De Blasio and The Triborough Amendment: The Impending Fiscal Crisis in NYC

De Blasio’s recent mayoral victory was a sad day for New Yorkers. Electing him was proof that the constituency in NYC is morally, philosophically, and educationally bankrupt. And if the mayor sticks to his positions that he declared as candidate De Blasio, NYC will be financially bankrupt as well.

A strong argument can be made that the entire election was a public service union push. For four years now, the public service unions have waiting to negotiate their contracts until Bloomberg was out of office. The time has come for the unions. De Blasio, from a position of patronage, will roll over and give the unions huge back-end and retroactive pay increases and benefits both undeserved and unaffordable. New York City could easily find itself in the same fiscal categories as Detroit and Chicago.

Why have the unions been willing to work without a contract for virtually all of the Bloomberg tenure? A little known clause of the anti-strike Taylor Law is the Triborough Amendment. This provision mandates that if a contract expires before a new contract is in place, the benefits of the expired contract continue, unchanged, until the new contract is finally negotiated. NYC is the only place in the country that has such a clause, which renders it difficult to negotiate anything from a position of austerity.

Bloomberg understood the ever-expanding costs of public service union wages and benefits, and sought to restrain them during the economic downturn. Over the past four years, the unions have steadfastly refused to engage in contract negotiations that would bring their costs in line. Why should they? They could continue to accrue the unaffordable and unreasonable benefits of the expired contract that they could have no hope of getting with Bloomberg under a new contract. Then they could help elect a new mayor who is philosophically aligned, financially naive, and seemingly irresponsible enough to give them what they could only dream of in a new contract. .

De Blasio won the election by a huge majority, despite the fact that he is so far left as to be an avowed supporter of the likes of Cuba and the Sandinistas.. He clearly espouses policies which will ultimately hurt the poor and economically disadvantaged more than anyone,such as higher taxes, more spending and regulation, attempts at government imposed income redistribution, and curtailment of police activity. And if he tops it off with crony contracts with the public service unions, New Yorkers will have dug themselves a hole virtually impossible to get out of.