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  April 25, 2004

Giving Our City Workers What They Deserve
By Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg

New Yorkers deserve a well-managed City government, and City workers deserve fair compensation. From Day One, our Administration has said that putting the City’s finances on a sound footing has to include opening a new chapter in management’s relationship with City workers and the unions that represent them. The tentative new contract our Administration agreed to last week with the leaders of the largest of those unions—District Council 37, with 121,000 members, or more than one-third of the City workforce—does just that.

What’s crucial in this three-year contract, which I’m confident the union’s members will ratify, is that it’s fair to City workers and taxpayers alike. In addition to a 3% wage increase in the second year of the contract, a 2% raise in the third year will be financed from benefit savings, and operational efficiencies. Additional third-year raises of 1% can also be granted if the union works with the Administration to identify more productivity savings in such areas as reducing sick leave usage and work rule modifications. In short, this tentative contract establishes the principle that putting more money into the paychecks of our municipal workers is going to depend on finding offsetting savings in the way that City government operates.

City workers understand that. After all, they’re not only the men and women who provide the services that we all rely on; they’re also New Yorkers with homes, families, and a big stake in the City’s future. Lillian Roberts, the Executive Director of DC 37, and the team of negotiators from that union have made it clear that their members, who have been working without a contract for nearly two years, want to do what’s right for their families, and for the city too.

Tomorrow, I will present the Executive Budget for Fiscal Year 2005. That’s our Administration’s plan for financing City services for the 12-month period beginning July 1st. The costs of this tentative contract with DC 37 will be reflected in that proposed budget. It’s a contract that’s good for all New Yorkers.

The job of balancing the next budget won’t be simple, but it will be made easier as the city’s economy continues to rebound. When business are growing and hiring, that produces the tax revenue that pays for City services. And the Republican National Convention that will be held in Madison Square Garden this summer will give the city’s economy another major shot in the arm, generating more than $200 million in cab fares, hotel room fees, restaurant tips, and other business activity.

The convention’s Host Committee is looking for 8,000 volunteers who will play an essential part in helping the convention run smoothly. Volunteering is a great way to show your pride in our city, and also to participate in the excitement of a national political convention. To find out more, visit the Host Committee’s web site at www. If you don’t have access to a computer, call the Citizen Service Hotline at 311 to find the location of the nearest public library, where you can go and log on. And look for ads featuring former Mayor Ed Koch, who is helping lead this volunteer recruitment drive. Regardless of your political beliefs, volunteering for the convention will make a big difference for the city we all love.