The Chief
October 3, 2008

Pay, Longevity Gains Spur Huge

Approval Vote for PBA Pact

By TOMMY HALLISSEY

Police Officers put an exclamation point on their new contract Sept. 25 by voting 17,576 to 93 to approve the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association deal that grants 4-percent raises over each of the four years of the contract.

PATRICK J. LYNCH: Members give deal a salute.
PATRICK J. LYNCH: Members give deal a salute.

According to PBA President Patrick J. Lynch, the more-than 99-percent ratification vote was the highest percentage processed by the American Arbitration Association in at least 15 years.

Pleased by 'Massive Support'

"We are pleased by the massive support for this historic settlement, which includes provisions that ensure continued salary growth and substantial health and welfare benefits for our members long into the future," said Mr. Lynch. "The overwhelming approval of this contract by our members demonstrates our unity of purpose and our willingness to stand strong together for the fair treatment that we have earned and deserve."

The Aug. 21 accord — the first one since 1994 that the PBA and the city reached without resorting to arbitration — is retroactive to Aug. 1, 2006 and runs to July 30, 2010. It will raise starting Police Officer salary from $35,881 to $41,975 by next Aug. 1, when the last of the raises take effect. It will also boost maximum pay to $76,488 on that date.

Notably absent from the contract were givebacks to the city, as Mr. Lynch instead sought to restore benefits that were lost as part of his two previous arbitrations. Three vacation days were restored for new hires by their third year on the job. An arbitration decision issued in May to force all cops to use a vacation day to re-qualify at the gun range will be nullified under the deal, with cops again performing that task during a regular workday.

Longevity Pay Rises With Wages

Mr. Lynch said by next year Police Officers' basic maximum salary will have increased by more than 55 percent on a compounded basis since the start of the Bloomberg administration. With longevity, holiday pay, night-shift differential and uniform allowance, total average compensation for cops at top pay will reach approximately $94,000.

For the first time longevity differentials, which now amount to between 5 and 10 percent of base salary, will automatically increase in tandem with wage raises. No other city uniformed union currently has this longevity escalator, Mr. Lynch said.

The contract also calls for $1,543 basic longevity hikes. In 2010, Police Officers with 20 years on the job will receive a total longevity differential of $8,891.

The PBA said another aspect of this contract that set it apart from other uniformed unions is that health and welfare funding will rise based on future general wage increases.

This benefit corresponds with a fresh cash flow into the PBA health and welfare fund. For the first time since 2000, PBA members will receive a $500 per-head boost in city contributions to the fund. Increases to the Retiree Health and Welfare Fund will top $15 million.

Big Retro Checks

Police Officers stand to cash sizable retroactive checks as well, because the first 4-percent raise would be retroactive to Aug. 1, 2006, with the second effective the following August. A cop at maximum salary will be entitled to nearly $9,000 in back pay, and counting.

A pilot program will start to eliminate home confinement regulations while a Police Officer is out sick, except for the hours of his or her regularly scheduled tour. This program will be open to all union members who are out sick, except those who are chronic absentees, on suspension, on modified assignment or on dismissal probation. This measure will allow officers to leave their residence at will for any purpose outside of their regularly scheduled tours.

The program will be assessed monthly and again after 15 months. If average sick leave has not increased by more than 10 percent, the program will continue until the end of the contract in 2010. However, it will need to be renegotiated for the next contract.

Police Officers can also exchange tours with other officers, as is already permitted in the Fire Department.

Starting Feb. 22, 2010, all Police Officers on the Detective track will work the schedule and chart of regular Detectives. "The PBA sought this change and took advantage of the opportunity to realize extra monies that can be used for the Police Officers who stay in our unit by agreeing that Police Officers who voluntarily choose to leave our unit will be treated as Detectives on day one, for better or for worse," Mr. Lynch wrote in the PBA newsletter.

Settled Suits Under Deal

The PBA as part of the deal agreed to settle six lawsuits with the city for more than $4.8 million, but did not settle the Fair Labor Standards Act lawsuit. It settled a First Amendment lawsuit brought because of limitations placed on where cops could protest during the Republican National Convention in August 2004. The PBA settled cases before the Board of Collective Bargaining over whether Detective Specialists are Third-Grade Detectives and whether the Police Commissioner has the authority to designate Police Officers as Detective Specialists. A White Shield Detective lawsuit over whether the Police Officers in investigatory commands should be rescheduled in the same manner as Gold Shield Detectives was also settled.

The PBA settled a suit over whether the city is required to pay interest on an arbitration award concerning the NYPD's failure to pay overtime to officers assigned to Police Headquarters Security from Jan. 21, 2002 to May 12, 2003. Another lawsuit concerning the city's overpayment to the PBA Legal Fund was also settled. The PBA withdrew a lawsuit, which was under appeal in the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, which contended the city was obligated to bargain with the union over the switch in the NYPD from urine-based random drug testing to hair-based screening.