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Bloomberg Administration Announces Approach To Union Contracts

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Every municipal union contract with the city has expired, and though the Bloomberg administration announced a carrot-and-stick approach on Wednesday to get some of them new deals before the mayor leaves City Hall, the city's major unions aren't signing on so far. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

If you work for the city, you don't have a contract.

Under Mayor Michael Bloomberg, every labor contract has expired.

But now, the Bloomberg administration is approaching the bargaining table.

"The Bloomberg administration is prepared to settle a new contract with any union with wage increases that agrees to two conditions: no retroactive salary increases and a meaningful contribution to health care costs structured in a way that incentivizes employees to live healthy," said Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway.

Once they heard the offer, the city's largest labor leaders weren't taking a seat.

"To turn around now and say that 'Look, this is how you get a contract done,' which is zeros and pay more into your health, that's a slap in the face to the unions of New York City," said Harry Nespoli of the Municipal Labor Committee.

"The mayor should just do us all a favor right now and maybe he should leave office now, because we really deserve more respect than anything he's ever given us," said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers.

In front of a budget watchdog group, Holloway said giving unions raises retroactively, going back to 2008, could cost $8 billion.

"Are raises affordable or realistic? The simple answer is no," Holloway said.

"Cas graduated from Harvard or wherever it is he's from," Nespoli said. "He should go back and look up labor relations."

But it goes beyond raises, and to the rising cost of health care and benefits, specifically the skyrocketing price of health care premiums.

Holloway said the city wants a new provider and a new system to encourage city employees to live healthier or pay up.

Not only do union leaders not like this offer in general, but they also told NY1 that there isn't enough time to negotiate in the remainder of the Bloomberg administration. They would rather wait until the next mayor.

"To do it right, it's going to take a lot more than 277 days," Nespoli said.

It's unclear whether these ideas will be picked up by a new administration.

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