COBA

Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association delegates, given additional time to consider a tentative contract deal providing a 7.95-percent raise and an additional 2.25-percent boost in the form of two longevity differentials, reversed course and voted to approve the terms Feb. 10, paving the way for the deal to be sent to union members for final ratification.

The tally was 37 in favor and 26 against, with about 10 delegates absent from the union meeting where the vote was held. The initial delegate vote after COBA President Elias Husamudeen reached the accord Jan. 16 with Labor Commissioner Renee Campion had been 11 in favor and 33 against, with 25 abstentions.

Got More Time, More Details

husamudeen

ELIAS HUSAMUDEEN: Gets approval on second try.

Mr. Husamudeen in the wake of that rejection attributed it to younger union delegates balking at the traditional COBA practice of laying out contract details over the course of a two-hour meeting and then asking for a vote on whether to submit it to the rank and file. Late last month, he predicted that having sent the delegates a 12-page booklet explaining all of the terms and giving them additional time to consider it, the deal would pass muster.

Ballots were to be mailed to members on Feb. 19 and had to be returned with a postmark of no later than March 19.

The deal would run for 36 months, with a 2.25-percent raise retroactive to March 1, 2019, a second hike to take effect this June 1, and a 3-percent raise to be implemented June 1, 2021.

As part of the unit-bargaining portion of the contract, there would be a $365 longevity increase that would take effect June 1, 2021 for all those who by that time had five years on the job, and one of $1,277 payable on that date to all those with at least 20 years’ service. Those not yet meeting the service requirements by that point would become eligible for each differential upon marking their anniversaries at both steps on the longevity scale.

Evened Up With PBA

Those upgrades match the value of a 2.25-percent raise the Police Benevolent Association negotiated three years ago that exceeded the value of the pacts agreed to previously by other uniformed unions. Although the cost of that hike to the de Blasio administration had been offset by the PBA agreeing to reductions in the salary scale for future hires, members of the other unions created pressure on their leaders to win an equivalent benefit.

COBA was able to do so by having the longevity hikes pegged to the anniversary dates when they would take effect for individual members, combined with three-month delays in the effective dates for the final two wage increases. Doing it in that fashion permitted the union to leave its salary scale intact for future members.

Once the benefits were implemented, those with five years on the job would have their annual longevity payment jump from $4,365 to $4,730, those at 10 years would have their differential go to $5,730, and 15-year vets would get $6,730. Those with 20 years’ service would have the longevity payment increase from the current $7,365 to $9,007 with both differentials rolled in.

Welfare-Fund Boosts

The deal also includes welfare-fund upgrades: $100 apiece for all active and retired members,

retroactive to Feb. 1, plus lump-sum increases from the city to the COBA welfare fund of $3 million retroactive to that date and a $2-million payment as of Feb. 28, 2022, the final day of the tentative deal.

There would also be a $104-per-member annuity-fund increase retroactive to Feb. 1, and the city has agreed to create an education fund for COBA members that by March 1 would contain $3 million.


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