New York Daily News

April 22, 2004

Cop, teacher, fire unions: Deal us out

By MICHAEL SAUL
DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU

The labor deal Mayor Bloomberg made with the city's largest union won't work for the police, fire and teachers unions, leaders of those groups said.

A day after City Hall reached a tentative three-year agreement with the 121,000-member District Council 37, Bloomberg said he hoped it would set a pattern for talks with other unions.

The deal, to run through through June 2005, calls for a retroactive 3% raise and a $1,000 bonus for the first year, but smaller raises the next two.

But other labor leaders balked at a provision that cuts salaries for new hires by about 15% for their first two years.

"He can't possibly be serious that new teachers should take a 15% pay cut," said Randi Weingarten, head of the United Federation of Teachers.

Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, said the union can't afford givebacks on starting salaries.

"Given the wide disparity between police officers' salaries in the metropolitan area and the NYPD's serious recruitment and retention problem... it is clear that this type of settlement will not serve the best interest of the city of New York or its heroic police officers," Lynch said.

Although Lynch said he was heartened by Bloomberg's concession to allow retroactive raises, Stephen Cassidy, head of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, found little to like in the deal.

"This contract offer does not reflect the value of firefighters - we risk our lives every day," Cassidy said.

Bloomberg said the other unions shouldn't expect much more than the deal awaiting ratification by DC 37 members.

"We're not going to do labor negotiations through the newspapers," the mayor said. "But I think this is about all we can afford."