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More than 1,100 nonjudicial employees of the New York Office of Court Administration will see their wages frozen when court employees’ new contracts with the state go into effect. Michael J. Sigault, president of the New York State Court Clerks Association, said he expects his members to ratify his union’s tentative agreement with the state when members’ ballots are counted Wednesday. If approved, the union would become the 12th and last bargaining unit representing court employees to approve a new contract. Though provisions vary according to the location of the nonjudicial employees and their job titles, all the contracts provide for a 3 percent raise retroactive to April 1, 2007, and another 3 percent increase retroactive to April 1, 2008. The contracts also call for a 3 percent raise on April 1, 2009, and a 4 percent raise on April 1, 2010. The contracts also require that the salaries of nonjudicial court workers making $115,000 or more be frozen until the governor and the Legislature grant state judges their first raise since 1999. If no judicial raises are forthcoming during the life of the contracts, which run through March 31, 2011, the nonjudicial employees would get all the pay that has been withheld due to the salary cap. Lawrence K. Marks, OCA’s administrative director, estimated that once the new salary levels are calculated, it will take the state comptroller until September to write the first checks reflecting the retroactive pay and new salary levels. New York Gov. David A. Paterson has signed a bill approved by the Legislature in the final hours of its regular 2008 session, A11415/S8311, authorizing OCA to implement the labor agreements with its unions. Once the pay raises go into effect, Marks said 1,160 nonjudicial employees represented by unions will be at the $115,000-a-year salary level or above and will have their pay capped pending a judicial pay increase. The courts have about 15,600 nonjudicial employees. In addition, 352 OCA employees who are not represented by unions will make $115,000 a year or more if the OCA extends the raises to them, as the office typically does when entering into new contracts with its unionized employees, according to Marks. The office will impose the salary cap requirement on its nonrepresented workers, he said. OCA insisted on the cap in deference to state court judges’ continuing frustration at the failure of the Legislature and governor to grant them pay raises. Assembly Democrats have balked at approving a judicial pay raise without one for state lawmakers, who also are in their ninth year without an increase. Sigault said the “best I could offer” his members whose salaries are at or will reach the $115,000 level was to get the portion of their pay that is withheld back in 2011 if the judicial pay impasse continues. “They are not happy,” Sigault said of the approximately 50 Court Clerks Association members who would be affected by the pay cap provision. “They don’t feel there should be a tie-in with the judges,” he said. Still, considering the state of the economy and New York’s shaky finances, Sigault said the contract his union reached with OCA is a strong one for his 1,700 members. “I think considering the circumstances and the forecast for the future, we have done very well,” he said. The largest bargaining unit representing OCA employees, the Civil Service Employees Association, ratified its contract 2,876-to-114 in a vote that was counted June 25. CSEA officials said the salary cap will affect about 350 of their 6,000 members. The contracts also provide for raises calculated on a monetary instead of a percentage basis, whichever is more advantageous to employees. For instance, workers will get a 3 percent raise or $950, whichever is greater, retroactive to April 1, 2007. For the April 1, 2008, increase, workers would get $975 if it is greater than a 3 percent pay increase; on April 1, 2009, workers would get $1,000 if it is greater than the scheduled 3 percent hike and, on April 1, 2010, $1,025 if is greater than the 4 percent increase. The contract also provides for annual bonuses ranging from $1,800 to $2,100 for employees with more than 20 years of service in the courts, to be paid on April 1, 2008, April 1, 2009, and April 1, 2010.

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