 South Pearl St.
Suite 1210
Albany, NY 12207

Phone: 518-434-3100

General Inquiries: Info@EmpireCenter.org

Press Inquiries: Press@EmpireCenter.org

About

The Empire Center is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank located in Albany, New York. Our mission is to make New York a better place to live and work by promoting public policy reforms grounded in free-market principles, personal responsibility, and the ideals of effective and accountable government.

Empire Center Logo Enjoying our work? Sign up for email alerts on our latest news and research.
Together, we can make New York a better place to live and work!