Letter: Just a moment, Mr. Lane

To the Editor,
The following is a reponse to Peter Lane’s op-ed, “Dollars and sense and Rye’s non-existant PBA contract,” in the Sept. 13 edition:

I understood your op-ed piece up to the point where you said, “cops…should not have to live with the uncertainty that working without a contract creates.” What uncertainty?

If you were discussing unionized workers in the private sector, the expiration of a labor contract would indeed create uncertainty about strikes, replacement workers, lockouts, etc., but police in New York State enjoy unique statutory and contractual protections that no other class of employees—public or private—enjoys. And the expiration of their labor contract creates no insecurity or economic terror whatsoever. This is true because the Taylor Law extends the terms of the expired agreement until a successor agreement is reached. Nothing changes. Not the salaries, not the longevity ladder, not the benefits; nothing.

To be precise, there is a contract between the City of Rye and its PBA. It will be in place and enforceable until an interest arbitration award amends it or the parties settle.

If you want to argue that the police need a richer contract, fine, just say so. There may be powerful arguments for contract enhancements. But don’t mislead taxpayers who lack any form of job security that the absence of an improved contract has any material impact on the psychological or financial anxieties of a workforce whose existing incomes and benefits are guaranteed by operation of law.

Robert L. Byrne,