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Labor Leaders Say Mayor Still Has Work Ahead With Settling Contracts

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Reaction to the teachers union deal was overwhelmingly positive, but as labor
leaders also made clear at May Day events Thursday, the mayor still has a lot of work ahead when it comes to settling contracts. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

One down, 150 to go. That's about how many more municipal unions are still without a contract, and at a May Day rally that drew hundreds Thursday, labor leaders made clear they too will be looking for a deal at least as good as the teachers union.

"We're hoping that we get if not equal to, even maybe a little bit better," said Santos Crespo, president of Local 372. "We're all in the same position here. We're all four, five years without a contract.”

"From what I've seen in the UFT deal, it meets the needs of their members. Fine and dandy," said Arthur Cheliotes, president of CWA Local 1180. "We have to see the bigger deal as to how we fit into it and how we can negotiate something for our members."

Still, it's clear that there is a new relationship between labor and City Hall under Mayor Bill de Blasio after a years-long standoff with the previous administration.

"We hope that with him in office, we'll be able to turn back the clock on 12 years of a terrible time with Mayor Bloomberg," said Raglan George, executive director of District Council 1707.

Elected officials, meanwhile, were overwhelmingly positive.

"I really want to give congratulations to our mayor," said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

"I want to praise Mayor de Blasio," said City Comptroller Scott Stringer.

Stringer had been pushing the mayor to settle labor contracts to help clarify the city's fiscal picture.

"I'm going to be looking at the numbers, but I have to tell you, the mayor's off to a great start," he said.

Not all is well with municipal labor. The Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, or PBA, which is the city's police union, is sharply at odds with the de Blasio administration, saying that the city is insisting on no raises in the first three years of their deal.

"Any time there's zeroes in a proposal, it's unacceptable," Lynch said. "It doesn't fix the problem of New York City police officers being the lowest-paid police officers in the country."

On Thursday, a state labor board declared the two sides at an impasse, meaning they will now go to arbitration.

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