A GOOD DAY FOR THE ‘WHITE SHIRTS’: Cops in the ranks of Captain and above in the NYPD will soon vote on a contract package that would give those with at least 25 years in the department raises and differentials of 10.25 percent over 39 months plus other benefit gains, without having to gouge the pay scale for future promotees. The likelihood of it getting rank-and-file ratification grew when the terms were unanimously approved by the Captains Endowment Association’s board.

The Captains Endowment Association Dec. 31 announced revisions to its tentative contract that allowed the union to get the 2.25-percent raise obtained by the Police Benevolent Association in the last round of bargaining on top of the 7.95-percent pay hike it agreed to 13 days earlier as part of a coalition of eight uniformed unions.

It was able to get that extra increase, which will come in the form of two differentials that are pensionable but not rolled into base salaries, improve first- and second-year salary steps for Captains effective Nov. 1, 2020, and gain health-and-welfare-fund boosts for both active and retired members through several relatively minor concessions. They included delaying a third-year pay raise by four months and extending the length of the pact from 36 to 39 months.

Losing Day Off by 2022

Under the deal’s terms, which still must be ratified by the CEA rank and file, all members of the union—which also represents Inspectors, Deputy Inspectors, Deputy Chiefs and Police Surgeons—will have their vacation schedules reduced by one day, from 27 to 26, as of Jan. 1, 2022. The CEA also agreed to settle litigation it had brought regarding the NYPD body-camera program.

In a letter sent to his members, Mr. Richter—who announced his retirement after 12 years as president the same day and could not be reached for comment afterward—noted that the terms “met with the unanimous approval of the CEA Board of Officers.” He informed them that contract ballots and salary charts for all ranks affected would be sent out over the next week, with ballots to be counted at the end of January. He noted that successor Chris Monahan had joined him in making the presentation to the union’s board.

Mr. Richter had previously spoken of the challenge in gaining the 2.25-percent raise the PBA obtained nearly three years ago without having to make major concessions. The PBA had agreed to sharply reduce the salary scale for future members to offset the cost to the de Blasio administration of the increase, which went beyond the basic pattern set by the uniformed coalition under a December 2014 contract. Such reductions have been politically problematic for leaders of superior-officer unions in the NYPD, with the headaches compounded by the fact that the lower attrition rates for the ranks they represent than exist for Police Officers meant they had to make added concessions to keep the city’s costs in line.

In this case, Mr. Richter appears to have threaded the needle with relatively little pain not only for current members but for future promotees into the union. Not only is there no reduction in the salary scale, but first- and second-year Captains will have their salaries increased by $4,000 above the basic pay raises as of Nov. 1. That, along with the first two of the three raises that would be implemented before that, would will boost first-year pay for Captains to $138,600, and for those in their second year to $138,620. The starting rate is currently $128,212, with second-year Captains getting $130,693.

By the final raise that takes effect Sept. 1, 2021, starting salary for Captains would reach $142,758, and maximum pay for the rank would be $176,449 if the deal were ratified.

Other Benefit Gains

A fact sheet issued by the union indicated that as of May 1, those with at least five years on the job as Captains will get an additional differential of $1,285, with those in higher ranks receiving $1,379, which is payable for all those with five years in the rank of Captain or above, regardless of their time in the higher rank. Effective May 1, 2022—three months before the pact would expire that July 31—those with at least 25 years’ service in the NYPD would get a further differential of $2,651.

As the fact sheet indicated, the May 1, 2020 differential has a value of .75 percent, and the May 1, 2022 differential's value is 1.50 percent, for a total increase of 2.25 percent that matches the extra raise won by the PBA three years ago. One difference between the two is that the Police Officer union's "neighborhood policing" raise went to all officers in the bargaining unit, regardless of their time on the job when it became effective. The CEA's members, assuming they meet the service requirements before they retire, will eventually get both differentials.

And effective July 1, 2021, there would be a $100 health-and-welfare-fund increase for active members of the union and a $166 bump for its retirees.

Obtaining the extra benefits under the “unit bargaining” phase of the talks required changes in length and payment schedule that would begin with the third year of the contract. The coalition deal had provided for the basic raises of 2.25 percent, 2.5 percent and 3 percent to take effect on the first day of each contract year, which in the CEA’s case had been May 1 of 2019, 2020 and 2021.

The revised deal would push the 3-percent raise’s effective date back to Sept. 1, 2021, and the expiration date would move from May 1, 2022 to July 31 of that year. Those delays offset the city’s costs for a deal whose value to Captains with at least 25 years’ service would go from the 7.95 percent under the coalition deal to 10.25 percent.

Aids City vs. PBA

Should CEA members ratify the terms, it would come at a particularly opportune time for Labor Commissioner Renee Campion. A contract arbitration with the PBA is scheduled to begin Jan. 27 and run at least through Feb. 14.

While the union has always argued that its members’ compensation should be compared to that of Police Officers in neighboring departments rather than those in higher NYPD ranks, the city has often had success in convincing arbitrators of the importance of maintaining salary relationships among those ranks.

Ms. Campion, noting that the CEA deal was finalized 13 days after the coalition agreement, said in a Jan. 2 phone interview, "It goes to how quickly we're trying to get things done" with all eight unions in the uniformed coalition.

As to the impact the accord might have on the PBA arbitration if it were ratified just as that process began, she said the coalition deal was designed to serve as "the pattern for other uniformed groups, including the Police Officers."

And, she added, "Our door remains open to still sit down with [the PBA] to try and work out a voluntary settlement." 


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