New York Post
July 28, 2001


Uniform Agreement: City's Pay-Hike Deal for 50,000

By DAVID SEIFMAN and PHILIP MESSING

A coalition representing 50,000 uniformed workers — but not rank-and-file cops — reached a tentative contract with the city yesterday for pay hikes exceeding 10 percent over 30 months.

City officials said the deal with firefighters, correction officers, sanitation workers and cops above the rank of sergeant also would block the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association from winning double-digit raises before a state arbitrator.

"This boxes them in," said one city official.

The new labor deal will cost the city about $500 million.

Mayor Giuliani said the agreement was a way "to say thank you for the extraordinary work they've done for the city."

Breaking with the practice of never criticizing a fellow union, corrections union chief Norman Seabrook dismissed the PBA's 39 percent wage-hike demand over two years as pie in the sky.

"I really don't know if an arbitrator is going to bankrupt the City of New York and give a group of people 39 percent," said Seabrook, who heads the Uniformed Forces Coalition.

But strains were evident in the 13-union coalition.

Leaders of the detectives and p olice sergeants rejected the contract as inadequate and recommended a "no" vote when it comes before their membership.

Coalition rules require the contract be presented for ratification if it's supported by at least 10 of the 13 union leaders.

Bob Linn, the PBA's chief negotiator, called the settlement reasonable "for groups that are paid at or above market — as everyone in that coalition is — or for groups where there's no hiring or retention problem."

Cops don't fall into either category and deserve more, Linn said.

The contract for the uniformed services provides a 5 percent raise the first year, 5 percent the second year, and 1.5 percent extra in the 28th month that each union could dole out as it sees fit.

Because many uniformed contracts expired a year ago, workers can expect hefty retroactive checks and double-digit raises if they give it a thumbs-up.

District Council 37, the city's largest municipal union, accepted a 27-month contract last April with raises of 4 percent the first year, 4 percent the second and 1 percent for a special fund.

"Not since the 1980s has this happened," Seabrook boasted of his union's breaking out of the pattern and winning a bigger increase.

"We didn't give up anything for this. No vacation time, no additional appearances, no additional tours."

Giuliani ordered city agencies to come up with $500 million in cuts to help pay for the deal.