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State, correction officers’ union reach contract deal

New York state has reached a tentative five-year contract agreement with the union representing more than 20,000 workers who secure prisons, mental hygiene facilities and other such institutions.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association President Michael Powers announced the proposal Thursday. It must be ratified by the full NYSCOPBA membership.

The deal would provide a 2 percent wage increase each year from 2016 to 2020. It also would add co-pays and reduce premiums in the workers’ health insurance plans, saving the state about $35 million, and would save another $35 million on overtime pay.

The deal also would include a redesigned discipline process in which a three-part panel would hear abuse and neglect cases involving inmates and other wards of the state, and a table of penalties covering serious misconduct.

Meanwhile, a joint committee would review and evaluate the workers compensation process and improve administration of claims, the governor’s office said.

Some work locations and hazardous duties would merit greater compensation for workers under the deal.

“This agreement fairly compensates the hard-working men and women who help keep our facilities safe, while at the same time provides the state the ability to appropriately discipline those that engage in the most serious misconduct,” Cuomo said in a press release.

“The men and women of NYSCOPBA work under some of the most dangerous conditions, and play a vital role in the law enforcement community that makes New York one of the safest states in the nation,” NYSCOPBA President Michael Powers said.