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

82 Questions Hochul’s Pandemic Report Should Answer

This is the month when New Yorkers are due to finally receive an official report on the state's response to the Covid-19 pandemic, one of the deadliest disasters in state history. T Read More

How a Medicaid ‘Cut’ Could Lead to More Unionization of Home Care Aides

A money-saving maneuver in the newly enacted Medicaid budget could end up increasing costs in the long term – by paving the way for more unionization of the state's burgeoning home health workforce. Read More

Budget Deal Slows Medicaid Growth But Plants Seeds for Future Spending

The growth of New York's Medicaid spending is projected to slow but not stop as Governor Hochul and the Legislature effectively split their differences over health care in the newly enacted state budget. Read More

Albany’s New Health Insurance Tax Comes with Few Limits

The newly enacted state budget imposes a multibillion-dollar tax on health insurance without specifying who must pay how much – leaving those basic details to be decided later by the health commissioner in negotiation wit Read More

One of New York’s Biggest Medicaid Contractors Is Quietly Acquiring a Competitor

Author's note: This post has been updated to correct an error in the second paragraph. As state lawmakers debate the future of Medicaid home care, one of the program's bigg Read More

New York’s Home Health Workforce Jumped by 12 Percent in One Year

New York's home health workforce has continued its pattern of extraordinary growth, increasing by 62,000 jobs or 12 percent in a single year, according to newly released data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Read More

While New York’s Medicaid Budget Soared, Public Health Funding Languished

Four years after a devastating pandemic, the state has made no major investment to repair or improve its public health defenses. While funding for Medicaid over the past four years Read More

A Medicaid Grant Recipient Sponsors a Pro-Hochul Publicity Campaign

While much of the health-care industry is attacking Governor Hochul's Medicaid budget, at least one organization is rallying to her side: Somos Community Care, a politically active medical group in the Bronx that recently r Read More