New York 1 News

June 12, 2004

City Reaches Labor Agreement With Nearly 10,000 Workers

The mayor struck deals with eight city unions today, but he still faces trouble from powerful labor leaders, whose members are still without contracts. NY1’s Michael Scotto has the story.

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Mayor Bloomberg still hasn't silenced three of the city's most powerful unions, but he struck eight new labor deals Monday and gave some of his highest paid employees similar raises.

““They're fair to the city's taxpayers, and most of all, they recognize and reward the contributions of thousands of hardworking city employees, and do so in a fiscally responsible way,” said Bloomberg.

This latest round of union settlements mirrors a deal reached back in April with the city's largest union, DC-37. The new contracts affect nearly 10,000 workers, including probation officers and highway and sewer inspectors.

Employees in those unions will get a $1,000 lump sum payment, a three-percent salary increase, and a two-percent raise funded through concessions, most of which will affect new employees.

For instance, new probation officers will have to work 40 hours a week instead of 37.5 hours.

“This decision continues the principle that putting more money into the paychecks of our municipal employees depends on finding offsetting savings on the way the city government operates,” said the mayor.

Bloomberg also handed out raises to 15,000 non-union employees, including his commissioners and deputy mayors.

First Deputy Mayor Marc Shaw, the highest paid employee in the mayor's office, currently earns close to $195,000. With a raise, he'll see his salary rise to a little more than $204,000.

But negotiations with the teachers, police and firefighters unions are still at an impasse, and for now, it doesn't appear that those groups are willing to settle for the deal the mayor reached with DC-37. That settlement cut benefits for new employees.

In a statement, the head of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association said: “This type of agreement would reduce the starting pay for police officers, making the recruiting and retention problem even worse.”

Bloomberg said he's willing to talk, but only behind closed doors.

“We are willing to negotiate with any municipal union that will come to the table, as opposed to those who are just interested in political grandstanding on the steps of City Hall,” said the mayor.

Bloomberg, though, faces protests both before and during the Republican National Convention next month by members of those unions. Similar demonstrations by Boston's unions have already disrupted workers preparing for the Democratic convention.

Plus, unhappy unions could also spell trouble for the mayor when he runs for re-election next year.

- Michael Scotto