New York Daily News

April 17, 2001

State Has Say Over Cop Pay: Judge

By JOANNE WASSERMAN
Daily News Staff Writer

The union representing city cops scored a big win against the city late yesterday, when an Albany court ruled that a state labor panel should handle the ongoing contract dispute.

In a decision hailed as a historic victory by the labor negotiator for the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, the Public Employee Relations Board was granted jurisdiction over the negotiations, Albany State Supreme Court Justice Bernard Malone ruled.

The judge upheld a 1996 state law that the PBA successfully lobbied for, which granted PERB, not the city's Board of Collective Bargaining, jurisdiction over labor disputes between the city and its police and fire unions.

In December, after seven months of talks, the PBA declared an impasse with the city and filed with the state panel.

The Giuliani administration has long opposed PERB's involvement, contending it will cost the city $200 million a year in increased wages. A city lawyer said last night that the city would appeal Malone's ruling.

The PBA believes it will fare better with PERB rather than the board because the state agency can compare city cops' pay scales with the dramatically higher salaries of suburban police forces.

"This is an historic victory for city cops," said PBA negotiator Robert Linn.

"We believe that we will be able to present a case that will compellingly prove that city police need a substantial salary adjustment to make their wages competitive with the surrounding communities in New York and New Jersey," he said.

But city lawyer Dan Connolly said the dispute should be decided by the board because it "looks at local issues, such as the city's ability to pay. To replace that local expertise is counter to public policy."

Meanwhile, Local 1930 of the New York Public Library Guild, representing city librarians, announced yesterday that its members would get an additional one-time 8% raise.

The boost was on top of the 8% two-year wage increase approved by the city and District Council 37.

City librarians earn an average of $37,000 a year — far less than what they can make as school librarians. After 10 years, school librarians earn $50,000, said Local 1930 President Ray Markey.