“Union Warns Rising Medical Costs And Increase Employee Health Insurance Contributions Are Unsustainable And Will Result In Mass Exodus Of Correction Officers, Jeopardizing Current Staffing Levels And Jail Safety,” – COBA President Neil Pellone.
Westchester COBA, the union representing all Correction Officers who provide care, custody, and control over approximately 2,300 inmates (annually) at the Westchester County Jail, held a demonstration at the Westchester County Office Building to protest rising medical costs and increased health insurance contributions on Monday, November 13th, at 12:00 PM.
Westchester COBA President Neil Pellone joined by members of his executive board, over 100 Westchester Correction Officers, as well as members of Nassau, Rockland County, and NYC Corrections and the NYPD, gathered at the county building (148 Martine Avenue) to protest the fact that their raises have not kept up with their contributions for health insurance coverage. Health insurance coverage contributions for a single correction officer have ballooned from $1,750 in 2014 to $2,483 in 2023, while family health insurance contributions have soared from $4,600 in 2014 to $6,548 in 2023, according to a press release by President Pellone.
“Fix our medical. What do we want? Fair Contracts. When do we want it? Now!” was the chant from the correction officers.
Black Westchester has been exclusively covering this story from the beginning. Let’s take a look at how we got here. On Thursday, November 2nd, Damon K. Jones, Publisher of Black Westchester, and the New York representative of Blacks in Law Enforcement of America (BLEA), expressed his concerns publicly regarding a recent proposal made by Westchester County to the Westchester Corrections Officers Benevolent Association (COBA), as stated by COBA’s President, Neil Pellone, in his November 1st letter to the COBA members.
According to Pellone, the County had approached COBA with a contract settlement plan, acknowledging the collective efforts of COBA members on social media and with the support of local legislators. The proposed contract would cover the years 2020 and 2021, a two-year contract for a combined 6% despite the fact that COs went 4 years without a contract.
Deputy County Executive (DCE) Ken Jenkins reached out to Damon and vehemently denied that the County had made such an offer and the County issued a statement of their own in response. There were claims of misinformation, with both sides telling a different story, which led to our third installment by Damon K Jones detailing the challenges and controversies in the 2023 Westchester County and COBA contract negotiations.
That brings us to the Monday, November 13th rally, protesting in front of the county building. BW reached out to the county who informed us they would be responding in a press conference at 2PM.
Stay tuned for more on this developing story!