The Sheriff Officer's Association (ShOA), which represents the corrections officers of Nassau County, has been without a contract for over two years, with no meaningful negotiations and no end in sight. To try and obtain a contract for the 1,100 hard-working and dedicated Nassau County correction officers, ShOA has been trying to secure binding arbitration as a method to resolve our contract disputes with Nassau County.

To fully understand our need for binding arbitration, one must understand the bargaining history between Correction Officers and the County of Nassau. In August of 2000, ShOA negotiated a fair deal with then-County Executive Thomas Gulotta, only to have it rejected by the county legislature. One year later in August 2001, after being without a contract for almost four years, the legislature finally approved a contract. Upon the expiration of that contract, in September 2005 ShOA negotiated a fair deal in good faith with the Suozzi administration, only to have it rejected by the legislature. To our knowledge, in the history of contract negotiations in Nassau County, no other union has ever had a contract rejected by the legislature. This has now happened to correction officers twice.

Police and corrections unions from New York City, New York State, Westchester, Rockland and Suffolk counties have all been granted the option of using binding arbitration to resolve their contract disputes. Our organization is the only law enforcement bargaining unit in the region that does not have this option. Our union is simply seeking binding arbitration as means of contract dispute resolution.

While the Suozzi administration and ShOA will continue to disagree on important issues, we believe the time has come to establish a procedure to resolve these contract disputes without unnecessary rancor. Nassau County correction officers perform the toughest job in law enforcement. They deserve to be treated fairly, and they have earned the right to binding arbitration in order to secure a fair contract.

I ask that you please call your local legislator and majority leader Judith Jacobs to have this issue brought to a vote by the full legislature. Binding Arbitration is a fair and equitable procedure to resolve contract disputes for both the county and the union, ultimately resulting in cost savings for county taxpayers.

John Duer

President, Sheriff Officer's Association

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