Contact: Joseph Mancini
In another victory for the PBA in its contract battle with the city, the state Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) today declared an impasse in the negotiations and appointed a well-respected veteran labor negotiator with experience as both a union representative and neutral arbitrator to mediate the dispute.
PERB Director of Conciliation Richard A. Curreri named as mediator Alan R. Viani of Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. Under the terms of the PERB law, mediation is the first phase of the binding-arbitration process that goes into effect after impasse is declared.
Today’s development comes slightly more than a month after the Appellate Division unanimously upheld an April 16 Albany Supreme Court ruling that the law giving PERB jurisdiction over the 27,000-member police union’s contract disputes is constitutional.
"We are gratified that PERB agrees with our view that the contract talks are stalemated," said PBA President Patrick J. Lynch, whose union filed for impasse last December. "The appointment of a mediator is the first step in moving us closer to the day when our members get the salary increase they deserve and at the same time help the city solve the recruitment and retention crisis it doesn’t seem to want to face."
Bargaining between the PBA and the city began in the spring of 2000, a few months before the contract expired on July 31 of last year. Negotiations stalled toward the end of the year The PBA has been demanding an increase to provide pay comparability with police officers in Newark, N.J. The PBA believes that a market adjustment is required to fairly compensate, recruit and retain New York City police officers, whose wages have fallen far behind those of cops in other large cities and in the surrounding suburban jurisdictions. The city has offered a 2.5-percent increase in the first year and 3-percent increase in the second year of the contract.
After the Appellate Division decision, the city sought a temporary restraining order to halt the PERB process while it appealed the PERB law to the state’s highest court. The city’s motion was denied.
Viani was for many years chief negotiator for District Council 37 under that union’s long-time president, Victor Gotbaum. From 1985 until his retirement in 1993, he was Deputy Chairman for Dispute Resolution with the city Board of Collective Bargaining. He has been a member of PERB’s mediation panel since 1993.