The Post has a good editorial today on Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to cut pension costs by taking away a “bonus” check from uniformed workers who have already retired:

[W]hile the mayor has standing to ask for relief, the notion is fanciful, if not fantastical: Albany simply won’t single out police and fire retirees.

Nor should it.

The mayor originally proposed cutting new FDNY/NYPD hires out of the system — and that might have flown.

But he swiftly trained his sights on current retirees — folks who served the city honorably, in the full expectation that the cash would be there when they retired. … It is … a negotiated benefit.

Bloomberg would be on much more solid ground if he … moved more convincingly to seek support for across-the-board pension reform for new municipal employees. …

As it is, he’s burning political capital by the bushel.

The Post is correct.

It was not a good idea for former Mayor Lindsay to award and for Mayor Koch to expand this $12,000 annual “extra check” benefit decades ago. Nor was it a good idea for Albany to allow it; the city is not supposed to bargain pension benefits with workers, but rather follow Albany’s legal framework.

But the city did what it did long ago, and Albany agreed to it — and generations of workers since then have planned the financial aspects of their retirements with the expectation that New York would make good on its contractual agreement.

Grandstanding against current retirees, then, is only going to win the mayor a long court fight with an uncertain outcome. Furthermore, anything that makes mayor look capricious and unreasonable makes the unions’ intransigence on any issues seem justified. Why should unions cooperate with someone who wants to renege on a promise made ages ago?

Mayor Bloomberg should dial down the “bonus” talk and concentrate on fixing benefits — including eliminating the extra check — for future workers, not today’s retirees.

You may also like

How a Medicaid ‘Cut’ Could Lead to More Unionization of Home Care Aides

A money-saving maneuver in the newly enacted Medicaid budget could end up increasing costs in the long term – by paving the way for more unionization of the state's burgeoning home health workforce. Read More

Pols Craft More Handouts for Sinking Construction Unions

New York’s construction unions, facing a decades-long decline, are employing a time-honored tactic: getting state government to stop people from competing with them. Read More

Union Rallies Long Island Pols Against NYC Kids

New York’s statewide teachers union has been cashing in political chits as it seeks to block new charter schools from opening in New York City, asking the senators and assemblymembers Read More

New York’s pricey hospitals draw pushback from labor

A City Council hearing in Manhattan on Thursday promises a rare scene in New York politics: hospitals playing defense. The council is debating whether to establish a watchdog agency focused on the high price of hospital care in New York, with a goal of helping the city and other employers contain the rapidly rising cost of health benefits for workers. Read More

Utility board turns into union tool

The idea that the PSC would artificially drive electricity costs higher to benefit a political constituency represents a new low. Read More

New Docs Raise Big Questions About NY’s Megafab Mega-Deal

The Hochul Administration published a pair of documents concerning the Micron Megafab deal that raise more questions than they answer. Read More

On College Readiness, Comptroller Asks Wrong Question, Delivers Flawed Answer 

Graduation rates are rising while standards for graduation are falling. It begs the question: What number of graduating students are college ready? Read More

A Look at Covid Learning Loss in NYC

New York City set an example worthy of approbation and emulation by publishing their grade 3-8 test results in math and English language arts. Read More