Wall Street Journal

May 16, 2016 5:31 p.m.


Police Union Targets Mayor Bill de Blasio in Ad Campaign

PBA cites issue of income equality in call for higher wages for NYPD officers

By PERVAIZ SHALLWANI

MARY ALTAFFER/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Patrolmen's Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch, Police Commissioner William Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio on stage during a police academy graduation ceremony in April.

The city’s largest police union launched a seven-figure advertising campaign on Monday in its continuing fight with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration for higher wages and a better pension system, in an attempt to turn his signature issue of wage inequality against the mayor.

The ad is the most recent push by the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, which hired the consulting firm Tusk Strategies in February to launch a coordinated campaign to go after Mr. de Blasio. Tusk, which ran former Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s campaign, orchestrated Uber’s successful attack on City Hall last year.

In the 30-second ad, the wife of a New York Police Department officer who is identified only as Jennifer appears on camera saying that her family struggles to make ends meet.

“We can’t afford to live in the city that my husband protects,” she says, before a message appears on screen: “Mayor de Blasio promised to end income inequality.”

The union wouldn’t disclose the exact amount it paid for the advertising campaign. The PBA said the ad would run for the next four weeks on broadcast and cable stations.

The PBA, which represents the city’s 23,000 NYPD members with the rank of police officer, has been working without a contract since 2012 and has rejected recent proposals by the administration that are similar to those accepted by other unions in the city.

It is in the process of negotiating a contract with City Hall for the remaining years.

“The mayor says he wants to end income inequality, but as the NYPD has become more diverse, we’ve fallen farther behind other departments in pay,” said union President Patrick Lynch.

In the ad, the union says that while 53% of the latest police academy class is made up of people of color, on average NYPD officers make 34% less than officers at other police departments locally and nationally.

City officials said that had the PBA accepted the contract signed by other NYPD unions, officers would have received an 11% raise and a seven-year contract that would pay an officer with 5½ years with the department more than $100,000 a year, not including overtime or benefits.

Write to Pervaiz Shallwani at pervaiz.shallwani@wsj.com