By adding up Arthur Goldstein's Executive Board Report from last night along with the latest update from the Chief-Leader on the Policeman's Benevolent Association negotiations with the city, we can put one plus one together to conclude that the framework raise for all city workers will be settled in the not too distant future. It won't matter if the UFT has a 300 person negotiating committee or no committee at all. We can ask for the world or ask for next to nothing. The pattern will rule.
Before delving into details on the current state of city union contracts, we have to explain pattern bargaining where the city settles on a length and annual percentage rate increase (or lack thereof) with one of its many municipal unions and it sets a pattern. Subsequently, all other unions are basically locked into that pattern and receive the same raise (or lack thereof). Pattern bargaining has been upheld again and again by arbitration panels. It's the main reason why our salaries lag behind most of the suburbs. We are compared to other city workers and not teachers in Yonkers when the city negotiates our contracts. Police officers are also set side by side with other city workers and it is why they are paid less than suburban officers.
Where do negotiations for the next round of contracts stand today?
The PBA is trying desperately to have their contract settled by an arbitration panel before another union sets a pattern. In my humble opinion, the city will never let this happen. The Chief is reporting this week that a mediator is being assigned to PBA negotiations. Since the police officers have a very good case that they are paid less than suburban officers, the PBA wants to go first and set the city pattern. They need to get to arbitration before another city union settles. However, the city knows this and they are already talking to DC 37 as we learned from UFT President Michael Mulgrew in his report to the Executive Board from Monday evening.
According to Arthur's minutes, here is a summary of the negotiations:
DC37 is negotiating. Not looking for much.
We can bank on the city settling with DC37 or another weak union like the UFT before the PBA gets to arbitration. Thus there will be a pattern established that every city union worker will be stuck with.
Please do not ask what DC 37 "not looking for much" means. I have no clue. We can speculate that it means around 2% a year or less but we really don't know.
All we know is that there is a good chance that there will be a pattern raise set in the next few months that will be used to determine the next UFT contract. On the bright side, I don't think we will have to wait eleven years to get our money like we are currently waiting until 2020 in the current contract to be paid back in full for work we did in 2009.