Ed Mullins

‘WORKLOAD DESERVES RECOGNITION’: Ed Mullins, the president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, is counting on an arbitrator to side with the union in his pursuit of a 2.25-percent pay differential tied to his members’ use of body cameras since the NYPD’s inception of the program. The union leader said he has been trying to secure the bump for more than two years. Several of the city’s other uniformed-service unions have received the differential in the last few years.  

The union representing NYPD Sergeants has entered into arbitration looking to secure a 2.25-percent differential being paid to other police officers, including Lieutenants and Captains.

The salary bump, originally given to Police Officers under a contract reached nearly five years ago, would reflect his members' commitment to the use of body cameras and neighborhood policing, said Ed Mullins, the president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association.    

'No Choice'

Mr. Mullins said he and the SBA had been trying to resolve the differential issue for “at least two years” but had achieved little progress with city labor officials. 

“They’re looking for us to pay for values that we just think are improper and we just couldn't come to an agreement, so we moved forward with arbitration,” believing they had “no choice,” he said during an Aug. 18 interview. 

The interest-arbitration proceeding before a Public Employment Relations Board panel will resume Aug. 27 with a second session.

The Police Benevolent Association succeeded in including the differential tied to the department’s neighborhood-policing initiative for a five-year contract negotiated in early 2017 but retroactive to 2012. That bump was financed in part by a reduced salary schedule for new hires, an aspect that drew objections from other police unions, which didn't want to make similar reductions for officers already with the NYPD who would be promoted into their bargaining units.  

“It’s not a lot. And that’s why we should get it. And that’s what we’re seeking. We’re always open to bargaining in the current round but I don’t see how I can move forward when you haven’t settled.”  Sergeant Mullins said. 

Cites Increased Workload

The city’s Labor Commissioner, Renee Campion, citing the bargaining impasse, declined to address the matter.

Other than the PBA, several other unions representing uniformed services have negotiated 2.25-percent differentials in recent years. They include the police Lieutenants’ and Captains’ and Department of Correction Officers’ unions. Both the Lieutenants' Benevolent Association and the Captains' Endowment Association agreed to increases in other benefits such as longevity differentials rather than added pay raises as part of a coalition that agreed in December 2019 to raises of 2.25, 2.5 and 3 percent on new contracts.

Those unions found ways to cover the extra cost of the differential to the city—because the lower turnover among their members compared to police officers increased the cost of the benefit—without gouging future members.

For example, the Captains Endowment Association on the last day of 2019 agreed to delay implementation of a third-year pay raise by four months, extended the length of its contract from 36 to 39 months, and cut one day—from 27 to 26—off the vacation schedule for all its members. This not only eliminated the need to reduce the pay scale for future promotees, it funded a $4,000 increase in salary for first- and second-year Captains above the percentage increases the union had negotiated.

That deal was subsequently easily ratified last year by CEA members.

The PBA, whose members are working under a contract that expired Aug. 1, 2017, has rejected the basic 7.95-percent raises agreed to by the coalition and is awaiting an arbitration process that will begin Nov. 30 and continue into next year. 

'No Sense at All' 

Mr. Mullins, who has taken the lead on contract negotiations, said he sensed the city was not bargaining in good faith in is asking for the union to give something up to pay for the differential—as did the other police superior-officer unions, explaining that “to me, that’s just ludicrous.”

“We just think we’ve been working with the body cameras since their inception and the workload needs to be recognized and we don’t think that what’s taken place is fair and the city’s just been dragging their feet on the whole thing,” the union leader said. “You gave us additional duties and you want me to give additional value back to you in order to get paid. That makes no sense at all.”

The SBA’s most recent contract expired a year ago. Negotiations on a new deal have not yet begun. 

“I can’t go forward when I haven’t settled the past,” Mr. Mullins said.

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