New York Post
September 5, 2002

Cops in Big Pay Victory

By DAVID SEIFMAN, MURRAY WEISS and ANDY GELLER

   
Police officer Arnold Herwerth, 105th Precinct, protests the lack of a contract last month.
- Matthew McDermott
 

A state arbitration panel yesterday gave city cops raises of 11.5 percent over two years, leaving the PBA crowing and Mayor Bloomberg fuming.

The long-awaited ruling by a three-member Public Employee Relations Board panel gives police officers 5 percent the first year, 5 percent the second and 11/2 percent on the last day of the retroactive 24-month pact.

The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association claimed a big victory, saying it had broken the pattern of cops getting parity with other uniformed workers. Correction officers and sanitation workers are also getting 11.5 percent — but over 30 months.

"This is significant because it is a pattern-breaking deal," said PBA president Patrick Lynch.

"Although New York City police officers deserve much, much more, this does recognize that they're different than other workers and puts us on the road to fixing the salary structure."

But Bloomberg said it was a "missed opportunity."

"The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association is going to get to the penny what Rudolph Giuliani offered them over a year ago. They will have lost the opportunity to do better than the pattern," he said.

City officials thought the panel was ready to sign off on a 24-month deal that would have given cops 14.1 percent for working the same number of hours in shorter shifts. That would have given the city greater flexibility in scheduling, but added 10 days to cops' schedules.

Other unions, including the United Federation of Teachers, agreed to increased productivity and won raises of up to 22 percent.

But the PBA, which had sought a 23 percent hike over two years, balked at the 10 extra days and threatened to go to court.

As a result, Dana Eischen, the lone independent on the three-member panel, decided to offer 11.5 percent over two years and the cops accepted. The final 1.5 percent will not be paid in cash, but in an annuity or longevity payments.

The PBA, which has been working without a contract since July 31, 2000, is expected to sign the ruling, giving it the force of law.

Bloomberg said the city wouldn't sign — which won't matter if the PBA inks it.

"The police officer is going to get less. The public is going to get less. And it shouldn't have come out that way. It's a missed opportunity," he said.

Because the contract expired on July 31, both sides will have to begin negotiating a new pact immediately.