De Blasio, Municipal Union Reach Deal

By Nicholas Zifcak, Epoch Times
February 17, 2014 Updated: July 18, 2015

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration resolved its first municipal labor contract with the city’s 200 environmental officers, the Daily News reported.

Part of the Law Enforcement Employees Benevolent Association, the officers have been without of contract for nine years. Each will receive on average more than $50,000 in back pay.

The environmental officers, who carry guns while on duty, are responsible for protecting the city’s reservoirs, including patrolling the city’s upstate watershed.

The officers’ situation is unique from other municipal unions as their contract expired earlier than the city’s other unions, in 2005, prior to the recession, at which time renegotiation of city union contracts were largely on hold.

The agreement puts their back pay on par with pay raises given city police for those years: 5 percent for 2005, and 4 percent in 2006 and 2007.

Their agreement is not expected to be a template for resolving other outstanding city union contracts, which began expiring in 2008.

In announcing his budget last week, de Blasio wouldn’t say how much money the city has set aside to resolve outstanding labor contracts. He has said, however, that resolving them is a priority.

Under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, contracts for all of the city’s 300,000 municipal workers lapsed. Bloomberg insisted municipal worker’s health care and pension plans were unsustainable, and he would not agree to union demands for back pay. The requested back pay would cost the city more than $7 billion.