Volume 8 Number 1: January 2006
This is the first contract newsletter for the new round of bargaining. I want to begin by recapping the last round of bargaining, discussing the award, the opinion of the chair, and the concurring opinion, covering some of the same ground that I covered in the summer issue of the PBA magazine. I will then summarize some of the settlements reached with other City unions after the PBA Award and set forth the PBA position on collective bargaining and why the actions of certain other police unions threaten to undermine gains we have made in bargaining, and conclude with an update of developments in this round of PBA bargaining and a budget update.
The last round effectively began with the City’s settlement of an agreement with DC 37, the union representing over 100,000 employees holding various titles in various City agencies. The agreement provided for a 3-year contract of $1000 lump sum payment and a zero wage increase for year one, a 3% increase for year two and 1% increase for year three, or 4.17% compounded over 3 years. To achieve an additional 1% in the 3rd year of their contract, DC 37 agreed to a reduction of pay for new hires, a reduction in sick leave, a reduction in terminal leave and night shift differential and the elimination of a floating holiday. This settlement set the tone for the round, striking an agreement that many, including some in the media, said was “too favorable” for the City.
We took the position that, while the agreement may have been acceptable to DC 37 and its members, it did not begin to address the compensation issues for the Police Officers. Our view is that the agreements of other unions in this city should not dictate our bargaining, especially given the standard under PERB, which calls for police to police pay comparisons.
Nevertheless, as might be expected given past conduct, the City sought to have us accept in bargaining the civilian agreement. And we indicated in many ways, in many different venues, that what was acceptable to the civilian unions was not acceptable to Police Officers. We waged a media advertisement campaign, made public appearances too numerous to count, appeared on radio and TV, demonstrated at the Republican National Convention and picketed the Mayor at public appearances and other locations, including his residence, all to highlight our wage plight. While the City may not have been moved by our campaign, the public, press and ultimately the arbitrator heard our public arguments and we believe that the public campaign strengthened our position at PERB. Finally, with the City unwilling to move off of what was essentially the DC 37 package, offering in PERB mediation what we termed the 6 “insulting proposals,” we proceeded to PERB arbitration, as we had in the last round.
On June 28, 2005, after 14 days of arbitration and numerous days of other hearings and meetings, an award was issued by the PERB panel in our 2002-2004 Contract Arbitration, ending a protracted round of bargaining that began in September 2002. As you know, this produced an award of 5% per year over two years, or 10.25% compounded. While we deserved much more and that was clearly proven in our arbitration hearings, this award represented a significant upward departure from anything offered by the City across the negotiating table or during the mediation process.
It also represented the second in as many rounds that an arbitrator has awarded amounts well in excess of the civilian settlement in New York City, reversing a trend that held Police Officers salaries down throughout the 1990’s and dramatically influenced in a negative way our current salary structure. By virtue of the last two rounds of bargaining, which included four years of 5% increases plus 1.5% in additional compensation, Police Officers have received approximately 23% in increases on a compounded basis.
In addition, the arbitrator wrote an opinion that addressed in a favorable manner issues that the PBA has been looking to have decided for the better part of two decades. With respect to the quality of our presentation, the arbitrator said the “case was tried with extraordinary skill.” He continued:
“[o]ver the almost fifty years I have practiced as an arbitrator in labor management disputes and as a labor practitioner in which I have heard and decided some 10,000 grievance cases and dozens of interest cases in New York City, Boston, Chicago, New Haven and Philadelphia, none have been as comprehensive, as detailed and as well tried as this instant matter.”
Significantly, he concluded that we needed 20% (or two additional 5% increases in the next round) to bring our pay more in line with other jurisdictions, but that he was limited by PERB’s two-year time frame. We will use that part of the decision, and other favorable statements and conclusions made by this arbitrator, and discussed more fully later, as a starting point in this round of bargaining.
With respect to future hires, the arbitrator implemented a new salary schedule that we frankly believe makes little sense in light of the already existing recruiting and retention difficulties. Notwithstanding City propaganda (and its amen chorus in certain other police unions), the idea to seek salary and benefit reductions from future hires was first raised by the City in bargaining, was pushed by the City in mediation, was outlined in two City Exhibits in arbitration, 150(A)-(E) and 151(A)-(E), some of which proposed an even lower starting salary, and was adopted by the arbitrator in fashioning his award at the behest of the City, over repeated objections by the PBA.
Our position from the outset through arbitration and deliberations was that the Department is in a crisis and is unable to recruit enough qualified candidates. The NYPD and the City disputed the PBA’s position and produced high ranking members of the Department to testify under oath that the NYPD has plenty of qualified candidates. That is the genesis of the future hire salary schedule — plain and simple. They asked for it and now they will need to live with it and try to recruit under it.
For current MOS, the Arbitrator removed the Personal Leave Day (“P.L.D.”) that was lost by other police unions in previous rounds and allowed 5 additional rescheduled tours, a change with little consequence since the Department does not currently come close to fully utilizing across our bargaining unit the 10 reschedulings allowed.
For current MOS and those hired in the July 2005 academy class, the new salary schedule is set forth below:
|Academy||1st year||- $40,658|
|2nd year||- $42,648|
|3rd year||- $44,145|
|4th year||- $46,240|
|5th year||- $47,526|
|6th year||- $59,588|
With longevity, shift-differential, holiday pay and uniform allowance, an average officer at sixth year will receive just shy of $70,000 in compensation.
As to future hires, those who are appointed beginning January 2006, the following will be the salary schedule:
|After 6 months||- $32,700|
|After 1.5 years||- $34,000|
|After 2.5 years||- $38,000|
|After 3.5 years||- $41,500|
|After 4.5 years||- $44,100|
|After 5.5 years||- $59,588|
As mentioned, the opinion of the chairman of the PERB panel was historic, securing for the PBA determinations that the union had sought for decades, including the following points, as described more fully in the PBA’s concurring opinion:
Significantly, this was the first panel to recognize the difference between the standards applied at PERB versus that applied by the Office of Collective Bargaining. The standard set is a market standard, or a comparison of police wages in New York City with police wages in the top 20 cities (adjusted for cost of living) and Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester, Yonkers, Newark, Elizabeth, Jersey City, Port Authority, New York State Troopers and MTA Police. Given that we continue to lag behind these jurisdictions, future negotiations or arbitrations should be focused on how to raise our wages to place us “among the highest paid” Police Officers in the country – the objective recognized by this panel as the proper level of pay for New York City Police Officers.
To recap briefly, during negotiations, we were offered the DC 37 core package of 0 ($1,000 cash payment), 3% and 1% over three years. During mediation, we were offered the same packages described to you in our newsletter of July 2004, the so-called “insulting proposals.” In arbitration, the City continued to look for draconian givebacks.
The PERB award represented a 7.25 % greater increase than the civilian deal. Using the City’s own figures for the value of a 1% raise, this represents in excess of $180 Million in additional value for our current members.
In addition, under this award, retroactive checks were significantly greater than they would have been under the DC 37 settlement. For example, at Basic Max, without overtime, night differential and holiday pay – our members received approximately $13,782 – gross, as opposed to approximately $3,243, which was the retroactive monies we would have received under the City’s final offer. Of course, with overtime, many officers received upwards of $20,000 or more in retroactive monies, amounts that would not have been achieved under the civilian agreement.
In short, PERB, while not without its significant faults and limitations, allowed us to gain in bargaining amounts well in excess of the last offer in mediation. Absent our fight at PERB, NO City union would have received more than 0% ($1,000 lump sum) and 3% over two years, the civilian settlement.
Since our PERB award, the City reached settlements with other city unions, including the DEA, which was alluded to above. Again, while other unions should do what they feel is best for their members, we believe our arbitration award largely eclipsed those settlements. We recite below components of those agreements that were reported publicly, though we have not yet been provided by the City with all the “official” terms and costings for these agreements.
This first settlement was with the Correction Officers Union. It provides the following:
As a result of this contract and the last contract, correction officers (COBA) are now 9 months behind the Police Officers in their wage increases, effectively altering what the City has described as the longterm and historic parity relationship between Police Officers and correction officers.
The second settlement was with the teachers, which was ultimately ratified by 63% of its members. Its major features are as follows:
On October 12, the Uniformed Sanitationmen reached a tentative agreement with the City. The deal was for almost 52 months (51 months, 7 days). It provides for:
|Effective 11/23/02||- 5%|
|Effective 11/23/03||- 5%|
|Effective 03/02/05||- 3%|
|Effective 03/02/06||- 3.15%|
|1st Step||- $61,093|
|2nd Step||- $61,250|
|3rd Step||- $61,500|
|4th Step||- $62,500|
|5th Step||- $76,413|
Finally, on November 2, the DEA and the City announced a tentative agreement that was recently rejected by the membership, which provided for the following:
|After 1 year||- $60,800|
|After 2 years||- $61,100|
|After 3 years||- $61,400|
|After 4 years||- $61,700|
|After 5 years||- $62,000|
|After 6 years||- $67,992|
Not surprisingly, this proposed settlement was rejected by detectives by a vote of 1946 opposed to 1835 in favor.
First, in examining all of these settlements, it appears that the PBA still has one of the most favorable settlements in this round of bargaining. While the other unions did what they needed to do to match our raises, all settlements involved the working of more hours or giving substantial new productivity. Looking at the new salary schedules for the other police groups, it is apparent that compression has resulted in the basic salaries at certain steps between Police Officers and other ranks. For example, under the proposed settlement that was rejected by rank and file detectives, the entry level third grade detective working 5 x 2 schedule would have made $60,500, but would have worked 2163 hours (not including RDO range day) a year. The hourly pay for entry level detectives would have been less than Police Officers at basic max because Police Officers will work fewer hours. The effects would have become greater when we settled future contracts since the detectives would have been contracted until February 2008, which may represent four more contract increases (or two, two-year contract periods) for the PBA.
However, also notable in these settlements is that all of these groups, except the Sergeants, reached 4-year settlements, the last two years of which are for 3% and 3.15%, though the teachers have indicated that 3.25% was rate offered by the City for the last year, meaning that unions settling 3.15% amount appear to have conceded .10% to pay for compensation or benefits in another year. As reported in the media, through these settlements in years 3 and 4, the City is attempting to box us in for the new contract period. The extension of the UFA contract to expire on July 31, 2006, the same date a two-year PBA agreement would expire (the length of a contract awarded by PERB) is also designed by the City to strengthen its parity argument.
Turning to this round of bargaining, we spent the summer formulating our demands, meeting with the Contract Committee and sitting down with the City for our first session. Like the previous rounds, we continue to see wages as being the most important issue affecting our members. We have fashioned our wage proposal to pick up on the language and the standard set by the Goldberg Panel (and reiterated in the Schmertz Award) that we be “among the highest paid Police Officers in the nation” and in no event less than the current salary of Port Authority Police Officers, which at Basic Maximum is currently over $78,000, or over 30% more than our current basic maximum.
We also have asked for other increases in compensation in the areas of longevity, education pay, night shift differential, terrorist workload and risk premium and training incentive pay. In addition, we have asked for increased Health & Welfare Benefits, annuity contributions and uniform allowance. We have made a number of other proposals affecting health and safety, including minimum manning requirements and have reiterated a demand seeking the latest in vest technology.
On August 9, 2005, we began negotiations with the City and explained our demands. On September 20, 2005, we met again with the City for a second bargaining session. As anticipated, the City put their demands across the table, as well as commented on our demands. As far as the City’s demands go, not much has changed. The document includes the same Preamble paying lip service to the valuable work that we do. The one significant change is the City proposal on the salary schedule. The City has proposed that “there shall be a new salary schedule for Police Officers that will more appropriately reflect ratios between basic maximum salary and Sixth Grade, to be funded through increased productivity.”
While it is unclear what that proposal means in its entirety, the City did indicate that there was a desire to compress the steps of the salary schedule and it is also clear that they are again looking to fund any future wage increases through productivity savings. In other words, they need to fix the front end of the salary schedule, which they pushed the arbitrator to change in the last arbitration and they want to charge us for it. The rest of the city proposals are self explanatory and largely ones that we have seen in the past. We have copies of the city proposals, as well as our own, on the PBA website, NYCPBA.org.
The third negotiating session occurred on January 11th, where we provided our feedback and comments on the City’s proposals making clear that any City proposals seeking givebacks was moving in the wrong direction. We also expressed our desire to set up more detailed negotiations on the most important issues, wages, to determine whether the City is serious about reaching a negotiated settlement this round. We will keep you advised as those discussions proceed.
By all accounts, the fiscal news in the City, as well as the country, continues to be good. The modified financial plan for the City, released November 22, 2005, projects a surplus of $1.74 billion for fiscal year 2006. The Independent Budget Office and other sources predict even higher surpluses. As previously reported, the actual budget surplus for Fiscal Year 2005 was in excess of $3.5 million. Nevertheless, in typical fashion, the City estimates a budget deficit of $2.25 billion for Fiscal Year 2007, down from the $4.7 billion deficit projected last June. Significantly, however, is the fact that the City will have substantial surpluses for most, if not at all, of the period covering August 1, 2004, through July 31, 2006, the contract term referenced in our collective bargaining demands this round.
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As this round advances, I will continue to ask for your support and unity as we battle for the wages and other conditions of employment that we rightly deserve.
As we have seen from the contentious TWU strike, whose impact we will discuss more in the future, and the results of bargaining in the last round, the City will continue to seek major concessions in bargaining, including givebacks in our pension and health benefits. Everything we do in bargaining, including public relations and public demonstrations, has a purpose. We need to continue to educate the public and secure their support in our fight for fair pay. The public pays our salaries and we need to persuade them of the fairness of our demands.
I will keep you informed of our strategies and rationale for making the demands that we make so that you are fully versed to persuade the public of our arguments. I encourage you to familiarize yourselves in all the dynamics of bargaining in the City and with the PBA, in particular, and to publicly advocate our cause.
Although these requests of your time and efforts will no doubt inconvenience your lives, they are absolutely indispensable to our fight to secure a fair agreement. We are, as a union, no greater than our combined efforts. I am confident that with your support, we can continue to make advances forward to a fair salary and other terms and conditions of employment.
IN UNITY, WE WILL PREVAIL
Patrick J. Lynch