The Chief
September 28, 2001

Top State Court To Hear City's Appeal On PBA

By Willian Van Auken

The New York State Court of Appeals announced Sept. 20 that it will hear the city's challenge to lower court rulings upholding the right of the NYPD's largest police union to seek arbitration of contract disputes before the state Public Employment Relations Board.

The decision came barely one week after the high court denied the Corporation Counsel's request for a preliminary injunction barring PERB from continuing mediation efforts over the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association's contract.

PBA officials said they saw the rejection of the injunction as an indication that an appeals panel would likely uphold rulings by the Albany State Supreme Court and the state Appellate Division, which both found a law passed by the State Legislature in 1998 establishing PERB jurisdiction over all police and fire contracts to be constitutional.

While the Court of Appeals has yet to announce a hearing date, union sources said they expect the PERB case to go before the court in mid-November.

In August, PERB ruled that talks between the PBA and the Giuliani administration were deadlocked, and appointed Alan R. Viani as a mediator in the dispute. If the mediation fails, the state agency will appoint an impartial panel to conduct binding arbitration of the contract covering the city's 27,000 Police Officers.

The mediation sessions have been put off until at least October 1 because of the World Trade Center attack.

The PBA, which put forward the demand for a "market adjustment" of 39 percent to bring city cops' salaries in line with their counterparts in Newark, has long held that it could get a more favorable ruling from PERB than from the city's Office of Collective Bargaining.