New York Daily News

April 13, 2005

Cops vote for union dues hike

It's official.

The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association has hiked member dues for the first time in more than 20 years.

For most cops, this means a $7 increase biweekly, from $20 to $27.

About 400 delegates gathered yesterday and voted on the proposal.

"The PBA delegate body voted today for a strong PBA for the future," PBA President Patrick Lynch said in a statement. "They had the courage to do what's right and what's necessary."

The hike was necessary, PBA officials said, because the union has spent millions on legal fees as it battles City Hall for a new contract. They added that the union has lost 5,000 members over the past six years, which translates into an annual loss of nearly $5 million in dues.

Both sides have presented their cases to an arbitration panel at the Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) and are waiting for a decision.

And waiting.

And waiting.

Cops all over the city are getting increasingly agitated as they wait for the board's decision. Rumors are flying and fake news stories are showing up in fax machines at many commands with details of a reported settlement.

It's a hoax, and a weird one at that. And I won't bother to repeat the phony numbers included in the story that's floating around. But I did ask PBA spokesman Al O'Leary how Lynch feels about his 22,000-plus members being on edge.

"Pat Lynch, like every member of the PBA delegate body, is anxiously awaiting the decision of PERB," O'Leary said. "Unfortunately, it is a process that takes time."