To the Editor:
Your article: “City’s $12K ’Christmas bonus’ to uniformed retirees weakens pension fund, watchdog says” is wholly misleading and maligns the reputation of NYC police officers and other city employees.
The Citizens Budget Commission, a mouthpiece of big corporations, union-busting law firms, the mayor’s labor negotiators and other anti-labor forces, refers to it as a “Christmas Bonus” to mislead the public into believing that the Variable Supplement Fund (or VSF) is some kind of gift, rather than a benefit that has been bought and paid for at the bargaining table. The VSF, in its current form, is the product of an agreement between the city and the unions that allowed the city to take advantage of a booming stock market to help fund its pension obligations.
According to current NYC Labor Commissioner Bob Linn, the arrangement “saved the city billions of dollars,” with some estimates putting the savings at upwards of $4 billion during the Giuliani administration alone. Moreover, the unions that agreed to this deal passed up the opportunity for greater wage increases and other benefits in order to secure the VSF payments. Police officers’ VSF fund was entirely self-sustaining — meaning it didn’t cost taxpayers a dime — for more than 20 years, and any support the city is now providing to the various VSF funds is dwarfed by its past gains.
But that hasn’t stopped the union bashers or the hypocritical de Blasio administration from targeting the VSF in an effort to fund their pet projects by picking city workers’ pockets. Mayor de Blasio likes to claim that NYC is a “union town,” but Staten Island’s civil servants and other working New Yorkers see right through his double-talk. They won’t fall for this blatant anti-worker propaganda, either.