Teamster's Local 445 cuts a deal with Sullivan County

There's a saying: Unions eat their young. Sullivan County's largest union just agreed to substantial reductions in benefits for new workers, the Times Herald-Record reports:

Members of Teamster's Local 445 voted 183-103 Wednesday to OK a two-year, 10 percent decrease in starting salaries for union positions filled after Sept. 1. The vote also raises new hires' share of health insurance costs from 10 percent to 15 percent...

...The vote also raised from 20 to 25 the number of years new workers must put in to qualify for retiree health benefits. It also requires them to work five years, instead of one, to be eligible for longevity pay.

The paper points out that the cuts are being made partly to cover the costs of fat buyout packages from a state-mandated program, signed into law this June, that offers workers incentives to retire early -- a carrot the state is offering in an effort to shrink state and local governments. The Albany Times-Union is keeping a running total of state employees who have taken advantage of the program.