Newsday: Union leader wants NIFA to see the suffering

Date Posted: 
Jan 29, 2014

About 100 unionized correction officers packed the public meeting of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority Monday evening to show the county’s financial control board some of the workers who have been affected by a three-year-old wage freeze.

John Jaronczyk, president of the Nassau County Sheriff’s Correction Officers Benevolent Association, said he has 85 correction officers who have been frozen at an entry-level salary of $30,000 for more than three years. He said 150 of his 900 members have been frozen at salaries of $45,000 or less. “That’s tough to live on Long Island,” he said.

“Everyone wants to say county employees make too much money but the reality is, some are living at the poverty line,” Jaroncyzk said.

He said his members were respectful and weren’t there to protest. “We just wanted them [NIFA members] to see the faces of the people who have been frozen for four years. We wanted them to see the faces of the people who have been suffering.”

NIFA imposed the wage freeze in 2011 at the request of County Executive Edward Mangano who was looking to find ways to balance his budget. Officials estimate it has saved $230 million through 2013.

County elected officials gave raises to some 57 appointees last year, arguing the freeze only applies to union workers. NIFA and the unions disagree. Unions have proposed concessions to lift the freeze but no final deals have been reached.

“The ultimate goal was not to stop those raises,” Jaronczyk said of the appointee salary increases. “The ultimate goal is to tell NIFA and the county that this wage freeze is devastating to our members.”

By Celeste Hadrick, Newsday

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