New York Daily News


Mike bites PBA over low wages

BY MAGGIE HABERMAN DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU

Mayor Bloomberg declared yesterday the police union is to blame if low-paid members apply for food stamps, because its leaders chickened out instead of negotiating a contract.

"Rather than sit across the table like a man or a woman that really cared about their members, they just said, 'We're gonna turn this over to somebody else,'" Bloomberg told reporters, referring to the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association's decision to have its last contract settled through arbitration.

Bloomberg's harsh talk came after reports that at least one police recruit had applied for food stamps because of the low starting pay - $25,100 a year - for cadets.

"They got what they asked for," Bloomberg said of the PBA. "And you know, this business of complaining afterwards - enough."

"Some of [the other municipal unions] are well-led, and they got better deals than the PBA did," Bloomberg added.

PBA President Patrick Lynch blasted back that the city had pushed for an even lower starting salary for cops, and the union chose the lesser of two evils.

"The PBA sought binding arbitration in the last two police contracts because of the city's insistence that any sorely needed and clearly deserved raises be funded by givebacks," Lynch said in a statement.

Bloomberg acknowledged, "It would always be easier if we paid more" to recruits, but added, "this is still the greatest police job in the world."