Sullivan County officials announced Monday they had reached a deal with union leaders to waive a contract requirement that could have forced deeper layoffs than the county already plans.
The agreement with Laborers International Union Local 17 allows the county to have one Department of Public Workers employee in each truck instead of two, saving the county $500,000 and avoiding further personnel cuts, Legislature Chairman Robert Doherty said in a statement.
The county has laid off 78 workers - including 22 public works employees - because of an expected $10 million revenue shortfall caused by the shutdown of businesses for the coronavirus pandemic.
County officials plan to rehire employees if they recover that revenue, presumably by federal funding that is being sought to rescue distressed state and local governments. In the meantime, they say, laid-off employees are collecting federally enhanced unemployment benefits and remain covered by county-subsidized health insurance.