Patrick Muncie, 212-966-5161
Amy Weiss, 202-203-0448
The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association of the City of New York (NYC PBA) today announced the appointment of Kenneth R. Feinberg — one of the nation’s leading experts in mediation and alternative dispute resolution — as the union’s representative in binding arbitration with the City of New York. Feinberg, whose distinguished career has included serving as Special Master of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund and other high-profile compensation programs, will work on behalf of NYC PBA members as part of a three-person state arbitration panel to bring a fair resolution to the current contract impasse. New York City police officers are already underpaid by 30% or more in comparison to the average for other police officers in the NYC area and other major cities around the country.
PBA President Patrick J. Lynch said:
“With Ken Feinberg’s appointment, New York City police officers will have an advocate on the arbitration panel who has broad shoulders, a sharp legal mind, and a real understanding of the work our members do and its importance to this city. In his work with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, Mr. Feinberg sat with the families of the victims and heard their stories – including the families of police officers who made the ultimate sacrifice – in order to make sure that sacrifice was recognized and compensated appropriately. He is an expert in valuing the invaluable, and we are confident he will be able to bring those skills to bear in making sure PBA members are compensated fairly and competitively for their invaluable work in keeping New York City safe.”
Kenneth R. Feinberg said:
“It is an honor and a privilege to serve the PBA and its members in this vitally important upcoming arbitration. New York City police officers deserve a fair, impartial and credible arbitration process. They deserve to be compensated fairly and competitively for their work protecting this city. I will do my very best to ensure that the arbitration panel works towards those goals.”
Mr. Feinberg has been appointed mediator and arbitrator in thousands of complex disputes over the past 35 years. In addition to his work with the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, he also held the role of Special Master of the Department of Justice Victims of State-Sponsored Terrorism Fund, the Department of the Treasury’s TARP Executive Compensation Program, and the Treasury’s Private Multiemployer Pension Reform program. He was also Special Settlement Master of the Agent Orange Victim Compensation Program. In 2010, Mr. Feinberg was appointed by the Obama Administration to oversee compensation of victims of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Most recently, he has served as Administrator of the New York State Dioceses’ Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Funds, the One Orlando Fund, the GM Ignition Switch Compensation Program, and One Fund Boston Compensation Program arising out of the Boston Marathon bombings. He is currently the Court-appointed Settlement Master in the Fiat/Chrysler Diesel Emissions class action litigation in San Francisco.
Last week the NYC PBA filed a request for arbitration with the New York State Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) after PERB-supervised mediation produced no progress towards a negotiated contract settlement with the City. The NYC PBA’s decision to seek arbitration is the result of the de Blasio administration’s refusal to negotiate in good faith throughout the recent mediation process – a non-binding process that precedes arbitration when a contract impasse occurs. In a breathtaking display of bad faith, Mayor de Blasio’s negotiators sought to diminish their already-unacceptable offer during mediation, including dramatic increases in out-of-pocket health benefit costs and other givebacks that would effectively wipe out the paltry wage increases PBA members would receive. The de Blasio administration is demanding that NYC PBA members accept below-inflation raises totaling 3.25% over two years, including months of zero raises.
Binding arbitration is the final step in the impasse resolution process. The case will be sent to a three-person arbitration panel comprised of one City-appointed member, one member appointed by the NYC PBA, and a neutral arbitrator jointly selected by both parties. Once the panel reaches a decision, the awarded contracted is limited to cover a two-year period and must be agreed to by the neutral arbitrator and at least one arbitrator of the parties.