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.