With a strike deadline looming, Legal Services staff and management came to a compromise last week that will institute moderate pay hikes and ensure that the union continues to be recognized in the future. The deal, following an 18 hour round of talks, ended nearly seven months of stalled negotiations.
With an impending Legal Services administrative office restructuring, a clause in the new contract protects the union and its contract. The contract also hikes wages for all employees by 4 percent or more each year, said Nicole Salk, president of the staff’s bargaining unit.
The union had initially asked for a 9 percent raise per year going into the final round, and management had offered a 2.25 percent annual increase, said Steven Bernstein, director of LSNY’s Brooklyn branch and a member of the management negotiating team. Management also agreed to pay the union president’s salary three days a week, and increase pensions by 1 percent in the last two years of the contract.
The deal affects roughly 275 legal workers who provide free legal advice for poor New Yorkers.