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June 24, 2013

Largest Union in Nassau County Calls Living Wage Law, Established by the Suozzi-Weitzman Administration, "Hypocritical" and Threatens Legal Action

Mineola, NY- Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos received a notice from the President of the County’s largest union (CSEA local 830) indicating that the Living Wage policy, established under the Suozzi and Weitzman administration in 2007, is “hypocritical and potentially illegal.” Comptroller Maragos has asked for an updated legal opinion to determine if the affected part-time and seasonal employees deserve the Benefits Supplement Rate.

The CSEA pointed to the fact that the current Living Wage Law requires County vendors to pay their employees a minimum hourly rate plus a benefits supplement rate if no health insurance is provided.  Under the Suozzi-Weitzman Administration, however, the policy exempted County part-time and seasonal employees from the provision of the Living Wage Law due to the CSEA’s collective bargaining agreement.

As of August 1, 2012 the Living Wage is $14.91 an hour without benefits or $13.11 with health benefits. Payroll records show 591 County employees are currently paid $13.11 an hour and do not receive health benefits due to the legal opinion from 2007 that interprets the law as exempting part-time and seasonal County employees.

“The prior administration determined that County part-time and seasonal employees were exempt from the Living Wage Law and thus could be denied the same minimum wage rates as private employees working under County Contracts,” Comptroller Maragos said. “My office has the responsibility to enforce the Living Wage Law equitably by conducting periodic audits of vendors and I understand the CSEA concerns.”

In keeping with his commitment to ensure that the Living Wage Law is fairly enforced, Comptroller Maragos has requested an updated opinion from the current County Attorney as to whether the County part-time and seasonal employees should continue to be exempt.

Connect with Nassau County Comptroller Maragos Online:
http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/Comptroller/index.html

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