Mayor Eric Adams is giving “Let’s Make a Deal” host Wayne Brady a run for his money this week when it comes to giving out prized contracts to the city’s municipal workforce.
Two days after striking a tentative agreement with the United Federation of Teachers, hizzoner pulled back the curtains Thursday on $4 billion in pending labor deals with a coalition of unions representing uniformed workers across the city’s police, fire, sanitation and correction departments.
Mayor Adams struck the five-year agreement with the Uniformed Officers Coalition (UOC) — a collective of 11 unions representing more than 32,000 municipal workers across the NYPD, FDNY, Department of Sanitation (DSNY) and Department of Correction (DOC). Labor groups in the UOC include the Lieutenants Benevolent Association (LBA), the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA), the Correction Officers Benevolent Association (COBA) and the Sanitation Officers Association (SOA).
During a June 15 City Hall news conference announcing the pact, Adams — a former NYPD captain — said the deal shows the importance of uniformed workers to the fabric of the city by giving them the resources they need to live in New York.
“This agreement underscores how important our uniformed officers are to our city’s success,” Adams said. “They are the bedrock that the city is built on … The prerequisite to prosperity. as I’ve said over and over again, is public safety and justice.”
“Not only are we supporting the working people who keep our city safe and clean, but we’re also providing them with the resources they need to support themselves and their families,” he added. “For far too long, that has not been the match that these union leaders have had with these contract negotiations. But they have it now.”
With this yet-to-be finalized settlement, Adams said, 75% of the city’s labor force is now either under a ratified or tentative contract.
The 11 contracts reached on Thursday follow the negotiating pattern established by the $5.5 billion agreement between the administration and the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) — the NYPD’s largest union — inked earlier this year. Each of the contracts include raises of 3.25% for their first two years, 3.50% for their third and fourth years and 4% in their fifth years.
While all 11 contracts last for five year periods, they start and end at different times, with the earliest retroactive contract starting in August 2020 and the latest one beginning on June 1 of this year.
All of the agreements are completely funded by money set aside in the city’s labor reserve in Adams’ Fiscal Year 2024 executive budget.
Lou Turco, president of the LBA (who spoke on behalf of the 11 union presidents), said the contract is fair for city employees who couldn’t work from home during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We don’t have the option to work from home,” Turco said. “Sanitation has to go to work everyday and clean the streets, plow the streets. Fire has to go to work everyday, they have to go to that burning building and get people out, put the fire out. Corrections has to go to work everyday, into the correctional facilities and keep some very dangerous people inside so that they don’t hurt New Yorkers.”
Other labor deals the administration has reached with unions so far, like with the PBA and District Council 37 (DC37), have included so-called “flexible work” programs. For the PBA, that came in the form of a pilot where officers in several precincts have the option to work longer hours over fewer days; and for DC37, that meant another pilot allowing some city employees to work up to two days a week from home.
It remains unclear, however, if any of the 11 tentative contracts unveiled Thursday will contain similar initiatives. But the mayor made it clear any program negotiated in these contracts probably won’t come in the form of a work-from-home option for the uniformed employees because of the nature of their work.
“They can’t do this remotely,” Adams said. “You can’t put out a fire from home. You can’t get a gun off the street from home. That’s the uniqueness about the men and women that they represent. This is not a remote profession.”
Each union will get the chance to bargain individually with the city for additional benefits in their specific agreements, said city Office of Labor Relations (OLR) Commissioner Renee Campion, like flexible work options.