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The Lieutenants Benevolent Association has negotiated a differential totaling $3,049 for all members with at least five years in the rank as its form of matching the 2.25-percent additional raise secured by the Police Benevolent Association three years ago.

The union obtained welfare-fund increases of $100 for active members and $166 for retirees on top of the 7.95-percent raise it negotiated last month as part of a coalition of eight uniformed unions. It was required, in order to even out the city’s costs, to extend its contract by three months and 15 days beyond the three-year agreement reached by the coalition. The terms still must be ratified by the union’s rank and file.

Raise Dates Unchanged

The effective dates of the pay raises were not altered from the coalition deal despite the contract extension. The first raise of 2.25 percent would be retroactive to Nov. 1, 2018, the day after the existing LBA contract expired, followed by a 2.5-percent hike retroactive to last Nov. 1, with a final 3-percent increase to take effect Nov. 1 of this year. The contract would run through Feb. 15, 2022.

The added differential was the prime feature of the LBA unit bargaining, which addresses issues unique to its members that were not covered under the coalition deal. Those members with at least five years as Lieutenants would qualify for an initial differential of $1,694 effective July 1, 2021, equaling 1.25 percent of the 2.25 percent target set by the PBA three years ago. The final 1 percent, amounting to $1,355, would take effect Nov. 1, 2021, swelling the total differential to $3,049, according to city Labor Commissioner Renee Campion.

All members of the union would receive the full differential once they marked their fifth anniversary in the rank.

The welfare-fund increases for both active and retired members of the union would take effect July 1, 2021, assuming the terms are ratified.

The additional benefits were partly offset by a credit the union received for its members’ participation in the NYPD’s body-camera program.

Kept Pay Scale Intact

A key element for LBA President Lou Turco in obtaining the 2.25-percent added payment was to avoid making cuts to the union’s pay scale, which was how the PBA had funded its added raise in January 2017. While the Police Officers union several times beginning in 1988 has cut its pay scale and slowed the progression to maximum salary for future hires to fund additional benefits for veterans, the leaders of superior-officer unions among the city’s uniformed forces have been averse to taking that course, partly because it has wound up costing them politically on numerous occasions.

In fact, it was the then-president of the LBA, James Gebhardt, who in 1988 became the first to lament the likelihood that the only way he could match large increases in longevity pay negotiated by the PBA that spring would be to reduce the pay scale for future Lieutenants just as the entry-level union had for future Police Officers. Referring to the term popularly used for those not yet in a job or rank, he said that sooner or later, “The unborn will grow big enough to eat me.”

Those words proved prophetic, perhaps earlier than he anticipated: he wound up losing his next bid for re-election, ending a 14-year run as LBA president.

The LBA unit-bargaining deal is somewhat different from what was negotiated by the Captains Endowment Association, which got the first such agreement while extending its contract by three months, to 39, and delaying its final raise by four months. Ratification ballots for the overall CEA pact have been sent out and are due back late this month.

The flurry of unit-bargaining activity comes as the de Blasio administration prepared for a contract-arbitration proceeding with the PBA that is scheduled to begin Jan. 27 and have 10 hearings completed by Feb. 14.

Sources have indicated that the city is close to a unit-bargaining agreement with the Correction Officers Benevolent Association as well.


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