No Pay Raise For New York Public Workers For At Least 90 Days

Union workers are upset and angry, after finding out Wednesday night that New York state is delaying raises for at least 90 days.

The 2% raise, set to take effect in mid-April, was something 80,000 public workers in New York were not only looking forward to, but depending on.

“We take it as a slap in the face,” said Mark Deburgomaster, the Western Region VP, for the New York State Corrections Officers Police Benevolent Association (NYSCOPBA).
“This weighs on the members. They still went to work this morning. Still in the jails doing their jobs, still in psych centers.”

The delay comes during both a budget crisis for the state and the coronavirus pandemic.

Deburgomaster says his union understand the state has fiscal problems.

“If that’s the case, then I wouldn’t think they’d start with the state workers to pay that back. I think they’d start with some of the unnecessary programs that they fund,” he said.

Tax revenue has largely dried up.

In Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s daily press briefing on Thursday, he compared the coronavirus crisis to 9/11.

Cuomo also said he had the option to give layoffs or freeze the raises of state workers. He chose the latter.

“Let’s freeze raises, because better than losing their job and let’s see what the federal government does,” said Cuomo.

Is the government able to do this? Yes.

In all contract pay bills, there is language: that during a fiscal crisis, the state can divert payment.

“We think they are overstepping and overreaching on that interpretation,” explained Deburgomaster.

According to Budget Chief Robert Mujica, the state will review if they can fund those pay raises in 90 days.  

“What they are saying is they will retro these monies, they just won’t tell you when they are going to be able to,” added Deburgomaster.

Deburgomaster tells Spectrum News that NYSCOPBA and other associated unions are moving forward with litigation and challenge the language in the playbills, but all these things take time.


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