De Blasio administration settles first labor contract

Photo courtesy of NYC Department of Environmental Protection

The de Blasio administration is taking its first steps towards settling labor contracts that were left unresolved under Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

An agreement has been reached with 200 Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) officers who have been working without a contract since 2005, according to Kenneth Wynder, president of the Law Enforcement Employees Benevolent Association, which represents the officers.

The terms of the settlement, decided on  Feb. 13, include raises of 5 percent for 2005 and 4 percent for 2006 and 2007, with about $50,000 to $55,000 in back pay, Wynder said.

It will also double their differential plan for working nights to 10 percent and up their uniform allowance to $1,000.

The agreement settles their contract to 2008, according to Wynder. They plan on returning to the bargaining table with the city in July, he said.

“It’s [a step] in the right direction and we are very happy with the new administration,” Wynder said.

The officers tried to strike a deal with the Bloomberg administration several times, but the city refused to concede to any of their demands, according to Wynder.

Bloomberg left office with more than 150 labor contracts still unresolved, some dating back as far as 2008.

Those contracts are a large concern for the city’s budget.

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s preliminary budget, presented on Feb. 12, didn’t address those negotiations.

The budget does provide extra money by restoring $1 billion to the Retiree Health Benefits Trust Fund and is increasing the city’s general reserve funds from $300 to $600 million.

During the presentation, de Blasio said giving workers back pay, which could reportedly cost more than $7 billion, is not off the table. At an unrelated press conference Tuesday, he said the deal on back pay struck with the DEP officers, however, didn’t indicate his intentions with future negotiations because that was a special situation.

Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers, said in an interview with WYNC Monday that back pay would be a “big issue” in contract negotiations with the de Blasio administration.




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