Politico New York
7:17 p.m. | Nov. 9, 2015


PBA members protest outside Gracie Mansion

By LAURA NAHMIAS

AP Photo/Michael Balsamo
Protestors gather near Gracie Mansion on Wednesday. 

Members of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, the union representing New York City’s rank-and-file police officers, staged a protest outside Gracie Mansion on Wednesday night over the terms of a draft contract they say pays them too little.

It was the second such demonstration since terms of the draft contract leaked. Last week, officers held a 7 a.m. protest outside the Upper East Side home of Howard Edelman, the state-appointed arbitrator who drafted the contract, which calls for a two-year deal giving officers a 1 percent raise for each of the two years.

Several hundred PBA members gathered behind barricades set up outside the mayor's residence on the Upper East Side, chanting "One-term mayor!"

PBA president Pat Lynch walked briskly back and forth between two camps of protesters straddling either side of East 87th Street, carrying a megaphone.

“Show your face! Show your face!” the officers shouted toward the mansion.

Lynch led the officers in chants of “Blue Lives Matter! Our Lives Matter,” “One percent don’t pay the rent” and “Keep your praise, give us a raise!”

Lynch took a calculated risk last year when he decided not to negotiate with City Hall over a contract for his 24,000 members, instead agreeing to binding arbitration. The union has been working without a contract since 2010.

NYPD commissioner Bill Bratton and de Blasio have both said they are working to keep morale high among the city’s police by giving them the latest in technology and hiring more officers.

PBA leadership and some protesters have taken offense at those remarks. Some police officers protesting Wednesday night carried placards that read, “De Blasio: New vests are the law, not a perk.”

Earlier Wednesday, de Blasio told reporters that his “door is still open” if the PBA wants to sit down again with City Hall to negotiate according to the pattern the city has set in contract deals with 11 other uniformed unions, which give raises of 11 percent over a period of seven years.

“The PBA leadership decided on arbitration, we said throughout that process our door was open," de Blasio said Wednesday. "The door is still open to talk about a long-term contract, but it would be part of the pattern that all uniformed services have agreed to.

“We have a pattern that we are sticking by for everyone. I’ve been abundantly clear about that and that’s not changing,” de Blasio said.

Asked what he thought of de Blasio’s comments, Lynch told POLITICO New York that the offer was an insult.

“We’ve sat down at City Hall, we’ve sat down at Gracie Mansion and we sat down at the Office of Labor Relations, and they offered 18 months of zeroes, worse than this arbitrator,” Lynch said.

“It’s an insult, and they’re hearing it here tonight.”