Thursday, April 18, 2013
Mayor Bloomberg Proposes New Municipal Union Contracts - On His Terms.
Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway at the Citizens Budget Commission unexpectedly stated that the City is willing to negotiate raises for City workers which is a change from Mayor Bloomberg's "no raises without givebacks stance" from before. This apparent change in the Mayor's attitude is his realization that he will go down in history as the only Mayor who left office leaving all municipal unions without a contract. Moreover, he is very aware that the next Mayor will be under the gun to resolve these contracts, some like the teachers, that has been without a contract for four years! He also realizes that the New Mayor will lay blame on him by claiming "he kicked the can down the road" and left the new Mayor with a mess. This will put a real crimp on Mayor Bloomberg's legacy
However, in Deputy Cas Holloway statement about a new contract Mayor Bloomberg did include two"conditions" to any union willing to negotiate a contract with the City. First, he said that the contract cannot include any "retroactive raises" and that the union members will need to start paying a significant part of their health benefits. Both "conditions" are non-starters and I highly doubt any union will seriously negotiate with the Bloomberg Administration since it has only eight months left in office. Furthermore, the Mayor would like to establish a "new City pattern" and ignore the old one with it's "retroactive raises", if he can only get one union (DC37?) to strike a deal with the City. This way Mayor Bloomberg does not go down as the Mayor who refused to negotiate with his municipal employees and left the problem for the next Mayor to solve. Not a good thing for the Mayor's legacy as a financial genius.
I predict that no union will bother to negotiate with the Bloomberg Administration and wait until the new Mayor takes office, likely a Democrat who usually are more union friendly. Considering that the City finances are slowly improving and the national recession is just a fading memory, it will be difficult for the new Mayor to plead poverty and refuse to negotiate a fair contract, complete with "retroactive raises" for the Municipal unions going forward.