Mayor Bill de Blasio has another 151 outstanding labor contracts to settle. Credit: Getty Images
The city settled the first of its 152 outstanding labor contracts, the New York Daily News reported on Monday.
The de Blasio administration quietly signed off on a new agreement last week for about 200 Department of Environmental Protection police officers, who largely protect the city's water supply.
Represented by the Law Enforcement Employees Benevolent Association union, the DEP officers had worked the last nine years without a new contract. After a single meeting with the administration, the officers can now expect retroactive raises at about 5 percent for 2005 and 4 percent in both 2006 and 2007.
The DEP officers are only a sliver of the 300,000 city employees asking for more than $7 billion in back pay. Michael Mulgrew, the head of the city's teachers union, told WNYC on Monday back pay is "a big issue for us." Even so, a spokeswoman for de Blasio told Newsday the agreement doesn't necessarily set the tone for the remaining negotiations.
Last week, the mayor unveiled his $73.7 billion budget without any explicit allocation for retroactive raises. Even as he again told reporters he wouldn't negotiate contracts through the media, de Blasio added that back pay was still in play.
"I've said we won't take anything off the table," he said.