New York Daily News

Updated: June 3, 2016, 4:47 PM



PBA complaint about arbitrator who ruled against union’s bid for higher raises rejected 


“We are disappointed in the National Academy of Arbitrators' lack of interest in protecting the honor and integrity of their profession,” PBA head Patrick Lynch said.

The national organization that represents experts who decide labor contract disputes has rejected a complaint filed by the city's largest police union against an arbitrator who rebuffed the union in bitter contract negotiations last year, records show.

“There is absolutely nothing in the record that would call into question the conduct of Arbitrator (Howard) Edelman,” The National Academy of Arbitrators decision released Friday said.

Accusations of ethical code violations, the decision said, “is not a cudgel to be wielded against an arbitrator who has acted in good faith.”

Patrick Lynch, head of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, which filed the complaint, blasted the decision.

"We are disappointed in the National Academy of Arbitrators' lack of interest in protecting the honor and integrity of their profession,” Lynch said.

Edelman earned the PBA’s ire after he ruled against the union last year in favor of the city. City cops got two 1% raises over two years, when they had sought more.

Lynch mounted a series of attacks against Edelman, calling him “hopelessly compromised.” He even drew about 1,000 off-duty officers to picket Edelman’s Lenox Hill penthouse.

In its complaint, filed in January, the PBA had charged that Edelman violated ethics standards by failing to disclose campaign contributions he made to Mayor de Blasio and two other appointments to rule on city contract disputes.

Edelman gave $500 to de Blasio's campaign in December 2012 and another $500 in September 2013.

But he disclosed those donations early in the PBA arbitration, in December 2014, and the PBA did not object at the time, the decision states.

The decision characterized the donations as a fairly minor issue.

"It's is a far cry from that to a bias," the decision says.

The decision also found that Edelman wasn’t required to disclose he had appointments to rule on two other contract disputes involving other agencies.

"There is nothing whatsoever to suggest that these or any other cases depended on his conduct in the PBA case,” the decision said.

Lynch’s attacks on Edelman has rankled his colleagues. In March, 27 arbitrators signed a letter saying they would not take future PBA cases.

"This decision only serves to protect a skewed system that favors employers who can dole out lucrative future arbitration work,” Lynch said Friday.

“It also sends a message to working people everywhere that those who dare to speak out against an unjust outcome will be either ignored or pressured into silence.”