At his first State of the City address (delivered at LaGuardia Community College), Mayor Bill de Blasio said that New York City faces “unprecedented fiscal challenges.” Among the most serious is that 152 municipal union contracts are unresolved, including that of the PSC.
Because Mayor Michael Bloomberg made the political decision in his last three budgets to deplete the entire City “labor reserve” and leave no money for collective bargaining, no municipal union was willing to settle a new contract with the Bloomberg administration.
Now all eyes are on the new mayor’s progressive agenda and the outcome of legal proceedings for the United Federation of Teachers and the New York State Nurses Association. The rulings these unions receive on retroactive salary increases could influence the economic offers made to all other unions, including the PSC.
The position of the PSC is doubly complex, because funding for the union’s contract must be approved by New York State as well as New York City. “We are prepared to work cooperatively and to fight for the contract we deserve,” said PSC President Barbara Bowen. “We understand the fiscal challenges, but both the City and the State have surpluses, and there is enough money for a fair settlement at CUNY.”