A Glossary of Bargaining Terms
Additional Compensation Fund (ACF) – A negotiated amount of money, over and above the general wage increase, to be distributed among titles according to Unit Contract negotiations.
Additions-to-Gross – Payments in addition to base salary including: advancement/promotion and level increases; assignment, certification, educational, license, experience, longevity and night shift/evening differentials; recurring increment payments (RIP); service increments; and transportation, uniform, uniform maintenance and equipment allowances. These are negotiated during Economic Contract bargaining.
Advancement Increase – The guaranteed minimum increase when promoted from one title to another title within an occupational group.
Annuity Fund – An investment fund for most titles into which the employer contributes a specific amount of money per employee per workday. These accounts are managed by a union annuity fund, where the monies are pooled and invested. You receive your annuity after you leave city service. DC 37 first negotiated an annuity fund in the 1995-2000 Economic Agreement. Call the DC 37 Annuity Fund at 212-815-1888 for more information.
Assignment Differential – A payment over and above the base rate of pay, based on performing specific or unique tasks. Not all titles offer assignment differentials. Assignment differentials must be negotiated in Unit Contract bargaining. Employees receive the assignment differential only while they are performing the specified duties. Assignment differentials do not become part of an employee’s base salary. Employees lose their assignment differentials when they stop performing the duties or if they change job titles. Assignment differential amounts are listed in your Unit Contract.
Attrition – The reduction of the workforce by natural causes, such as retirement, voluntary resignation and death. The city uses attrition rates, among other things, to make future hiring and staffing plans and to predict future costs of collective bargaining agreements. Compare to layoff.
Bargaining Unit – Groups of titles designated by the Office of Collective Bargaining to have a common negotiating interest. Each bargaining unit is covered by a Unit Contract. Sometimes, one local may represent titles in different bargaining units. For example, Health Service Employees Local 768 represents Exterminators in the Blue Collar Unit, Social Workers in the Social Services Unit, and a variety of titles (such as Occupational Therapist) in the Health Services Unit.
Board of Certification – A panel of the Office of Collective Bargaining designated to certify the creation and union representation of city job titles. The board is made up of the impartial members of the Board of Collective Bargaining. See Office of Collective Bargaining (OCB).
Board of Collective Bargaining (BCB) – A panel of the Office of Collective Bargaining designated to resolve disputes between the City of New York and its covered agencies, and their employees. The BCB consists of two city representatives, two labor representatives, and three impartial members. The impartial members are elected by the four other members. See Office of Collective Bargaining (OCB).
City Health Benefits Program – A program administered by the City of New York that provides health insurance (including medical doctors and hospitalization) to union members. The Municipal Labor Committee (MLC) negotiates changes in health plan benefits.
Collective Bargaining – The process by which union and management agree on the wages, hours, working conditions and fringe benefits of the employees represented by the union.
Consumer Price Index (CPI) – The standard index used and published monthly by the U.S. Department of Labor to measure the change in the cost of goods and services.
Contracting out – A management practice of hiring private firms to perform work instead of in-house employees. Also called sub-contracting. See privatization.
Costing – Calculating how much a change in wages, benefits, differentials, and other economic factors cost the employer. (Example: “After completing a costing, the union found that paying DC 37 members an assignment differential would cost the Department of Transportation less than if they contracted out the work.”)
Crisis bargaining – See impact bargaining.
Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS) – The city agency responsible for personnel practices and general building and supply services. Personnel practices include creating and implementing standard personnel practices, city civil service exams, equal employment opportunity, and effective management and training.
Fringe Benefits – Negotiated contract provisions other than wages and hours. (For example, health insurance, welfare fund, pensions.)
General Wage Increase – See Across-the-Board Increase
Good faith bargaining – The duty of a public employer and union to approach the negotiations with a sincere resolve to reach an agreement; to have duly authorized representatives at negotiations who are prepared to discuss and negotiate on all matters within the scope of collective bargaining; to meet at reasonable times and locations without unnecessary delays; to provide each other with data normally maintained in the regular course of business in order to have full and proper discussion and understanding of negotiations; and to execute, upon request, a written document embodying agreed terms, and to implement agreed terms, if an agreement is reached. (From Section 1173 – 4.2c of the New York City Collective Bargaining Law.)
Grievance – A complaint filed against the employer by the union on behalf of an employee or group of employees when the union believes that the employer has violated the contract.
Hourly Rate – The annual salary divided by total number of work hours in a year.
Impact Bargaining – Negotiating sessions that may be held after the contract is settled to address sudden changes in working conditions. Sometimes this is called crisis bargaining.
Impasse – A deadlock in negotiations.
Improper practice – Interfering with, restraining or coercing public employees attempting to exercise their collective bargaining rights; dominating or interfering with the formation of a union; discriminating against employees to discourage or encourage them or their union from union activity; refusing to bargain in good faith on subjects within the scope of collective bargaining. (From Sections 1173-4.2a and b of the New York City Collective Bargaining Law)
Inflation – An increase in the cost of goods and services.
Layoff – An involuntary separation from employment due to reasons other than job performance, such as fiscal reasons.
Level Increase – The guaranteed minimum increase when reassigned to a higher level within a title.
Longevity Differential – A payment, above the base rate of pay, based on years of service in a title or occupational group. This payment does not become part of your base pay. Not every title has a longevity differential. Longevity differentials must be negotiated. Some longevity payments eventually become pensionable, but you should check your contract for more information.
Longevity Increment (sometimes called “the City longevity” or “the $800 longevity”) – A payment of $800 for employees who have worked for the city for 15 years. It becomes pensionable after it is earned for 15 months. DC 37 first negotiated this increment in October 1985.
Management Rights – Issues where the employer has unilateral discretion to make a decision or policy. Office of Collective Bargaining determines what issues fall under management rights, according to the New York City Collective Bargaining Law. The New York City Collective Bargaining Law states that management has the right to: determine the content of job descriptions for, standards of services provided by, and standards of selecting employees; direct employees; take disciplinary action; relieve employees from duty due to lack of work or other legitimate reason; determine the method and personnel by which government operations are to be conducted; take all actions necessary to carry out its functions in an emergency; and have complete control over organization of and technology used at work.
Mandatory Subjects of Bargaining – Topics that must be negotiated if the union and employer are to engage in good faith bargaining. Office of Collective Bargaining and the Public Employment Relations Board determine these types of subjects. Such subjects include wages, hours, uniforms, and other conditions and terms of employment.
Minimum salary – The basic salary established for a title below which no incumbent shall be paid.
Non-mandatory subjects of bargaining – Subjects that the union and employer may propose at the bargaining table, but are not required to negotiate. Either side may decline discussion. On the other hand, both sides may agree voluntarily to discuss these topics. For example, evaluation criteria and residency requirements are non-mandatory subjects of bargaining. Office of Collective Bargaining (OCB) and the Public Employment Relations Board determine these types of subjects. See also mandatory subjects of bargaining.
Office of Collective Bargaining (OCB) – Independent office that decides bargaining units, certifies union representation and provides services to resolve disputes between the City of New York and its covered agencies, and their employees. Decisions on these matters are made by the Board of Certification and the Board of Collective Bargaining.
Office of Labor Relations (OLR) – Office that represents the Mayor in all the labor relations between the City of New York and labor organizations representing workers of the city.
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) – Office that develops and oversees the New York City Budget; advises the Mayor on all policy issues affecting the city’s fiscal stability; and advises the Mayor on efficiency of operations.
Pensionable – Recognition by your retirement system (e.g.: NYCERS, CIRS, BERS) of earnings that can count towards calculating your pension benefit. Some earnings, however, only become pensionable after you have earned them for a specified period of time. For example, service increments, longevity differentials and Recurring Increment Payments count towards your pension calculation after you have earned them for two years. The 15-year Longevity Increment is pensionable after 15 months.
Permissive Subjects of Bargaining – See non-mandatory subjects of bargaining.
Privatization – Selling or leasing public sector or government functions to private businesses.
Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) – The state agency that provides mediation, investigation and arbitration services for labor disputes between public employers and their employees throughout New York State. Its three members are appointed by the governor and approved by the New York State Senate.
Real Wage Increase – A wage increase above the rate of inflation that allows a worker greater purchasing power. For example, assume that the cost of a basket of goods and services cost $100. A year later the same goods and services cost $102, meaning that inflation had risen by 2% over the year ($100 X .02=$2.00). In order to afford that same basket of goods and services, you would need a 2% increase just to keep up with inflation. In order to afford to buy more, you would have to receive a raise in excess of 2%. Therefore, in this example, a raise above 2% would constitute a real wage increase.
Recurring Increment Payment (RIP) – A pay schedule that provides regular increases of flat dollar amounts above the base rate of pay. The amount of a RIP is usually based on years of service. A RIP does not necessarily bring an employee from the minimum salary to the maximum salary. RIPs are pensionable after they are earned for two years. Not every employee receives a RIP. RIPs must be negotiated in Unit Contract bargaining. Check your Unit Contract for RIP amounts.
Service Increment – A wage payment above the base rate of pay, based on years of service in a title or occupational group. This payment does become part of base pay. Not every employee receives a service increment. Service increments must be negotiated in Unit Contract bargaining. Service increments become pensionable after two years.
Uniform Allowance – An amount of money negotiated to allow members to purchase uniforms required by the employer. Uniform allowances do not become part of your base salary. Uniform allowances must be negotiated in Unit Contract bargaining. An employee must be in active pay status for six months of a fiscal year (July 1-June 30) to be eligible for a uniform allowance. Check your Unit Contract for more information.
Uniform Maintenance Allowance – An amount of money negotiated to allow members to clean and maintain uniforms provided by the employer, if the employer does not clean and maintain them in-house. Uniform maintenance allowances do not become part of your base salary. Uniform maintenance allowances must be negotiated in Unit Contract bargaining. An employee must be in active pay status for six months of a fiscal year (July 1-June 30) to be eligible for uniform maintenance allowance. Check your Unit Contract for more information.
Welfare Fund – A union administered fund that provides union members with a wide range of benefits, including prescription drug plans, dental, optical, disability, education, and legal services. The employer makes a contribution per employee to the fund, which is negotiated through collective bargaining.