May 30, 2013
By Marc Bussanich
New York, NY—The city’s largest public sector union, District Council 37, endorsed John Liu for mayor at City Hall yesterday, who said that he would offer retroactive pay for over 300,000 city employees working without contracts for several years. Watch Video
Since Deputy Mayor Cass Holloway spoke before the Citizens Budget Commission in April about offering new labor contracts without retroactive pay, different analysts are predicting that a big black hole will soon appear in the city’s budget.
The CBC released a recent report, “Seven Things New Yorkers Should Know About Municipal Labor Contracts in New York City,” which cites the cost of $300 million for a one percent wage increase for the entire city workforce.
And on Memorial Day, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he wasn’t budging from his last budget as mayor that excludes pay raises for city workers.
But Liu said the mayor still has time to resolve outstanding municipal labor contracts.
“This budget is still the responsibility of this current mayor and I’m not going to let him off the hook on that,” said Liu.
Liu blamed Mayor Bloomberg for wanting a third term because of his management prowess but has allowed labor contracts to flounder in his last term.
“What has been done in this third term to take care of one of the most fundamental management issues and yet nothing has been done,” Liu said.
He added that as mayor he would partially backdate raises for the city’s workforce of 300,000.
“There’s going to be negotiation; it’s probably not going to be the entire amount of retroactivity, but it’s not going to be zero either because that wouldn’t be fair to the city workers who under previous eight years of the Bloomberg administration were time and time again given retroactive pay raises.”
Liu was asked how his mayoral administration would be able to retroactively pay the city’s unions that will cost billions.
“We have some money already that the city should reclaim from consultants,” Liu said, referring to the hundreds of millions of wasteful spending revealed by his office’s auditing of technology contracts.
Santos Crespo, president of Local 372 of DC 37, said DC 37 delegates voted overwhelmingly to endorse Mr. Liu because he has been a diligent controller.
“When we were asking questions about big gaps in the budget, and why we were being targeted consistently for layoffs, particularly the lowest-paid, which is my local that has lost over 2,000 members, Liu was able to ascertain where money was going and in fact stopped a lot of the outsourcing by not approving certain contracts.”
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