Talks between police union and city hit an impasse

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Bill de Blasio and Bill Bratton prepare to speak at NYPD Police Academy Press Conference. (Ed Reed for the Office of Mayor Bill de Blasio)
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Talks between the city's police union and the de Blasio administration have come to a halt after the union filed for an impasse application with the New York State Public Employment Relations Board.

Al O'Leary, spokesman for the New York City Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, confirmed that PERB granted the impasse status this afternoon after conversations between the union and the city were "fruitless," O'Leary said. 

"They wanted three years of zeroes," O'Leary told Capital. "We've been out of a contract since July 2010, and they wanted three of those years to be zero, no raises for the first three years, and [union president] Pat Lynch said that was unacceptable." 

The union had originally filed for the impasse status back in February, but PERB ordered the union and the city back to the bargaining table to give the new administration a chance to negotiate. 

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In a letter to union members at the time, P.B.A. president Pat Lynch said PERB found "both optimistic expression and repeated requests made by the city to be reasonable."

That hope seems to have dimmed in the last month, over disagreements about salaries and benefits, according to a P.B.A. source who cited the differences in pay between the city's police officers and others in suburban areas.

"We're not at numbers that they're at," said the P.B.A. source. "They don't want to pay us what we think we deserve."

O'Leary told Capital the next step will be for PERB to designate a mediator so the union and the city can begin talks to possibly reach a non-binding agreement which could produce a contract. However, if no deal is reached, the process then moves into binding arbitration, in which a judge issues a decision.

"If you can't agree on something, then you go to binding arbitration and we're willing to pursue that if we have to," O'Leary said.

A request for comment from the administration was not immediately returned.

--additional reporting by Sally Goldenberg