Municipal Government

Traffic Agents Reach ‘Landmark’ Contract Deal

January 28, 2016
By Steven Wishnia

Commissioner Bob Linn & President Syed Rahim

New York, NY – Communications Workers of America Local 1182, the union representing New York’s more than 2,100 traffic enforcement agents, has reached a tentative contract agreement with the city, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Jan. 26.

The proposed deal would cover almost eight years, from March 2010 through December 2017, and increase agents’ pay by a total of 10%, with a 3% raise coming in September and the rest retroactive, plus a $1,000 bonus if it’s ratified. It would also begin step-pay increases, raises based on length of service, and create an annuity program for agents.

The agreement includes both Level 1 traffic enforcement agents, who write summonses, and Level 2 agents, who direct traffic. The city’s about 190 sanitation enforcement agents, who are also represented by Local 1182, are in negotiations for a separate contract.

“I am thrilled that a landmark tentative agreement has been reached between New York City and Traffic Enforcement Agents,” Local 1182 President Syed Rahim said in a message to members. “I want to express my deep gratitude to all involved for producing a historic agreement that begins to fairly compensate the members of CWA Local 1182 for the work they do to make New York the greatest city in the world.”

“Our traffic enforcement agents keep our roads moving and our pedestrians, bikers, and drivers safe. This agreement means they’ll get the fair wages they deserve, while protecting New York City’s fiscal health,” de Blasio said in a statement.

The proposed agreement follows the pattern set by contracts with other civilian city employees, says Amy Spitalnick of the Office of Management and Budget. When de Blasio took office in January 2014, all municipal unions had been working under expired contracts for more than three years, but settlements have been reached with 95% of the workforce, the mayor’s office says. The city estimates that the traffic agents’ contract will cost $64.4 million, but savings on health-care costs will offset more than two-thirds of that.

The city also agreed to contribute $261 per year for each full-time employee to an annuity fund. That “will provide a financial boost for the agents upon retirement,” Rahim said.

It has also agreed to negotiate with the union on “gainsharing,” possibly paying agents extra for out-of-title tasks such as responding to traffic accidents and building collapses. That, says Rahim, frees police officers to concentrate on serious crime and saves the city money.

“We don’t mind engaging in some of these duties, but believe we should share in some of the savings,” he said in the message to members. “We are thrilled that the city recognizes it and will immediately enter into discussions.”

CWA District One Vice President Dennis Trainor called the deal “a breakthrough contract settlement,” and said in a statement that the union was “wholeheartedly recommending this contract to the members.”

January 28, 2016

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