Union pay up in down economy

| NY Torch

Wall Street has been shaken to its foundations, state and city revenues are plummeting, the long term fiscal outlook grows grimmer every week — and Mayor Bloomberg today announced yet another generous “pattern” deal with a municipal labor union.  The 8,300 members of the Correction Officers Benevolent Association (COBA) will receive compensation increases averaging nearly 10 percent over the next two years, raising their basic maximum salary to $76,488 before overtime, differentials and other extras.

COBA is the third municipal union to agree on a new contract including 4 percent annual base pay raises in 2009 and 2010.  The others were the United Firefighters Association, which announced its deal two weeks ago, and Teamsters Local 237, which set the overall pattern for this round of municipal bargaining with a two-year deal announced by the mayor on Sept. 16 — the day after Lehman Brothers went bust.  The contracts do not include significant labor givebacks or productivity gains.

Next in line for raises: Unions representing sanitation workers and police detectives, both of which invoked contract re-openers in response to a May 2008 arbitration award that gave city police officers a larger pay raise for a previous contract period.