Cuomo Settles First Union Contract With Prison Guards

Governor Andrew Cuomo has settled his first union contract with the prison guards union, which includes benefit and pay concessions.

Council 82, which represents corrections officers at state prisons as well as forest rangers, has agreed in its new contract to a wage freeze and the elimination of bonus monies for better job performance. Union members will also pay more for their health care. Contributions will be increased from 10 percent to 20 percent for individuals, and from 25 percent to 35 percent for families.

Cuomo is currently negotiating with the legislature over the closure of state prisons to reduce the system by 3,700 beds.

The new contract also places restriction on overtime pay.

Cuomo, in a statement, said he hopes the agreement serves as a model for upcoming contracts with the state's much larger state worker unions. He said if the other unions agree to the concessions, the state would save the targeted $450 million in savings without a need for thousands of lay offs.

The Public Employees Federation said the Council 82 settlement "in no way sets the ground work" for its eventual contract deal.

Spokeswoman Darcy Wells says PEF was offered a similar contract by the Cuomo Administration, but rejected it because it would impose an "unfair burden" and “long term hardships" on union members.