Contract Update: Superior Officers Admit to Conspiring with City to Suppress PBA Deal

August 3, 2017

Dear PBA Member:

I am writing to update you on a remarkable and outrageous development in our collective bargaining environment: a recent court filing by several City unions — including three other NYPD unions — contains a clear admission that those groups conspired with the City administration to interfere with the PBA’s contract process and suppress PBA members’ wages.

On July 20, a coalition of other uniformed unions — including the Captains Endowment Association (CEA), the Lieutenant Benevolent Association (LBA) and the Detectives Endowment Association (DEA) — filed a lawsuit in state Supreme Court alleging that the inclusion of the 2.25% Neighborhood Policing Differential in the most recent PBA contract breached the City’s “promise” to these unions that it would hold the PBA to the so-called “uniformed pattern” for the 2010-2017 bargaining round (see a copy of the lawsuit here).

As you may recall, the CEA, DEA, LBA, and other uniformed supervisors unions bargained for this past round as members of the Uniformed Superior Officer Coalition (USOC), led by CEA President Roy Richter.  In its court filing, the USOC alleges that the City expressed its desire to reach an agreement with the supervisory unions “at a high speed” in order to “obtain leverage over the PBA at the upcoming interest arbitration.” The parties ultimately reached a settlement on December 9, 2014 that included a period of zero raises, followed by 11% in general wage increases over the 7 year term. The complaint alleges that, to secure the USOC’s agreement, City Labor Relations Commissioner Bob Linn promised to do “everything possible to protect [the USOC’s] deal” and to “defend to the death” the supposed USOC pattern in its arbitration and subsequent negotiations with the PBA.

The USOC asserts that Linn and the City initially adhered to that promise in the PBA arbitration for the 2010-2012 round under Arbitrator Howard Edelman. As you may recall, Edelman explicitly referenced the USOC agreement in justifying his award, which the PBA believed was not supported by the law and the evidence.  However, the USOC notes that after “the PBA increased political pressure against Mayor Bill de Blasio,” the PBA and the City reached a negotiated agreement that included “a wage structure for current incumbent members which is 2.25% higher than the comparable increases received by the Coalition Unions.”

The USOC’s suit seeks a court order that would require the City to grant 2.25% in additional wage increases to its member unions, without requiring the unions to fund the additional increases through givebacks.

As we have discussed in previous contract updates, we have long alleged that the City engages in an unlawful bargain strategy by obtaining its preferred settlement with another union and then attempting to use that agreement as leverage in its negotiations and impasse proceedings with the PBA. However, the USOC’s lawsuit represents the first time that other unions have admitted — in plain language, in a sworn statement — that they knowingly and actively conspired with the City to try to achieve that goal.

This conduct is all the more outrageous because it involves unions representing other NYPD members. These unions represent the detectives and supervisors that PBA members see in the stationhouse every day, and who are undoubtedly aware of the pay disparities we face. Rather than fighting for a fair deal that addressed their own members’ compensation issues and, at a minimum, did not seek to hurt the police officers they purport to lead, these supervisors’ union representatives chose instead to ally themselves with management, apparently out of fear that their subordinates would be more successful at the bargaining table.

At the 2014 press conference announcing the agreement, CEA President Roy Richter predicted that the USOC unions’ members would ratify the agreement because “it’s an agreement that they themselves are able to manage their own destiny.” That claim rings hollow, as the current lawsuit makes it clear that the USOC leadership’s initial concern was to manage PBA members’ “destiny,” instead of or in addition to the “destiny” of their own members.

After analyzing the USOC’s suit, we believe that it is unlikely to prevail on the merits. Nevertheless, we are continuing to assess whether there are grounds for legal action to address the USOC’s admitted actions to interfere in the PBA’s negotiations. Although we ultimately succeeded in obtaining a negotiated settlement despite the USOC’s efforts, it should be clear to both the City and the other unions that these blatant efforts to artificially suppress our members’ wages will not be tolerated.

As we have done since the current PBA administration took office, we will continue to fight the fight in bargaining and, when necessary, in arbitration. We will continue to do so with the best interests of our own members in mind, without relying upon any other City employee’s economic situation or bargaining process. However, the NYPD’s leadership and the unions that represent them should recognize that the compensation of the Department’s rank and file — the PBA members who deliver the majority of police services in this city — has a direct impact on the public safety policies and priorities that they are tasked with implementing. By seeking to thwart our efforts to obtain a fair wage, these union leaders have placed their own narrow interests ahead of the needs of the Department and the city as a whole.

As always, we will continue to update you on the status of this issue as it develops.


Patrick J. Lynch