CSEA members hope to get raise after almost 7 years

Posted: Updated:
WHITE PLAINS -

It’s been around seven years since the county workers in Westchester’s largest union have had a raise, and they are hoping that this is the year it will change.

CSEA’s past contract talks with former Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino never went anywhere. Union president Karen Pecora says her 3,000 members are still working on 2011 wages. She insists they don’t want to break the bank but that they deserve a raise.

“We're not looking to make a million dollars,” she says. “We're looking to make a livable wage. Some of our members make $40,000 and it’s difficult to live in Westchester and make $40,000 a year.”

VIDEO: Interviews on Westchester CSEA contract talks

The county had a $32 million deficit in 2017, and this year could be even worse

County auditors estimate a new contract with just a 1 percent raise could cost the cash-strapped county more than $60 million.

County Executive George Latimer says he didn't start the problem but that now he has to fix it.

“Politics got us into this mess, not playing politics is how you get out it,” he says.

The county executive says paying county workers back pay will take creativity and likely strain the county's rainy day fund.  He says he believes over time, he can get finances back in the black without large tax increases.

Neither side has put a timeline to a reach a deal. Union members say they go back to the negotiating table at the end of the month.

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