PBA President defends binding arbitration in letter to editor

PBA President defends binding arbitration in letter to editor
PBA, 2003-11-04

In a letter to the editor published in the Sunday, Nov. 2 edition of The Buffalo News, PBA President Daniel M. De Federicis outlined the benefits and the positive effects of binding arbitration. To read the letter, click on the following link or refer to the text below.


Binding arbitration can be very helpful


The Oct. 21 editorial, "A question of will," missed some important points. The Masiello administration continues to unfairly blame the binding arbitration section of New York State’s Taylor Law for causing financial hardship for the city. This misleading defense has been bolstered by many editorials in The News.

Most municipalities in this state avoid arbitration by treating their police officers fairly and with respect without bankrupting the taxpayers. Sadly, this has not been the case in Buffalo.

What concerns me most about the editorials is that they never acknowledge, or at best gloss over, the beneficial aspects of the law. Besides ensuring the public’s safety by prohibiting strikes by these crucial public servants, binding arbitration can be used effectively by labor and management to create "win-win" situations.

For example, in the mid-1990s, state police members were paid far below their municipal counterparts, despite their six months of training in Albany and their probable transfer to somewhere as far away as Long Island.

A trooper could wait years to return to the Buffalo area only to earn a promotion to sergeant or lieutenant, resulting in yet another transfer across the state. With their low salaries, young troopers were actually eligible for WIC payments, which was a humiliating situation. These troopers were resigning from the state police to join other agencies with much higher salaries. Turnover was high and morale was low. By effectively utilizing the binding arbitration process, the State Troopers union was recently able to get a competitive compensation package that also maintained safeguards and fiscal stability for the state.

This type of mutual win has eluded Buffalo. It is not the process that should be blamed, but rather the city administrators who have failed to use the process properly.

Police Benevolent Association
of New York State Troopers