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Jan 6, 2017 4:37 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Dispute Over Southampton Town Union Contracts To Continue Into New Year

Southampton Town Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor. JEN NEWMAN
Jan 10, 2017 12:35 PM

The leaders of Southampton Town’s largest employees’ union are expected to continue their contract battle with Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor, a decision that could end up costing the town thousands in legal fees and still might not be resolved before the accord expires at the end of 2017.

According to Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, the Civil Service Employees Association will appeal a court decision that determined that Mr. Gregor’s signature was required for contracts to be valid—but only ones affecting Highway Department workers. Of about 298 employees in the CSEA bargaining unit, approximately 59 work under Mr. Gregor.

The supervisor also said that, in all likelihood, a ruling on the appeal most likely will not be handed down before the union’s current four-year contract expires at the end of the year. “By the time this gets decided, the contract will probably be done,” he said.

Mr. Gregor did not return calls this week.

Union officials, meanwhile, said this week that they will continue the appeal process.

“We’re disappointed about the outcome, but will continue to try to work with Southampton officials to reach a mutually beneficial agreement,” said Wendi Bowie, a communications specialist for the Long Island region of the CSEA, when asked to comment on the court decision.

The dispute between the union and the superintendent began last summer after Mr. Gregor refused to sign a settlement between the town and the union to add 34 administrative titles to the existing union contract, approve raises for six positions, accelerate pay raise schedules for those employees and reduce health insurance contributions for some employees, among other adjustments. At the time he said he saw the settlement agreement as a “giveaway” that did not fairly represent taxpayers’ interests.

Last month, Mr. Schneiderman said all town workers had begun receiving the promised benefits of the settlement—with the exception of those in the Highway Department.

According to Southampton Town Attorney James Burke, Mr. Gregor spent approximately $23,000 last year on his legal fees, a figure that does not include costs incurred by the town.

Recently, Mr. Gregor submitted a request to the Town Board for an additional $20,000 to cover his anticipated legal fees for 2017, although Mr. Schneiderman said the town estimates that cost to be closer to $10,000.

“It is likely there will additional bills this year, unless he signs,” Mr. Schneiderman said at last week’s work session. “My understanding is the CSEA will drop the appeal if he signs. If he doesn’t sign, it goes on—and we’ll have to defend him.”

According to Mr. Schneiderman, last month Mr. Gregor offered a compromise: He requested permission to hire 10 additional part-time staffers for the winter months in exchange for him signing the agreement. The supervisor noted that Laura Smith, president of the town worker’s union, rejected the proposal.

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please tell me what's wrong with hiring part time workers for the winter season? Easthampton does it?
By jeffscan (17), sh on Jan 6, 17 7:26 PM
1 member liked this comment
Why even deal with the union at all? Set the pay and benefits, take it or leave it, after all it's our money.
By bigfresh (3387), north sea on Jan 6, 17 7:35 PM
1 member liked this comment
Because it's the law? There's a contact between the Town and the Union. When the contract expires, NYS law requires that the contract stipulations continue until a new contract is struck.
By Nature (2966), Southampton on Jan 6, 17 10:00 PM
Us idiots paying for these benefits have to pay for our own medical, and retirement. Im sick of these people retiring, and moving to Florida on our dime. Go Gregor!
By chief1 (2394), southampton on Jan 6, 17 7:51 PM
1 member liked this comment
I live in Florida and you are so right. All you poor victims are working like crazy to pay your taxes so civil servants can drive luxury vehicles, take cruises and live on the ocean. Many of them retire well before the age of 65 with fat pensions and paid for healthcare. There are so many other, hidden benefits too. Every tax payer needs to go to seethroughny.net and check out payrolls, pensions, and especially union contracts. The Bluepoint teachers contract includes a cosmetic surgery rider in ...more
By Babyboo (225), Hampton Bays on Jan 7, 17 7:07 AM
1 member liked this comment
Please do. I know a person been with highway for 7 years and is making 41,000 a year. So let me ask you can you afford to live on 41,000 a year as a single person. You people need to wake up. If you think this is why our taxes are crazy you are wrong. I just got my tax bill guess what takes up 80 percent of the bill. School. So once again worry about the big problems not little tiny ones. Don't take it out on the workers. Its the management part. I find it funny that Alex is sitting here not signing ...more
By turkeyloser (22), east quogue on Jan 10, 17 11:10 AM
Please remember it's not the worker bees that take care of your roads, beaches, building permits, shellfish licenses etc. IT's the guys that are in the position to self serve themselves like Len Marchese, Jay, Russell Kratoville and yes even Laura Smith. She got herself a raise last year but nobody else? The people who are paid the most like I mentioned aren't even in the union but they get the same health and pension benefits. They all make $125,000 plus with cars they can take home and don't ...more
By lirider (200), Hampton Bays on Jan 7, 17 7:34 AM
This is why Trump won. Goverment running rampant over the people it is suppose to take care of. Don't worry the joke will be on these people robbing the system.
By chief1 (2394), southampton on Jan 7, 17 10:02 AM
1 member liked this comment
Chief, only you chose your career path. We all had our choices. I chose mine also and it was with a utility as a union worker...
Hope you enjoy your choice of of jobs...
By knitter (1135), Southampton on Jan 7, 17 11:26 AM
2 members liked this comment
Ah yes, the union thug crowing about his low-skill job choice and bragging about his organization's effectiveness in fleecing the public. Don't worry, nothing lasts forever, and when you get the short end of the stick as you so richly deserve, don't cry. The public has no sympathy for unions any more.
By AngelaGomez-Caldone (16), on Jan 8, 17 4:34 PM
1 member liked this comment
Chief, only you chose your career path. We all had our choices. I chose mine also and it was with a utility as a union worker...
Hope you enjoy your choice of of jobs...
By knitter (1135), Southampton on Jan 7, 17 11:27 AM
1 member liked this comment
Why not just hire temporary workers from the men lined up looking for work in front of the donut shop in the strip mall on Main Street in Hampton Bays? I'm told they ask $20/hour, flat rate, no benefits.
By dfree (452), hampton bays on Jan 7, 17 2:59 PM
Why not just hire temporary workers from the men lined up looking for work in front of the donut shop in the strip mall on Main Street in Hampton Bays? I'm told they ask $20/hour, flat rate, no benefits.
By dfree (452), hampton bays on Jan 7, 17 2:59 PM
Go Alex!
By Draggerman (758), Southampton on Jan 7, 17 4:27 PM
Go back out on your boat you traitor.
By turkeyloser (22), east quogue on Jan 10, 17 11:14 AM
Jay wants to "reduce health insurance contributions for some employees"

Is he nuts? These health plans cost taxpayers 20 grand a pop. They should be paying MORE into it, like everywhere else.
By fire11 (276), east hampton on Jan 7, 17 6:31 PM
I thought he meant reduce what the town puts in?
By Rich Morey (315), East Hampton on Jan 9, 17 11:15 AM
I'm not saying the employees are not entitled to their benefits, but rather than spending so much on legal fees maybe they could put that money toward getting someone at Town Hall to answer the phone?
By Bayman1 (296), Sag Harbor on Jan 7, 17 9:32 PM
Why is it the town hires outside lawyers for everything.
Unions negotiate contracts with the town. Jay's trying to give extras for staff who are not union...
By knitter (1135), Southampton on Jan 8, 17 5:01 PM
1 member liked this comment
So instead of honoring the contract, Gregor is SPENDING THOUSANDS of taxpayer dollars to fight it?

Ever since Gregor took over services have diminished to the town. The problem is him, not the union employees.

By SamFreeman (4), Westhampton on Jan 8, 17 9:06 PM
1 member liked this comment
He's spending $10,000 to $20,000 to fight it, according to the City Hall source cited in the article. How about we ask our Town Officials: what will be the annual cost of granting these benefits to the employees that are not currently receiving them? My estimate is over $1 million annually but I would like to see the official amount estimated by current Town of Southampton finance officials.
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Jan 9, 17 3:26 PM
The problem is with unions in general.
By bigfresh (3387), north sea on Jan 8, 17 9:19 PM
Job choice? These municipal emplyees are holding a gun to our heads. Then you wonder why you can't afford to live here.
By chief1 (2394), southampton on Jan 8, 17 11:42 PM
1 member liked this comment
Whenever someone in political power at Town Hall wants to hire a friend they appoint them an administrative position ie. non union. They automatically get 4 weeks vacation instead of working 5 years to go from 2 to 3 weeks vacation. All benefits and don't have to worry about civil service rules. That's why you get abuse. Again, it's not the entry level guys doing the grunt work it's the non union appointees.
By lirider (200), Hampton Bays on Jan 9, 17 3:27 AM
That's is how it has always been and yes, it is not fair. Whenever finances for the town comes into play, the union employees salaries, benefits are to blame.
By Resident tax (111), Hampton bays ny on Jan 9, 17 12:02 PM
1 member liked this comment
Can you name some of these positions?
By But I'm a blank! (1277), Hampton Bays on Jan 17, 17 8:43 PM
Let me try to get this straight. Back in the summer, Alex Gregor refused to sign this agreement because he thought it was a "giveaway." (27east, 12/20/16, "Southampton Town Highway Superintendent Gives Lumps Of 'Coal' To Town Board Members").

By December, however, Mr. Gregor was prepared to sign if he could get the OK to hire ten part-time employees for the winter.

The proposed contract hadn't changed. Nothing had changed, except that now Alex Gregor's signature had been transmuted ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1806), Quiogue on Jan 10, 17 10:00 AM
I can't wait to read your posts when they say the exact opposite about Alex Gregor when he runs for re-election as a Democrat.
By Gillnetter (81), Hampton Bays on Jan 11, 17 8:40 AM
1 member liked this comment
Four points, Gill:

[1] Alex Gregor isn't a Democrat; he's an Independence party member who has never run "as a Democrat" but has had Democratic endorsement.

[2] We don't know if Alex Gregor is running again.

[3] If Mr. Gregor does run, we don't know if he'll have significant, or any, opposition.

[4] If Alex Gregor does run, he won't need help from my posts. You see, despite his chronic inability to play nicely with the other children, Mr. Gregor is very good ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1806), Quiogue on Jan 11, 17 4:38 PM
The issue seems simple: this is about total cost of government. For me, clearly any additional union wage workers will result in higher costs with the same or less level of service. This requires an explanation from the Town Board:. Why do you want higher costs for less service? They should be fighting for the citizens of this town not the part time employees.
By dfree (452), hampton bays on Jan 10, 17 10:14 AM
What's happening in the U.S.A. is phenomenal. For decades we "middle Americans" have been ruled by elite totalitarians on the east and west coasts. Through alternate media, we have been given a voice. Through the power of our Constitution we have taken over the reins and we're now steering our republic in a new direction. The elite globalists in New York government are in panic mode; however, their shrieking temper tantrums are irrelevant - we now control our own destinies. Representative government ...more
Jan 10, 17 8:06 PM appended by Undocumented Democrat
By Undocumented Democrat (1646), southampton on Jan 10, 17 8:06 PM
2 members liked this comment
The pension and benefits system has gotten out of hand and needs to be reeled in. When you take a job your taking the salary to live on, if you complain that the wage is to low, either work a second job and or not take the first one and find something that pays you what you think your worth. The accrual and cashing out of sick days. personal and vacation days, are a big part of the problem. Not the salary. Whopping golden buckets of cash when you leave. Use them or lose them they should be reset ...more
By North Sea Citizen (473), North Sea on Jan 14, 17 7:53 AM
2 members liked this comment
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