The Chief

July 28, 2000


PBA Blasts City Over Merit Pay Offer for Cops

By William Van Auken

PATRICK J. LYNCH: Wants 'fair share.'    

While the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association has made the argument that its members are entitled to a substantial pay increase because of the unique demands and dangers confronting cops, the city offered it the same basic package it has presented to civilian municipal unions, including no across-the-board salary increase.

"He gave us a wish list for the city," PBA President Patrick J. Lynch said of the counter-proposal presented July 19 by Labor Relations Commissioner James F. Hanley.

PBA's Goals

The 27,000-member police union's current five-year contract expires July 31. It presented its demands to the city in May, proposing large but undisclosed salary hikes to make up for two years of "zeroes" and to narrow the pay gap between city cops and their counterparts in surrounding suburban departments. Mr. Lynch said that the benefits package proposed by the city also mirrored offers made to civilian unions, which have included co-payments, on health insurance coverage and reductions in annual leave days.

"You can't base raises for Police Officers on merit pay," Mr. Lynch said. "All New York City cops have gone out here and played a part in the record reduction in crime and they all deserve a raise." The growth in tax revenues and tourism in the city, he added, was attributable to a large extent to his members making the city safer. "It's the Police Officer standing on the corner and riding in the radio car who has brought the city its record  surpluses," said the PBA president. "That's our money and we want our fair share."

Mr. Lynch said that while all city workers had helped fill the city's coffers, "New York City Police Officers have played a special part."

'Get Down to Business'

The PBA president predicted that upcoming bargaining sessions would get past the merit-pay formula. "The city has to plead poverty and say that it can't afford raises," he said. "I hope that now we can get down to serious negotiations and work out the nuts and bolts of a contract."

Referring to the NYPD's mounting difficulties in recruiting enough rookie cops to replace veteran officers, who police union officials say are retiring at the rate of 11 per day, Mr. Lynch added, "It would be foolhardy for the city to try to save money by cutting back on wage increases."

Mr. Hanley said that the city had made a "standard" offer to the police union and was in the process of scheduling another bargaining session.