New York Daily News

Mayor says police union has city handcuffed


July 8, 2006—The city formally notified the state yesterday of an impasse in contract talks with the police union - the first time the Bloomberg administration has ever thrown up its hands in a labor dispute.

"We would have liked to fix this through negotiations, but despite our efforts in a number of negotiating sessions with the PBA [Patrolmen's Benevolent Association], we have simply not been able to do that," Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday in a statement.

Bloomberg had never before asked the state Public Employment Relations Board to resolve a contract dispute.

City officials said yesterday the PBA did not respond to an offer presented seven weeks ago and another one made in late June. But union officials said they were still evaluating the proposals.

"Without even waiting to see the PBA's counteroffer, the city declares an impasse and tells the press about it before they inform the union," PBA President Patrick Lynch said.

"That outrageous behavior demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Bloomberg administration never had any intention of negotiating a fair contract with their grossly underpaid police officers," he said.

The union's last pact expired in summer 2004. As part of the negotiations, the city is attempting to increase the starting pay for police recruits, while the union is trying to increase salaries at all levels.

City Labor Commissioner James Hanley described the PBA as the single most difficult municipal union. "We always try to settle our contracts, and we'll stand on our record," he told the Daily News. "It does take two to resolve it. I would suggest they examine their own conscience."