Frequently Asked Contract QuestionsJanuary 26, 2015
1. Why are we in a Coalition with Fire, Corrections and Sanitation employees?
A wage parity relationship exists between City uniformed employees in police, fire, corrections, and sanitation with respect to base salary, which is well-established for more than 30 years. In unity there is strength and a collective effort has always proven to be more effective for labor during difficult rounds of negotiation. This round of negotiations started off with extreme difficulty as the State wage pattern included 36 months of zero raises in a five-year contract. The United Federation of Teachers was able to avoid the State pattern; however, their deal with the de Blasio administration had 18 months of zero. A collective effort was needed to move the City off the 18 months of zero and secure a uniformed differential. Coupled with an effort to protect the promotional process in all of our ranks, the Supervisory Unions, in all the uniformed agencies, formed a Coalition. Many attempts to have the PBA lead the Coalition into this round of bargaining were met with negative results as the PBA refused to participate. History tells us that our best contracts have been achieved when we have bargained together as a unified Uniformed Coalition. Unfortunately, the PBA refused to be part of the Coalition, forcing the Supervisory Unions, including the DEA, to proceed.
2. Why don’t we wait for the PBA to settle their arbitration?
Recent history has shown all of us that what may be in the PBA’s best interest unfortunately is not in our best interest, because of the bargaining strategy employed by the PBA called “attrition based bargaining,” commonly known as “selling the unborn.” All of the secondary Unions, including the DEA, have been crippled in the past few rounds of collective bargaining by “attrition based bargaining” and the concessions associated with the PBA’s strategy. The PBA repeatedly waits until they are five years without a contract by rejecting the wage pattern already negotiated by other City Unions. They proceed into arbitration and under the cover of arbitration “sell the unborn.” If history is any indication of what the future holds, the PBA will do it again. The results achieve a slightly higher wage enjoyed by the incumbents, but dramatic reduction in salary and benefits for rookie Police Officers ( i.e. the creation of the $25,000 cop in one arbitration and the $35,000 cop with just ten vacation days in the second arbitration). In 2005, the Police and Fire Unions waited for the PBA’s arbitration to take place and they sold the unborn and created a $25,000 Police Officer. To match that savings, uniformed Supervisory Unions had to give back benefits our predecessors secured 30 years ago. In laymen’s terms, by selling the unborn, current PBA members reap all the gain and the newly hired Officers shoulder all the pain. That strategy does not work for the DEA and all the other Supervisory Unions in Police, Fire, Corrections, and Sanitation, because we do not have unborn to pass the concessions onto, so our incumbents bear the pain. Since the secondary unions only receive about 400 new members into their ranks via promotions each year, we cannot generate the same savings that 3,000 new recruits can generate to fund extra raises. The secondary Unions in Police, Fire, Corrections, and Sanitation have nothing left to give up or sell. We formed a Coalition in a collective effort to craft our own destiny, protect what we have, and deliver the best concession-free contract that we could in this economic climate.
3. Do we have a re-opener clause in this contract?
Although the unions requested a re-opener in this round, the City refused. However, the Office of the Mayor of the City of New York issued a written statement on January 8, 2015 at the Coalition’s request regarding the City’s commitment to parity (see below):
THE CITY OF NEW YORK
OFFICE OF THE MAYOR
NEW YORK, NY 10007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 8, 2015
STATEMENT FROM MAYOR BILL DE BLASIO
“I am very pleased that the unions representing the Police Captains and the Sanitation Chiefs have overwhelmingly ratified their respective collective bargaining agreements. These settlements show that the parties can reach a timely agreement on a voluntary basis without the delays of arbitration and litigation.
“As we said last month when we reached these agreements, these are very important settlements.
“The City is committed to the uniformed pattern that has now been ratified by two of the eight uniform coalition unions that reached tentative agreements last month.
“The City also remains committed to the parity in the salary structures and relationships within the uniform force departments that allow for the orderly promotion of the workforce, and we will actively work to sustain this important agreement in every available forum.”
This should not be characterized as a re-opener. However, it is a good public statement that was crafted by the City to state its unambiguous intention that both parity and bargaining pattern governs its collective bargaining relationships, both with its rank and file and supervisory uniformed services.
During the 2006 – 2008 round, the City of New York agreed to a re-opener clause with all the uniformed Unions, because they believed it was strategically in the City’s best interest as they prepared for arbitration with the PBA. The Unions wanted the re-opener as protection in the event the PBA was successful in arbitration. As the arbitration panel considered their decision, they awarded the PBA more than the uniformed pattern already in place and the additional compensation above the pattern was offset by givebacks. In deciding the award, the panel took into consideration two critical issues: 1). pattern bargaining; and 2). the pay parity that exists in the City of New York amongst uniformed employees. The panel figured that since a re-opener existed, they could award more money to the PBA and the other uniformed Unions would be able to capture the additional compensation by funding it through concessions. In hindsight, the strategy proved detrimental to the City and painful for the Unions, because of the concessions imposed and the givebacks made to fund the added money.
4. Does the terminal leave lump sum benefit expire at the end of this contract?
No. Like all contractual terms and conditions, they are permanent and protected under the New York State Taylor Law’s “Triborough Amendment.”
5. Have any other uniformed Unions ratified this contract yet?
YES. The NYPD Captains’ Endowment Association ratified this contract on Tuesday, January 6th by a 69%-31% margin in favor.
The Correction Captains’ Association ratified this contract on Friday, January 23rd by a 75%-25% margin in favor.
The Uniformed Fire Officers’ ratified their contract on Monday, January 26th by a margin of 82% to 18% in favor.
The Sanitation Chiefs’ Association ratified the contract on January 2nd by a 98% to 2% margin in favor.