Communications Workers of America Local 1180 has agreed to defer scheduled city payments totaling $15.9 million to its welfare fund for both active employees and retirees until late next year in return for a no-layoff guarantee that will extend at least through next June 30 to produce savings for the city in the current fiscal year.
The agreement, announced by both the union and city officials Nov. 12, continues as series of deals under which municipal unions have deferred either back wages, scheduled pay increases, or city contributions to their benefit funds to meet Mayor de Blasio's demand for $1 billion in savings that he said was necessary to avoid up to 22,000 layoffs.
Got $696M So Far
To this point, $696 million in savings has been secured, with the bulk of it coming from an arbitration award under which the United Federation of Teachers deferred the payment of $450 million in back pay until next July and District Council 37 pushed back the payment of $164 million in scheduled city benefit-increases until the fiscal year that begins that month.
In all cases, the city has agreed to extend the no-layoff guarantee through June 2022 if it receives $5 billion in new aid from the Federal Government or the state provides that much in additional funding or increased borrowing authority. Both the de Blasio administration and the unions hope that the election of Joe Biden as President could produce a significant stimulus package that would include aid to state and local governments that has been stymied by President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Local 1180 President Gloria Middleton in a statement said she was optimistic "the President-elect will get Federal dollars flowing to states that have been the [hardest-hit] by the pandemic. But for now, our members' jobs have been saved and calmer heads have prevailed."
The Mayor thanked Ms. Middleton "for her partnership in these tough times. I also look forward to working with the Biden Administration on a strong stimulus deal."
The welfare-fund deferral involves a portion of the city contributions that were scheduled for early next year. They will now be made in three installments: on or before next Oct. 31, Nov. 30 and Dec. 31.
COBA Hearing Nov. 24
The one union that has outright rebuffed demands by the city as too steep has been the Correction Officers' Benevolent Association, whose president, Benny Boscio, said late last month that the Mayor was asking too much in return for a no-layoff pledge that he noted was conditioned on the city's fiscal condition not growing significantly worse during the final half of the fiscal year.
After Labor Commissioner Renee Campion agreed to an expedited arbitration of the dispute, Martin Scheinman, who quickly issued the award that resolved the stalemate with the UFT, was the choice of the two sides Nov. 10 to resolve the COBA case. A hearing has been set for Nov. 24, a spokesman for Mr. Boscio said Nov. 12.
The UFT dustup was resolved so quickly because the 2014 contract from which the huge back-pay award stemmed contained a clause stating that any difference between the two sides on how those wages were being disbursed would be submitted to Mr. Scheinman, who had served as a mediator during negotiations on that deal, for a binding ruling.
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