New York Daily News

December 22, 2008 

Editorial: Copping a fair contract

    Pat Lynch
Hermann for News

PBA President Pat Lynch

New York's Finest have at last gotten a labor contract — and the solid pay raises — that they deserve.

The city's 23,000 police officers are in line for pay hikes that will healthily boost salaries across the board. Rookies and veterans alike will enjoy significantly fatter checks that bring them closer in line with peers in suburban forces.

Starting pay will climb to almost $42,000 a year. Senior officers will be able to boost their maximum base wage of $76,500 to about $100,000.

Every penny of it is deserved.

Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch is to be congratulated for negotiating the deal with Mayor Bloomberg, who had put the outlines of the package on the table, oh, a long, long time ago.

This, in fact, is the first pact ever hammered out by Lynch. Previously, he had gone to arbitration in futile and illusory hope of winning more for his members than other municipal labor unions had secured for theirs.

The strategy was an abysmal failure. The PBA wound up with roughly the same terms as other city workers — only the cops had to wait years to get their money. And arbitration produced disastrous results for the force and the city as a whole.

Remember the $25,100 starting salary, now banished, the pitiful wage that made paupers of rookies and crimped NYPD recruitment? That was an outcome of a Lynch arbitration.

This contract is a four-year deal that is already two years late. When benefits are added to 4% annual wage hikes, the cops will come out with 20% more in their pockets.

The boosts follow a pattern negotiated between Bloomberg and all the other municipal unions. The sergeants, lieutenants and captains had accepted similar terms, as had firefighters and sanitation workers.

Plainly, Lynch had learned the lesson that arbitrators were not going to favor his members with lots more by shattering a century-old tradition of pattern bargaining. Especially not at a time when the city is coming into severe financial difficulty.

So he did the right thing. Good for Lynch, for the cops and for New York.