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September 4, 2018

PBA to DNC: De Blasio No Friend to Workers

By Mark Toor

Mayor de Blasio: Being stalked by PBA again. Patrick J. Lynch: Mayor a taller BloombergIn an effort to gain a favorable contract, the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association has followed Mayor de Blasio to his gym in Park Slope and trolled him on trips to Iowa and New Orleans that were aimed at raising his national profile.

Now, the union has expanded its efforts to the Democratic National Committee, telling its more-than 300 members not to be taken in by what it calls his progressive facade.

Eye on the Future

Mr. de Blasio has been making speeches and attending Democratic events around the country, hoping to position himself for higher office once he completes his second and last-allowable term as Mayor in 2021.

“The latest rumor in New York City’s political circles is that Mayor de Blasio wants to become Chairman of the Democratic National Committee,” PBA President Patrick J. Lynch wrote in his Aug. 23 letter to DNC members.

“But before you consider putting his name on a ballot, you should look past his self-promotion and consider his actual record. He is neither the ‘friend of working people’ nor the progressive hero he claims to be, and he lacks the basic leadership skills that the position of DNC Chairman would require.”

Mr. Lynch urged DNC members to “judge Mayor de Blasio by his actions, not his words.

“Mayor de Blasio likes to claim he is a champion of organized labor, but when it comes to his treatment of his own municipal workforce, he sticks closely to the corporate anti-worker playbook, insisting that city workers pay for their own raises by sacrificing their health-care and other benefits. Even with those sacrifices, the city’s workforce has received lower raises under the de Blasio administration than they did during comparable periods under Republican Rudy Giuliani and billionaire Mike Bloomberg.”

‘Clearly Checked Out’

“With many city union contracts expired or expiring soon, Mayor de Blasio has an opportunity to correct his labor hypocrisy, but he is clearly checked out from running the city,” the letter continued. “As of this writing, NYC PBA members have been working for 380 days without a contract. We are now underpaid by upwards of 30 percent in comparison to police officers in comparable jurisdictions, which has a significant impact on our ability to recruit and retain the Finest.

“But in the face of this critical and growing problem, Mayor de Blasio and his team have offered nothing but stalling tactics, unreasonable demands and a complete unwillingness to engage in our contract process.”

It’s not only police officers who have problems under Mr. de Blasio, Mr. Lynch wrote.

“New York City’s biggest public-housing provider, NYCHA, has been so badly mismanaged that he turned control over to Federal prosecutors. New York City’s subway system—the lifeblood of our city’s economy — is in a state of crisis, yet until recently, Mayor de Blasio refused to even meet with the chief of the system.

“If Mayor de Blasio was truly committed to the needs of working people, he would find a way to address each of these problems. Instead, he’s literally flying away from the very problems New York City taxpayers pay him to solve.”

City’s ‘Good Faith’

A spokeswoman for Mr. de Blasio, Olivia Lapeyrolerie, told the Daily News that he has “been working in good faith with the PBA to come to an agreement that is fair to police officers and taxpayers...However, the PBA decided to seek arbitration instead of joining us at the bargaining table. We've always been more than ready to continue conversations to reach the fair contract our police officers deserve.”

The PBA no doubt hopes this letter will be more successful than its attempt to buy an ad critical of Mr. de Blasio on the Jumbotron at Fenway Park in Boston during a Red Sox game he planned to attend last month. The stadium refused to accept its money.

The union’s complaints about pay started long before Mr. de Blasio took office.

In an arbitration proceeding, the PBA presented 2014 salary figures for the NYPD and nine other departments in the metropolitan area, including the Port Authority Police ($100,380), Metropolitan Transportation Authority Police ($100,096) and State Troopers ($105,209). The average salary of the nine other departments was $99,487. The NYPD salary for that year was $83,976, which the PBA said was $15,511 below the average.

The last contract, which expired Aug. 1, 2017, gave officers a 2.25-percent raise above the city’s pattern for uniformed workers of 11 percent over seven years, for a maximum salary of $85,292. The extra money was supposedly connected with the department’s neighborhood-policing initiative. To offset its cost, salaries for future hires were scaled back until they hit the 5½ years required for maximum pay.