Updated Dec 24, 2016
By RICHARD STEIER
The de Blasio administration appears to have offered the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association a five-year contract that would include extra pay totaling $3,250 for at least some officers on patrol duty who also had a bachelor’s degree. The added costs would be offset by future hires needing 6½ years’ service to qualify for maximum salary and not being eligible for the annuity benefit paid to those already on the job.
A member of the union last week sent this newspaper a document that appeared to come from a PBA official that laid out those and other terms. Under the heading “Contract Update,” it stated that the city during an ongoing arbitration process “made several (3) unacceptable offers which all included 0’s hidden or built into [a] 2-year deal. They then made a 4th offer at the end of the last meeting on Wednesday 12/14.”
Raises Fit Pattern
It went on to state that this proposal would cover the period from Aug. 1, 2012—the day the PBA’s last contract expired—through July 31, 2017 that would feature 1-percent raises retroactive to both Aug. 1, 2012 and Aug. 1, 2013, a 1.5-percent increase dating back to Aug. 1, 2014, one of 2.5 percent as of Aug. 1, 2015, and a 3-percent hike retroactive to this past Aug. 1.
According to the memo, the offer also included “a patrol stipend of $2,500.” It didn’t spell out whether all Police Officers with patrol assignments would receive that money. It went on to state there would be an “education stipend of 750$ for those with a bachelor’s degree or higher” and that all PBA members who agreed to wear body cameras while on patrol would get an additional 1-percent raise.
The city until now has insisted that any agreement it reaches with the union conform to the financial pattern set with other police unions and the rest of its uniformed unions, which amounted to raises of 11 percent over a 7-year period in its most-basic form. Some unions, most notably the Uniformed Firefighters Association, have gotten variations on the terms to satisfy special needs that were contingent upon the cost to the city remaining the same.
The PBA, under an arbitration award released in November 2015, received a two-year contract whose pair of 1-percent raises matched those given in the opening years of those uniformed deals. Under the rules of the Public Employment Relations Board, should it move from the current mediation to an arbitration proceeding, any award that resulted could not last more than two years unless both sides consented.
Neither Side Saying Much
Both city Labor Relations Director Robert W. Linn and PBA President Patrick J. Lynch declined comment on the memo after each was provided a copy of it by this newspaper.
“I’m not going to comment on the discussions in mediation,” Mr. Linn said during a Dec. 21 interview. Mr. Lynch said in a statement, “New York City police officers do a difficult and dangerous job, and one that is different from the job of any other city worker. Our members remain the lowest-paid police officers in this area. They deserve more than any of the proposals the city has put on the table so far.”
Neither official, however, disputed the details of the city offer as described in the memo.
The union agreed to its first stretch of the pay scale for new officers in a 1988 contract negotiated by then-PBA President Phil Caruso with Mr. Linn on behalf of then-Mayor Ed Koch. That deal extended the time for progressing to maximum salary from three years to five in return for other benefits for incumbent members, including sizable increases in longevity differentials that subsequent hires also eventually received.
Lynch’s ‘Unborn’ Awards
During Mr. Lynch’s 17-plus years in office, two separate arbitration awards during the Bloomberg administration also used cuts in compensation for “the unborn” to help finance pay hikes for cops already on the job. The progression to maximum salary now takes 5½ years, a six-month extension that was part of the 2005 award.
The first uniformed-union deals reached with the de Blasio administration came in December 2014 and involved a coalition that included three of the four other NYPD unions in ranks ranging from Detective to Deputy Inspector. (The NYPD Sergeants union came to similar terms a couple of months later.) The two-year lag since then in reaching terms for the PBA, aside from the two years covered under the arbitration award, means that not only is the entire 9-percent raise over the final five years of the uniformed pattern already overdue, but the back pay that would be owed to union members should Mr. Lynch agree to the terms has steadily increased.
The two sides are expected to resume talks being coordinated by mediator Kevin B. Flanigan, the Deputy Director of Conciliation for PERB, sometime in January.