TROY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Rensselaer County leaders say they have reached a four-year contract agreement with the county’s largest employee union. It includes pay raises every year, starting with a 2% raise in 2023.

The agreement still needs to be ratified by union members, and then approved by the county legislature. It is the first to be reached with United Public Service Employees Union (UPSEU) following the pandemic, where county employees were recognized for outstanding and valuable service during COVID.

The agreement with UPSEU would also mean the county has settled contracts with all four bargaining units representing county employees before expiration. County leaders said settling four contracts before expiration provides stability and structure for the county moving forward.

“This is a fair agreement, reached after productive negotiations, and is a long-term agreement that ensures stability and continuity of services as provided by our partners in public service, the hard-working men and women who work for the county,” said County Executive Steve McLaughlin. “The agreement reached with UPSEU is reasonable and responsible and will also help the county continue to effectively manage resources in a way that protects taxpayers and ensures the most efficient delivery of services. We are additionally proud to be on the way to settling contracts with all four bargaining units before expiration.”

“Rensselaer County had an effective and compassionate response to the pandemic, operating independent vaccination and testing clinics, improving county roads, expanding home-delivered meals, and many other services. That work happened thanks to the dedication and hard work of our employees,” said McLaughlin.

“I am pleased that agreements were reached before the contracts expired. The Legislature looks forward to reviewing and ratifying the agreement after the UPSEU members make their decision”, said Vice-Chair of the Legislature Bob Loveridge.

Aside from the raise slated for 2023, the contract would also include a 3% increase in salary in 2024, 2025, and 2026. The county would also provide a $3,000 signing bonus and a $2,000 stipend to employees during 2024, as part of the contract.

“Along with this agreement, many county employees will be serving in workplaces that are cleaner, safer, more modern, and more efficient. This is an exciting period of improvement and change in Rensselaer County government,” said McLaughlin. The agreement will be sent to the Rensselaer County Legislature for consideration in the coming weeks.