Wall Street Journal

Jan. 31, 2017 7:18 p.m

New York City Reaches Contract Deal With Police Union

Five-year agreement will cost taxpayers $1.9 billion


New York City Police Department officers gathered to attend the funeral of Det. Steven McDonald at St. Patrick's Cathedral on Jan. 13. PHOTO: SPENCER PLATT/GETTY IMAGES

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has reached a labor agreement with the police union, ending years of tense negotiations that highlighted a bitter divide between a liberal mayor and the country’s largest police force.

The five-year agreement with the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association will cost taxpayers $1.9 billion, and cover the years from 2012 through 2017.

The agreement closes a contentious chapter between the police union and Mr. de Blasio, who was elected in 2013 promising to curb police powers and end what he said was the overuse of the policing tactic known as stop-and-frisk. Thousands of police officers turned their backs on Mr. de Blasio after remarks he made when a grand jury failed to indict a police officer in the death of Eric Garner. Mr. de Blasio said he had to “train” his biracial son in how to approach police encounters.

Officers will receive an 11.73% pay increase, covering the five years of the contract. They will receive a lump sum—on average $12,235—for retroactive pay in March. The pay increase includes a 2.25% bonus Mr. de Blasio said was tied to the neighborhood-policing initiative, a bump that makes officers’ pay increases higher than those negotiated by the city’s other unions. However, city officials said the union agreed to concessions that would pay for the increase, like lower base pay for new officers.

New officers would receive a $42,500 salary for their first 1½ years on the job under the contract, about $400 less than the current rate.

Under the contract, every patrol officer would wear a body camera by the end of 2019. But Mr. de Blasio said the 2.25% bonus wasn’t tied to body cameras.

The new deal will go into effect in March if ratified by the union.

“After a lot of back and forth and certainly some real disagreements, we came to an extraordinarily broad agreement striking so many different issues,” Mr. de Blasio said.

Patrick Lynch, the PBA’s president, had launched a campaign against the mayor over the past two years, protesting outside Mr. de Blasio’s gym in Brooklyn and calling for a better labor deal with the city.

“We wanted to get the mayor and the staff to focus on our contract, and we think it worked,” Mr. Lynch said Tuesday. He said the contract “shows the uniqueness of being a New York City police officer and recognizes the added responsibility, the scrutiny we’re under.”

Commissioner James O’Neill said the contract “was long overdue.”

“I’m glad we can put it all behind us now.

Write to Zolan Kanno-Youngs at Zolan.Kanno-Youngs@wsj.com and Mara Gay at mara.gay@wsj.com