The Chief
April 22, 2005

PBA Delegates Approve 35% Boost in Dues

By Reuven Blau

Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association delegates April 12 voted to increase membership dues by $7 per paycheck, a 35-percent hike.

The increase – the first in more than 20 years – means that Police Officers’ biweekly dues will jump from approximately $20 per paycheck to $27.

Lynch: Funds Needed

PBA President Patrick J. Lynch, who proposed the increase last month, said the raise was necessary to cover the cost of recent arbitration hearings and to offset the loss of roughly 5,000 union members since 1999.

“The PBA delegate body voted today for a strong PBA for the future,” Mr. Lynch said in a statement April 12. “They had the courage to do what’s right and what’s necessary.

The increase comes as Police Officers eagerly await a contract arbitration award from the Public Employment Relations Board, PERB selected a three-member panel last August to arbitrate the contract dispute between the city and the PBA. The PERB hearings have cost the union millions of dollars for expert witnesses and lawyers’ fees, PBA spokesman Al O’Leary said.

The hearings included over 3,400 pages of arbitration transcripts, 374 exhibits, and hundreds of pre-hearing and post-hearing briefs, according to the union.

The city has sought to hold the PBA to terms whose cost does not exceed those under a contract it reached with District Council 37 last April. But the PBA contends that the city’s offer of pay hikes totaling 5 percent over three years will be insufficient to attract and retain officers.

In four of the past five rounds of bargaining, dating back to 1991, the PBA’s contract has been submitted to arbitration because of stalled negotiations, with only a 1994 contract reached at the bargaining table. The current arbitration marks the second time it has been conducted under PERB’s auspices. The two previous arbitration awards were made by the city Board of Collective Bargaining.