Politico New York
8:14 p.m. | Nov. 2, 2015


PBA chief assails draft of new contract

By GLORIA PAZMINO 

Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, slammed a contract proposal Monday evening after a “draft version” of the document was circulated among the union membership indicating that the city will give officers 1 percent raises for the next two years.

“Our members were furious when informed of the contents of this draft award,” Lynch said in a statement. The PBA, which represents 24,000 officers, has been without a contract since 2010.

The proposal is a huge blow to the union, which took a gamble by choosing to head to arbitration after refusing to follow the bargaining pattern established between the city and the rest of the uniformed workforce.

Talks between the union and the de Blasio administration came to a halt last May after the union filed for an impasse application with the New York State Public Employment Relations Board. In response, the board assigned Howard Edelman as the arbiter to hash out a deal.

Lynch's refusal to bargain with the city has focused on the argument that his members are paid less than police officers in nearby suburbs, the Port Authority and other major cities.

Lynch’s gamble has paid off in the past. Lynch settled a deal with the Bloomberg administration in 2008 that gave his members 4 percent raises each year from 2006 through 2010. The union has been working under that expired contract ever since.

However, the de Blasio administration has argued that Lynch should accept the same pattern of salary increases agreed to by all the other police unions.

Having successfully settled with 11 uniformed unions, including police detectives, lieutenants and captains, the city severely undermined the PBA’s argument that their officers are underpaid. The other law enforcement unions have all agreed to contracts in the past year and half that provide 11 percent raises, including some retroactive pay, over the course of seven years.

The PBA’s possible deal is further soured by the fact that contracts resulting from PERB arbitration only cover two years at a time. In other words, as other raises kick in for other unions over the long term, the PBA would be forced to re-start their bargaining session every two years.

“Buying into the city’s gambit that one union — the first to sign a contract — sets the pattern for all other unions, as [Edelman] did, is in direct defiance of the intent and provisions of the Taylor Law," Lynch said, referring to a state law governing public employees. "This arbitration decision flouts the Taylor Law’s provisions and denies New York City’s police officers the fair pay that they have earned and deserve,” Lynch said.

Amy Spitalnick, a spokeswoman for Mayor Bill de Blasio, declined to comment on the specifics of the contract saying only “there is no final decision yet.”

A draft version of the contract is typically first circulated among members of the PERB panel, which includes the city’s chief labor negotiator, Bob Linn, and the PBA’s chief counsel. They are supposed to arrive at a final decision.

The PBA and the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association are among the last unions to settle a contract with Mayor Bill de Blasio, who came into office with the entirety of the city’s municipal work force working under expired contracts. Since then, de Blasio has settled with 84 percent of the city’s work force.