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Greene Co. reaches tentative pact with county and highway local

Apr 26, 2019 2:00 pm
Sarah Trafton is reporting for Columbia-Greene Media the impasse in contract negotiations between Greene County and its highway employees may be over after more than four years. The contract between the American Federation of State, County and Municipality Employees and the county expired Dec. 31, 2014. A significant issue during negotiations has been health insurance. “It says in our contract for insurance, they have to provide us something equal to or ... better than what we have,” said Highway Local President Donald Maben. Greene County Administrator Shaun Groden denied that coverage is changing. Rather, he said, the introduction of deductibles is what is different. “What they save in premium costs nearly pays for the new deductible,” Groden said. A plan for two or more, which most employees would need, means paying out of pocket until they cover a $2,000 deductible, making it unaffordable, Maben said. “We haven’t had a raise in over a decade,” he said, adding the base salary for highway workers is $34,000. “There are 44 of us,” he said. “Our budget is $4 million out of $119 million. To raise our salaries by a couple of dollars, it would raise the budget by less than a quarter million.” The tentative settlement reached last week must now be ratified by the union membership and approved by the county legislature. AFSCME is one of the county's six unions. Read the full story at HudsonValley360 [dot] com.