Which public worker union contracts are next up for renewal?
Two of the biggest unions representing public workers serving New York City – the United Federation of Teachers and Transport Workers Union Local 100 (TWU) – are in the news this week over the future of their contracts. Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced he will press for strengthened teacher evaluations, raises for high-performing teachers and the removal of educators at 33 of the city’s poorest performing schools. The teacher’s union, which represents 75,000 teachers, vehemently opposes the proposals. The Transport Workers’ contract negotiations with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority reached an impasse Sunday after the two organizations failed to come to an agreement on a new contract. The TWU, which represents 35,000 bus and subway workers, has agreed to continue working even though its contract has expired.
The tough bargaining between the city and unions got us at the New York World wondering – which New York City civil service contracts are coming up for negotiation next?
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What we found
In 2012 a handful of mostly smaller unions will be renegotiating their contracts. According to the city’s Independent Budget Office, the Detectives Endowment Association, NYPD Captains Endowment Association and Sanitation Officers Association are all scheduled to negotiate their contracts this year: the police unions in March and sanitation in July. The number of unions with expiring contracts, however, is outnumbered by those – like the teachers and transit workers – whose members are now working without contracts at all. District Council 37, the city’s largest union, has not had a contract since March 2010. Similarly the Uniformed Firefighters Association, Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association and Council of School Supervisors and Administrators have been working without contracts for as long as two years. While these contracts have expired, workers are still receiving paychecks and benefits from the city as outlined in the so-called Triborough Amendment to New York State’s Taylor Law governing public employee labor relations. Critics, including Westchester County Executive Robert Astorino, have called for its repeal, contending that the amendment gives unions an unfair advantage at the bargaining table, while unions say that the amendment provides necessary protections to members.