There are two big union stories today, so lets start with the good news: The crane operators strike ended yesterday with "a four-year contract settlement that calls for increased productivity and raises of more than 20 percent." Dealing with complaints that some operators were nothing but glorified on-off switches "some operating engineers whose only assignment during a shift was to operate a pump for three hours would now have to work on other equipment, perhaps a backhoe."

And now the less good news: Bloomberg managed to piss off many NYPD officers when he surprised the the Patrolman's Benevolent Assocation (P.B.A.) by calling for binding arbitration in the ongoing negotations for a new contract. The offense? His administration seems to have done so without telling the P.B.A. before he told the media (the P.B.A. says). The city's labor commissioner explained it this way: "We've been bargaining with the P.B.A. for almost a year, but these negotiations haven't been fruitful. We've settled almost every contract out there, and we felt this was the responsible thing to do. A lot of police officers are waiting for their raises."

One of the major issues in the negotations seems to be the salary for rookie cops, currently a laughable 25K a year.

Under the city's latest proposal, new hires would begin at $37,800, rising to $40,000 after six months, then to $41,885 after one and a half years, then to $43,770 after two and a half years, with a $63,309 maximum after five and a half years.

"More than seven weeks ago, we made an offer to the P.B.A. to drastically increase salaries for new hires and all police officers," said Mr. Hanley, the labor commissioner. "We have yet to hear back from them. One month after that, we increased our offer, and again have not heard back."

The city's offer would cut 10 vacation days a year and some other benefits during police officers' first five and a half years on the job.

Our prediciton? This is going to get a tad bit uglier before it gets settled.

NYPD Chopper by EdEx via Contribute.