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  Public Employee Press

PEP Feb 2004
Table of Contents
  La Voz

Public Employee Press

BCB slaps city on merit pay

District Council 37 and two locals recently won another decision against the city’s improper use of merit pay.

The Board of Collective Bargaining sided with DC 37, Clerical Administrative Local 1549 and Social Service Employees Union Local 371 when it determined in November that the Human Resources Administration violated the law when it doled out merit raises to Medicaid workers who handle AIDS cases without negotiating with the unions.

Attorneys for the city contended that the pay increases were justified because they fell within the salary range of the job titles and claimed that within the range, how much to pay employees is management’s prerogative.

DC 37 lawyers maintained the agency did not establish criteria for the increases, and used them as a divisive, union-busting tool to fuel discord between workers.

In April, DC 37 lawyer Kim Hsueh filed an improper practice claim with BCB and sought an injunction from the New York State Supreme Court to halt HRA’s “egregious violation of labor law.” Local 371 attorneys filed a similar claim. The Supreme Court judge convinced HRA to agree to stop giving the merit raises pending the board’s decision.

The BCB ruled that the merit increases violated the collective bargaining law and that the procedure and criteria for such salary increases must be negotiated with the union representing the employees involved. While the ruling did not rescind the pay hikes, it put HRA on notice that if it gave improper merit raises again, the agency would be ordered to recoup the monies from employees.


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