Saturday, January 25, 2014
Did Andrew Cuomo Really Tell The Daily News That The State Contract With The Unions Set A Pattern For The City?
The Daily News editorial board interviewed Governor Andrew Cuomo and claimed that he said the 2011 contract the State imposed upon its unions "set a pattern" for the City in its negotiation with the municipal unions. Whether he actually said that or the Daily News editorial board interpreted his response that way is questionable. However, readers to my blog know that I did compare the New York State economic problems when they negotiated the 2011 union contract with the vastly improved economic condition of New York City in 2014 Here. Since that time, the City's economic condition has improved even more than expected, with an increase of jobs (94,000) and a dropping unemployment rate (8.1%) for December. The New York State Labor Department report can be found Here. Additionally, the Governor's Secretary on ABC stated that the State has added 400,000 jobs since 2011
The only pattern that the Municipal employees are subject to is the "City pattern". The 2011 State contract could never be a pattern and was negotiated under different economic conditions. Just recently the National Mediation Board handed down a decision on the MTA's Long Island Railroad contract calling for "retroactive raises" averaging 2.83% for six years. The National Mediation Board determined that the MTA has the" ability to pay for the raises" . In December another Arbitration panel gave an 11% retroactive raise for the last three years to a small MTA union as well. In fact, while the MTA claims they cannot afford raises to their union employees, they secretly approved raises for many of their management staffs and have just agreed to "retroactive raises" with their police union.. Just like the MTA the City has the ability to pay for raises, including "retroactive pay".
To compare the State's 2011 contract to the City in 2014 is comparing "Apples and Oranges" and cannot be used as a pattern nor should it be since the economic conditions have improved drastically in the last three years. I can't see an Arbitrator using the State contract as a basis for determining the municipal contract for City unions.
One last point, the United Federation of Teachers and the New York State Nurses Association are waiting for the Arbitrators to determine if they are to get the "City pattern" for the 2009-10 budget years that everybody else received (two 4% raises). Since the City has the ability to pay, its highly likely that the arbitrators will rule that both unions should receive the "City pattern". The new "City pattern" still needs to be negotiated and I believe the City will probably try to make a five year deal with the teachers union, giving them the "retroactive raises", spread out over the five year contract and establishing a new "City pattern" for the final three years (between 1-2.5% yearly).