Staten Island Advance
June 28, 2016 at 6:19 PM

PBA declares contract impasse, hopes for labor mediation resolution

By Rachel Shapiro | 

PBA President Patrick Lynch has asked for a third-party mediator to help with contract negotiations between the police union and City Hall. Here he speaks during a news conference in 2015. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. – The New York City Patrolmen's Benevolent Association is asking for an independent mediator to step in and resolve a deadlocked contract negotiation between the police union and the city.

The PBA filed with the New York State Public Employment Relations Board a declaration of impasse in negotiations with the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio. They are asking for a mediator "to restart the currently deadlocked contract negotiations with the de Blasio administration," according to a PBA statement.

NYPD officers have been working without a contract since 2012 and, last year, a state contract arbitrator gave officers a 1 percent retroactive raise for 2011 and 2012.

Had the PBA taken the pattern other law enforcement unions have taken, officers would have an 11 percent raise over a seven-year contract. But the union dislikes that proposal because it allows for six months without a raise.

Union officials argue officers were once the highest paid in the country and now are falling farther behind in pay and can't afford to live and raise families in New York City.

They recently spent more than $1 million on television ads, slamming the mayor's office for not paying officers enough to support their families.

While the PBA says NYPD officers on average make 34 percent less than their peers locally and nationally, the city says they make 146 percent of the average salary for police in large cities.

The PBA says it commissioned a survey in which 89 percent of members said they would leave the NYPD for another law enforcement agency with better pay in the New York City area. And 85 percent says they would leave the New York City area altogether if offered better pay.

"By declaring these negotiations at an impasse, we are taking the next step to ensure that New York City police officers — who protect the biggest city in the country every day — receive a rate of pay equal to other police officers locally and across the country," PBA president Patrick Lynch said in a statement. "Our officers were once the highest paid, now, as we're more diverse, we're falling behind. This is just another example of Mayor de Blasio and his administration not appropriately supporting our police officers, who, as a result, would leave the NYPD if they could. That's bad for the city's future. We are hopeful that an independent, third-party mediator can restore a sense of fairness to a process that has been taken over by the mayor's insistence on playing politics, and provide our members with a contract that will allow them to provide for themselves and their families."

Spokeswoman for the mayo's office, Freddi Goldstein, said, "Since taking office, we have tried again and again to work with the PBA to provide their members with a fair long-term deal with significant raises and benefits — a deal like the ones every other police and uniformed union accepted. The PBA has been unwilling to negotiate, instead choosing to wage a political war and go to arbitration — again."