Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday announced a tentative labor agreement with the 6,000-member Uniformed Sanitationmen's Association -- a deal that if ratified would bring almost 80 percent of New York City's unionized workforce under contract.
The agreement includes 11 percent in raises over seven years and follows the pattern set by City Hall's contracts with the Uniformed Superior Officers Coalition, which represents eight uniformed groups. Sanitation workers would receive a 1 percent raise for each of the first four years of the contact. The agreement, which would begin retroactively in September 2011 and expire in January 2019, must be ratified by the union members.
The largest organized labor group still without contract is the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, which represents 22,000-member rank-and-file police officers and is in arbitration with the de Blasio administration.
Uniformed Sanitationmen's Association president Harry Nespoli said at a City Hall news conference that the contract was "fair" to his members.
"It's been four long years without a contract," he said. "And I just figured it was time now that these people can get their money to pay some of the bills that they accumulated."
Nespoli also leads the Municipal Labor Committee, the umbrella group that includes the PBA and firefighters and correction workers unions, which also have expired contracts.
"I never expected to complete this many unions in as short of a time as we did," Nespoli said of the agreements that have been made. He said after the news conference that he could not speak on behalf on the PBA on the progress of their proceedings.
De Blasio took office in January 2014 with all of the city's 143 labor contracts expired. Labor relations director Bob Linn said 52 bargaining units have completed the negotiation process.
"I think that's encouraging to any other unions that have not yet gotten an agreement: to recognize that there's a good and fair pattern here to participate in," de Blasio said.