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Village Responds To Grievance From Employees Union

Mineola: ‘We will abide by the contract’

The Mineola Village Board responded to a grievance made by the Mineola union reps from the United Public Service Employees Union (UPSEU). The union held that village employees wanted vacation time awarded in a calendar year (Jan. 1) rather than on each employee’s anniversary work date.

Mineola is currently in contract talks with village employees. The previous contract stipulations are still in effect, aligning with the Triborough Amendment in the Taylor Law. The law prohibits a public employer from changing any part of an expired labor agreement until a new one is reached.

According to village officials, the contract currently states that employees are supposed to attain vacation time awarded on their anniversary date, not Jan. 1. Therefore, officials said, the board is approving to abide by the details of the union contract.

Village Attorney John Spellman stated the union felt Mineola was in violation of the collective bargaining agreement, by “unilaterally changing vacation accrual, and the union demands that the Village of Mineola cease and desist this action and further demands that all affected members be made whole for all benefits lost as a result of this violation.”

The contract, according to Spellman, indicates the village cannot award vacation time based on an apparent “accounting practice error” that occurred, giving employees their vacation authorization on Jan. 1.

Mineola performed an audit and found the discrepancy and notified the UPSEU, a Ronkonkoma-based organization. The union did not return calls for comment.

The UPSEU could bring the issue to New York State’s Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) to attempt to force the village’s hand. Mineola officials have not received notice if the union will pursue the PERB option.

“We cannot award vacation before it is earned,” Spellman stated. “As a result, we are going to correct the situation and follow the terms of the contract, which provide that vacation is awarded on anniversary dates.”

The village’s decision rested on following what was agreed upon when the current union contract was ratified. Village officials told the union that any employee who feels wronged, should notify Mineola.

“For example, if a person booked a cruise, counting on that much accumulated time, we could move some sick time over temporarily until the vacation time is earned,” said Spellman.

The union in turn, filed the grievance and Mineola officials needed to decide if the charge had any merit. Village counsel recommended that they follow what’s been set in the agreement between the employees and Mineola.

“By awarding vacation time on an anniversary date, we would be abiding by the contract that is in agreement with the union,” Mineola Mayor Strauss stated.

Trustee Larry Werther revealed that to his knowledge, there are a number of factors that come into play. According to Werther, this error occurred before any current bookkeeping employees were working for Mineola. Furthermore, Werther said, “if a village entity gives vacation time before they’re entitled to it, it is a gift of taxpayer money that is not permitted.

“The unfortunate part is, if we find out there is something going on that is costing taxpayer money, if we don’t work to correct, then the board becomes personally liable for those monies,” Werther continued. “So by enforcing the rules of the contract, we’re doing what’s fair. A reasonable effort has and is being made to take care of any employees…if they were prejudiced in any way.”

News

The Mineola School Board will hold a public hearing on the much-debated New York State veterans exemption on Thursday, Nov. 6 at 6:30 p.m. in the Willis Avenue School. It is expected the board will either approve or disapprove the tax exemption during its regular meeting at 7 p.m.

When votes go to the polls next week on Tuesday, Nov. 4 to vote on the Town of North Hempstead’s 2nd Council District seat, candidate Bonnie Parente feels her stance on the building department is what voters will remember when casting their choice. The 2nd council district post is currently held by Peter Zuckerman, a former East Hills trustee. He was appointed to the seat in January to replace Thomas Dwyer, who resigned last year.

 

“That’s the major issue I heard about when I knocked on doors,” she said. “No matter where I am, I could be at the Herricks Community Center or the Albertson Pasta Dinner and

predominately what people ask about is how to fix the building department.”


Sports

Samantha Pastore

Samantha Pastore, senior and third-year varsity player, is also co-captain of the currently undefeated (11-0) Mineola Girls Varsity Volleyball team. She is an outside hitter and is often recognized in games by starting rallies with her quick thinking and nimble feet. She earns 20 percent of the team’s points and averages four aces per match.

The Mineola Mustangs varsity football team fell to the Seaford Vikings last week 27-21, missing their chance to tie the top seeds Locust Valley and Roosevelt’s 6-1 Nassau conference IV record.

 

After tying the game in the second half and having the opportunity to capitalize on Seaford’s failed extra-point kick on their final touchdown, the Viking’s senior wide receiver/defensive back Bobby Buell knocked away a pass from Mineola senior quarterback James Gerstner to senior wide receiver Brian Smith in the end-zone with 57 seconds left


Calendar

International Night - October 30

Halloween Parade - October 31

Cultural Arts Series - November 1 


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