December 11th, 2020
Monroe County Executive Adam Bello today announced he has reached an agreement with the Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) to increase pay rates of the lowest-paid county employees and bring the county into compliance with the state’s Minimum Wage Act of 2016.
“It’s unconscionable that while minimum wage standards have been raised across the state, essential Monroe County workers have been left behind,” said Bello. “I’m happy to announce that this county will move forward with starting our entry-level employees at a pay scale that matches the state standards.”
As a local government entity, Monroe County is not required to observe New York’s minimum wage laws. In the past, the county has instead chosen to follow the federal minimum wage scale, which has remained at $7.25 per hour since 2009.
“On behalf of CSEA Western Region, we would like to thank Monroe County Executive Adam Bello and his administrative team for recognizing the value of our essential work,” said Steve Healy, president of CSEA Western Region. “We are extremely pleased that our lower wage employees will receive a much-needed boost in income that they so desperately deserve. The proposed minimum wage increase is a necessary step in the right direction and one that will make it easier for many of our working families to meet their basic daily needs.”
In 2016, New York lawmakers passed an initiative that would increase the state minimum wage over a 5-year period to $12.50 per hour, except for New York City, Long Island and Westchester County, where the minimum will increase to $15 per hour. The $12.50 rate goes into effect statewide on January 1, 2021.
“County Executive Bello and his team are demonstrating what true leadership looks like. We have been saying for years we can’t retain the best and brightest workers because they haven’t received the support and resources they need to be successful. By honoring New York State minimum wage requirements, we believe this is ethically and morally the right thing to do. This is a perfect example of what we like to call economic justice in action,” said James D’Amico, CSEA President Monroe County Local 828, CSEA President of Monroe County Employees Unit 7400
The agreement between County Executive Bello and CSEA will affect about 300 employees at Monroe Community Hospital and other county departments, primarily working in food service, building maintenance and laundry service.
“We have relied heavily on this workforce to maintain standards and help keep our hospital residents safe during this pandemic,” said Bello. “They are a vital part of our county workforce and deserve a fair pay rate.”
Bello noted that the discrepancy between the federal minimum wage and the state level – a pay scale offered by retail, fast food and other employers – has left the county at competitive disadvantage when it comes to attracting and retaining qualified workers.
“When workers are given the tools and resources to succeed in work and in life, our community becomes stronger,” said Ove Overmyer, CSEA spokesperson for Western New York. “We hope the residents and taxpayers of Monroe County can make that connection. Also, we should not underestimate the value of how employee morale affects the delivery of services. There is no doubt when workers feel respected by earning better wages and when they have opportunities to advance a career, productivity booms and outcomes are more successful. CSEA thanks County Executive Adam Bello and his team for negotiating in good faith and being a stellar partner in sound labor management practices.”