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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 Wheatley School recently hosted an Item Writing Workshop for more than 100 language teachers representing districts across New York State.  The workshop was sponsored by the Foreign Language Association of Chairpersons and Supervisors (FLACS), the professional organization that has assumed responsibility for the creation and administration of the FLACS

Checkpoint A and B Exams (formerly the NYS Second Language Proficiency and Regents Exams).

Last year, the Mineola Fire Department initiated an Adopt-A-Hydrant program to offer residents and businesses an opportunity to enhance their fire protection by providing a simple service to the village, caring for a fire hydrant. The MFD is looking for adopters once again.


Sports

After consecutive seasons of finishing runner-up in the men’s golf Player of the Year for the Skyline Conference, Christian Bleck of St. Joseph’s took home first place in a rather unlikely turn of events. 

 

After a herniated disc caused the Chaminade High School alum to miss every event after the first week of the season until the conference tournament, Bleck returned—without even having the luxury of practicing a full 18 holes—and competed with the best players the conference has to offer. 

Cross-Country Crowned Champs

The Mineola Mustang boys cross-country team won the division 4A championship recently at Bethpage State Park.  This is the first championship for the program since 1974, ending a 40-year championship drought. 

 

Mineola defeated Seaford, who also entered the undefeated in division competition, 38-20.  Overcoming rain and high winds throughout the race, many Mustangs ran personal records for the 5K in route to the victory.


Calendar

Mineola School Meeting - November 20

Fools Rush In - November 21

Mustangs Face Roosevelt - November 22 


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