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The Chief May 13, 2016: MEA Sues on Mgrs. Being Charged For Paid Parental Leave

MEA Sues on Mgrs. Being Charged For Paid Parental Leave

·        By SARAH DORSEY


·        3 hrs ago

City managers have filed suit against the de Blasio administration for revoking two vacation days and a small wage hike to pay for the Mayor’s paid parental leave program, which he implemented in January.

The Managerial Employees Association, which represents 20,000 members but lacks collective-bargaining rights, filed an Article 78 complaint May 6 in State Supreme Court in Manhattan. The suit also targets Comptroller Scott Stringer and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña.

‘Arbitrary and Capricious’

“The Mayor’s elimination of previously granted pay raises and annual leave is arbitrary and capricious, a breach of contract, and discriminates against older workers,” the suit said. The union cited local laws and the right to equal protection under the state constitution.

MEA President Stuart Eber said he and his members support paid parental leave—they just don’t want their members to suffer for it. Senior managers had 27 vacation days, which Mr. de Blasio cut to 25 to offset the cost of the six weeks of parental leave. He also rescinded a 0.47-percent pay raise, which was due to go into effect in January 2017.

Mandated parental and family leave have begun to catch on in more-progressive areas of the country, with Cali­fornia, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Washington State passing some form of paid-leave laws in recent years. Governor Cuomo announced the nation’s longest such law on March 31—most employees qualify for up to 12 weeks off to care for a new child or an ill family member.

Mr. Eber, however, said the Mayor did not consult his organization before announcing the city program.

‘Not Fair for Most’

“This doesn’t seem fair or appropriate to the majority of the MEA membership,” he said. “We asked the de Blasio administration to declare a moratorium on this while we work together to explore other methods of payment, but we were rebuffed.”

He added, “We believe the city has enough to fund this—it can absorb the costs in various ways.”

Law Department spokes­man Nick Paolucci said, “We will review the complaint to evaluate the merits of their claims.”

De Blasio spokeswoman Monica Klein said, “This is a common sense policy that will make for healthier and more financially stable working families, and a more effective city government.”

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