New York Daily News

Updated: November 5, 2015, 9:13 PM

  

 

NYC cops protest state arbitrator’s recommended 1% police officer pay increase: ‘We deserve better’

BY REUVEN BLAU, CHELSIA ROSE MARCIUS, THOMAS TRACY

MARCUS SANTOS/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Members of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association of New York City (PBA) protest the state contract arbitrator’s recommendation of increasing a city police officer’s pay by 1%. 

That's a whopper of a comparison.

About 1,000 angry cops — equating their pay increase battle to what fast food workers earn — picketed the Upper East Side penthouse of a state contract arbitrator Thursday after he recommended increasing city police officers’ pay by 1% a year.

“Whose blood? Our blood! One percent don’t pay the rent!” protesters screamed on York Ave. near E. 63rd St. as they held signs vilifying arbitrator Howard Edelman during a 7 a.m. protest.

Picketers said Edelman was treating police officers worse than city fast food workers, who expect to see their salaries increased to $15 an hour by 2018.

“Hey, Howard, is McDonald’s hiring?” a sign held by one cop read.

Advocates for the city’s fast food workers were stunned by how PBA members compared themselves with workers who average a paltry $17,000 a year.

“It’s pretty outrageous,” said Jonathan Westin, executive director of New York Communities for Change, which has advocated for the minimum wage hike. “There’s a difference between being completely in poverty and needing a salary increase, and having a pretty good salary and complaining about a 1% raise.”

NYPD officers have a starting annual salary of $44,744, which jumps to an average of $76,602 after just five years.

MARCUS SANTOS/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Officers protested outside the Upper East Side penthouse of a state contract arbitrator, shouting “Who’s blood? Our Blood! 1% don’t pay the rent!”

Despite those realities, Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch said Edelman’s recommendation was a slap in the face.

“What we’re asking is for this arbitrator to have the courage to do his job like New York City police officers do each and every day,” Lynch said, claiming that with such an insignificant raise, cops won’t be able to afford to live in the city they protect.

Queens Police Officer Michael Hance, 42, complained the raise amounted to a measly 36 cents an hour.

“That’s what the city feels we’re worth,” said Hance, a father of two. “Nobody here took this job to be rich. We want to go out there and help people. Just show us some respect.

“We’re the biggest police agency around,” he added. “We deserve better.”

Attempts to reach Edelman were unsuccessful Thursday.

Although most onlookers cheered the protesters, a tenant in Edelman’s building posted a sign on a seventh-floor window that read: “Go home. We don’t care.”

Edelman’s 1% solution is in step with what other city police unions, including the Sergeants Benevolent Association and the Captains Endowment Association, received in their negotiations with the city, officials said.

The raise will only affect the years between 2010 and 2012. The PBA and the city will have to butt heads at the bargaining table to discuss backpay raises for 2012 through 2015 as well as future raises, city officials said.

No one has signed off on the arbitration suggestion, insiders said. The union, which has already spent $5 million in legal fees during the arbitration, could take Edelman’s recommendation to court.

The arbitration gamble worked for the PBA in 2008, when the union received a 4.5% raise, although vacation time was cut from 20 days to 10 days.

Lynch and his members voted to go to arbitration in 2014 after negotiations with City Hall broke down.

The PBA claimed they should receive a larger raise, because its salaries are incomparable to wages received by cops in Nassau, Suffolk and other surrounding counties.

City insiders said the PBA could have struck Edelman from the list of potential arbitrators at the beginning, but didn’t.

“Marching on his own house is disingenuous with his members,” one source said about Lynch. “The truth is the city won.”

The protest comes amid fears there will be a workforce slowdown among rank and file officers in response to Edelman’s recommendation.

With Erin Durkin

ttracy@nydailynews.com