New York Daily News

July 28, 2001

Uniformed Workers Get 10% Pay Raise

By JOANNE WASSERMAN
Daily News Staff Writer

Mayor Giuliani reached a tentative contract yesterday with 45,000 uniformed city workers, rewarding the employees with salary boosts of 10% over 30 months.

The raise is significantly higher than the deal Giuliani reached with District Council 37 — which represents 125,000 municipal workers — for raises of 8% over two years.

Giuliani said he was giving firefighters, sanitation workers, correction guards and police supervisors more because they had made New York "safer, cleaner and better."

"They take extraordinary risks with their lives," Giuliani said. "I thought it was appropriate to ... make a distinction and say that the uniformed services deserve a little bit extra."

The $500 million deal also calls for a merit-pay plan and a 1.5% increase in the value of workers' benefits.

Diana Fortuna, president of the Citizens' Union Commission, criticized the deal, saying the city "didn't drive a very hard bargain.

Why give a sanitation worker a 10% raise when they have a glut of applicants for that job?"

Norman Seabrook, president of the Corrections Officers Benevolent Association, said yesterday's deal was "a reasonable raise for our people" given the city's economic slowdown.

"It's important that we put a decent wage in the pocket of the men and women we represent," he said. "We've obtained a good contract with no givebacks."

Unions representing cops and teachers both criticized and capitalized on the agreement: They said it wasn't enough for their members, who are underpaid compared with the suburbs, but it showed the city's willingness to be flexible on its deals with different unions.

A "one-size-fits-all approach to collective bargaining is a thing of the past," said Patrolmen's Benevolent Association head Patrick Lynch.

"It's nice to see the city ... can be flexible to solve collective bargaining issues," added United Federation of Teachers leader Randi Weingarten.

The PBA and the UFT still don't have new contracts with the city and have gone to the state's Public Employee Relations Board for mediation.

Both unions have said that the city's refusal to pay as much as the suburbs has resulted in a dramatic loss of cops and teachers to the city.

But Robert Linn, the PBA's labor negotiator, said the settlement "doesn't do anything to resolve the hiring and recruiting issues that are plaguing the Police Department."

Fortuna said if the city was going to hand out extra money, "This is not the group to give it to."

City's Contract Scorecard

Firefighters, sanitation and correction workers: Reached agreement yesterday on a contract that will pay them 11.5% over 30 months.

District Council 37: Reached agreement, April 11, 2001: 8% wage increases over 27 months for 125,000 municipal workers. Deal provides merit pay and a no-layoff provision.

United Federation of Teachers: No deal yet for the city's 80,000 public school teachers whose union has asked for raises of at least 20% over two years. The city has offered 8%. UFT has gone to the state Public Employees Relations Board seeking mediation.

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association: Has gone to PERB after asking for raises of 39% over two years, arguing that the city's 28,000 cops have fallen far behind suburban police in their salary scale.