May 14, 2004

Mediator asked to help settle cop contract dispute

NEW YORK (AP) State officials have appointed a mediator to try to resolve a bitter contract dispute between the city and the powerful Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, the union's president said Friday.

The PBA, which represents more than 20,000 NYPD officers, had asked state officials to intervene last month, claiming talks with the city were futile. If mediation fails, a state arbitration panel would be forced to settle the dispute.

"This is the only chance New York City police officers have to win a fair contract," said PBA president Patrick Lynch. "We want and deserve a far day's pay for a dangerous day's work."

PBA members have been working without a contract, and union officials claim they are among the lowest-paid officers in urban areas.

City Hall spokesman Jordon Barowitz said the city still hopes the two sides can reach an agreement on their own.

"We stand willing to continue negotiations with PBA and don't think a mediator is necessary," Barowitz said. "However, we will work with the mediator to reach a settlement."

Under the expired contract, the NYPD pays $34,514 a year to starting officers. The top annual salary is $60,293.