May 23, 2016: 5:00 pm
By JAMES HARNEY
|PATRICK J. LYNCH: 'Don't ignore our families' needs'|
The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association has fired yet another salvo in its ongoing contract battle with the de Blasio administration, this time in a TV ad—featuring an NYPD officer’s family—accusing the Mayor of practicing the same “income inequality” with city cops that he vowed to eliminate when he campaigned for City Hall.
On May 16, the PBA launched the ad campaign blasting Mayor de Blasio and his administration for “refusing to support fair pay for New York City police officers.” The ad features a woman identified only as “Jennifer,” the wife of an NYPD officer.
‘Every Month We Struggle’
Speaking shyly and without the benefit of a script, Jennifer says: “My husband is a New York City police officer for 10 years. Every month we pretty much struggle; we have a mortgage, car payments, three kids in school…We can’t afford to live in the city my husband protects.”
At one point during the ad, an image of the couple’s three young daughters appears on the screen, and at other points, a pair of messages, in white lettering on a black background, are shown.
“On average, New York City cops make 34% less than other cops, both locally and nationally,” reads one message. The second states: “Mayor de Blasio promised to end income inequality.”
As the ad closes, Jennifer addresses the Mayor directly, saying in a halting voice: “Mayor de Blasio, I don’t think it’s fair. He protects this city 24/7 and he has a family that he needs to support.”
PBA President Patrick J. Lynch said the ad will be part of a million-dollar campaign aimed at sharing the stories of financially-stressed police officers’ families—and highlighting Mr. de Blasio’s “broken promises”—with TV viewers citywide.
Mr. Lynch charged that the Mayor “has taken no action to fix income equality in his own increasingly-diverse police department,” noting that 53 percent of the latest NYPD Academy class consisted of people of color.
“As you watch Jennifer speak passionately about how hard it is to pay the mortgage or provide clothing for their little girls, you are seeing first-hand the struggle that is taking place inside the homes of all our New York City police officers as they try to support their families,” the PBA leader said.
“The Mayor can try to ignore our police officers, but to ignore their families would be an insult to every family in our city trying to get by,” he added. The Mayor can fix this problem, and he needs to fix it now.”
‘Pay Us Market Rate’
In contract negotiations, Mr. Lynch has steadfastly asked for a “market-rate” wage hike for his members aimed at closing the gap between city cops and their counterparts in neighboring jurisdictions.
“We’re of the mind that our officers are the only (job) title in the city that is not earning a market rate of pay,” said a spokesman for the union leader. “Four of the last five contract negotiations (between the city and the PBA) went to arbitration. One was for a four-year contract. We’re willing to take a longer-term contract, but it’s got to be at a market rate of pay that our officers deserve and certainly have earned.”
In response to the PBA criticism, mayoral spokeswoman Monica Klein said: “Our door has always been—and continues to be—open to the PBA to negotiate a long-term contract, as we’ve done with nearly the entire City workforce to date.”
Mr. Lynch and his predecessors have objected to the city’s attempts over the years to establish a bargaining pattern with another uniformed union and then use it to thwart the PBA’s attempts to get bigger raises by making the argument that giving Police Officers more than those in higher ranks in the NYPD or city Firefighters would disturb longstanding salary relationships and produce either chaos or gridlock in municipal bargaining.
Fury Over 1% Hikes
In the most-recent arbitration, completed last November, the union was forced to accept two 1-percent raises for its members when the panel’s chairman, Howard Edelman, accepted the de Blasio administration’s rationale and gave Police Officers the same raises that were negotiated by other uniformed unions in the first two years of a longer contract. Under the rules of the state Public Employment Relations Board, arbitration awards can’t exceed two years unless both sides agree.
The PBA responded by holding an early-morning rally outside Mr. Edelman’s Upper East Side apartment building and harshly criticizing him in a newspaper ad campaign that continued for three weeks after his ruling was finalized. Negotiations have resumed between the union and the city but little progress has been reported since their first sitdown last December.