The political climate between DC37 and state and city leadership continues to be contentious.
On the state level, District Council 37 remains opposed to pension reforms pushed through by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. It is also blasting New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for his executive order that takes away City
Comptroller John Liu’s ability to set the salary for public maintenance workers.
As the rest of New York State learned last month, Cuomo’s deal will raise the retirement age of public employees.
Workers who retire early will collect pensions that are 6.5 percent lower per year, because the majority of their overtime won’t count toward their pensions. Government workers will have to pay more into retirement plans and state and municipal workers will have pensions cut as well.
DC37 President Lillian Roberts is no fan of Cuomo’s deal.
“Tier 6 is actually a sneaky way to privatize the state and city pension systems, modeled on George W. Bush’s defeated plan to privatize Social
Security,” she said in a statement. “It would funnel huge profits to the bankers who sent our economy into a recession and leave retirees at the mercy of the stock market.”
Roberts recently took to the public access airwaves of the Manhattan Neighborhood Network and Brooklyn Community Access Television to outline the union’s full position during the DC37 “State of the Union” address.
But after the address, the Bloomberg administration announced its intention to take away the comptroller’s authority to set salaries for plumbers, carpenters and other maintenance workers with an executive order.
Part of the problem for the union is that the employees will not be subjected to collective bargaining, and the mayor’s administration has not had a good relationship with labor on issues of wages and beneits. This move by Bloomberg affects about 3 percent of the city’s workforce, or 10,000 people. Wages for these employees had been set by the city comptroller since 1894.
“The recent attempt by Mayor Bloomberg to seize control of prevailing rate regulation from the comptroller is nothing more than a naked power grab aimed at suppressing the wages and benefits of hard-working men and women employed as city trade workers and is part of the larger nationwide assault on working people by the richest 1 percent,” said Roberts.