Road To Municipal Labor Settlements Paved With Uncertainty

Written by Richard Steier on . Posted in Labor/Unions, Spotlight

There was a distinct edge to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s voice when he said during his budget presentation, “The previous administration was given an artificially high level of credit for management.” He was referring to the labor-contract mess he inherited when Michael Bloomberg left office after a third term in which he created a negotiating logjam. Following his 2009 re-election Bloomberg insisted that the city could not afford to honor a bargaining pattern he had set the previous two years, under… [More]

Arbitration Could Throw A Wrench In City Labor Settlements

Written by Nick Powell on . Posted in Labor/Unions, Spotlight

Throughout his campaign and time in office Mayor Bill de Blasio has artfully dodged publicly negotiating New York City’s expired contracts with its municipal unions. All along the mayor has mostly stuck to the same talking point in discussing how he will approach settling the contracts—the first great test of his administration— referring to the billions of dollars that could wind up added to the city’s ledger for salary increases and back pay as “the great unknown.” Adding to this… [More]

De Blasio’s Budget: Progressive or Aggressive?

Written by Nick Powell on . Posted in Budget/Taxes, Economic Development, Education, Environment, Features, Government Operations, Housing, Labor/Unions, News

What does a “progressive” city budget look like? During his preliminary budget presentation last week, Mayor Bill de Blasio attached his favorite buzzword to a supposedly apolitical document. Through the explicit and implicit priorities laid out in his financial plan, the mayor—who mere months ago dubbed himself a “fiscal conservative”—threw caution to the wind, etching his major policy items into the budget with or without the necessary cooperation from Albany, and despite the element of unpredictability stemming  from the city’s… [More]

Heating Up Scaffold Law Fight, Moya Introduces Bill to Open Insurers’ Books

Written by Jon Lentz on . Posted in Features, Heard Around Town, Labor/Unions, News, Real Estate/Construction

A day after friends and foes of the state’s Scaffold Law descended on Albany to lobby lawmakers, Gov. Andrew Cuomo reiterated which way he leans in the debate over the controversial legislation. “I would be open to reforms to the Scaffold Law,” Cuomo told reporters on Wednesday, without going into specifics. The law holds property owners and developers of construction projects liable for worker injuries if they fail to provide the proper safety equipment, although critics claim that it lets… [More]

De Blasio’s State of the City Marks A Shift In Tone From Bloomberg Era

Written by Nick Powell on . Posted in Blog, Budget/Taxes, Daily, Economic Development, Education, Environment, Features, Government Operations, Housing, Labor/Unions, Latest, News, Real Estate/Construction, Transportation

As is the case with most mayors less than two months into their administration, Mayor Bill de Blasio did not have a laundry list of accomplishments to point to during his State of the City address on Monday. But unlike his predecessor Michael Bloomberg’s first State of the City, which covered a wide range of topics and laid the foundation for his twelve years in office, de Blasio eschewed a long-term blueprint in favor of addressing the urgency of leveling… [More]

Unsettled Teacher Contracts Could Raise Cost of De Blasio’s Universal Preschool Program

Written by Nick Powell on . Posted in Budget/Taxes, Daily, Economic Development, Education, Features, Government Operations, Labor/Unions, Latest, News, Social Services

During his back-and-forth with the state Legislature’s Joint Fiscal Committees on Monday—pitching the merits of his proposed universal preschool and after school programs—Mayor Bill de Blasio listened while state Sen. Diane Savino expressed shock that his predecessor, Michael Bloomberg, left him very little in the way of reserve money to negotiate long-expired municipal labor contracts. When Savino, who chairs the Senate Labor Committee, suggested that de Blasio use the labor contract conundrum to bolster his case for a tax increase… [More]

Cuomo’s Local Government Consolidation Proposal Draws a Mixed Response

Written by Jon Lentz on . Posted in Budget/Taxes, Daily, Government Operations, Labor/Unions, News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is renewing his push to consolidate the thousands of local governments in New York, and this time around he is making his proposal more enticing by linking it to a tax credit in his new tax cut package. Cuomo, who made consolidation a policy goal as attorney general, took aim at the nearly 10,500 towns, villages, water districts, sewer districts and fire districts in New York, arguing that their sheer numbers are driving up property taxes and… [More]

Union Leaders Mixed on Linn and Brezenoff Appointments

Written by Nick Powell on . Posted in Blog, Daily, Features, Government Operations, Heard Around Town, Labor/Unions, Latest, News

Two of Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s five latest appointments, Robert Linn, the city’s new director of labor relations, and Stanley Brezenoff, who will advise First Deputy Mayor Tony Shorris in an unpaid role, received a mixed response from some city union leaders who are hoping that the two government veterans will settle the outstanding municipal labor contracts with the city. Both Linn and Brezenoff worked under former Mayor Ed Koch in different roles, with Brezenoff serving as Koch’s deputy mayor… [More]

Last Look: Mario Cilento

Written by Michael Gareth Johnson on . Posted in Labor/Unions, Latest, News, News & Features, Video

Mario Cilento, president of the New York State AFL-CIO, discusses the labor group’s new campaign, “Making NY Work,” which aims to change the debate over creating jobs and inserting a perspective from average workers instead of corporations, in an interview with Nick Powell. Cilento said the conversation has been dominated by corporations for too long and that he wants to make sure the voices of hardworking New Yorkers are heard. “Working men and women have been on the defensive in… [More]