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N.Y. City reaches labor deal with police sergeants union

NEW YORK – Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration has negotiated a tentative pact with the labor union representing the NYPD’s 4,600 sergeants, signaling a rapprochement between the mayor and one of his fiercest police critics.

The deal with the Sergeants Benevolent Association, announced this week, calls for an 11 percent gradual raise over the life of the seven-year contract, which is retroactive to Aug. 30, 2011, the day after the union’s last agreement expired.

The sergeants now earn an average base salary of $93,276 and would make about $104,012 by March 2018, figures that exclude overtime, the mayor’s office said.

Asked by a reporter whether the City Hall news conference was a “kiss-and-make-up session,” de Blasio wrapped his arm around the shoulder of SBA president Ed Mullins, who had called him “a total nincompoop” in December amid roiling tensions between police unions and the mayor. De Blasio once slammed Mullins for “fear-mongering.”

“I’ll put my arm around him,” de Blasio said. “That’ll be good enough.”

The deal means the city has struck labor deals with more than 76 percent of the city’s workforce, including four of five police unions. Democrat de Blasio took office from predecessor Mike Bloomberg with all of the contracts expired.

“As we move forward, I’m sure you’ll see a lot of happy sergeants out there,” Mullins said.

Only the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, which bargains for the 24,000 rank-and-file officers on the 35,000-officer force, has yet to strike a deal. Its contract is in binding arbitration. De Blasio said Thursday the pattern set in pacts with the other unions “is the only reality” and that the PBA shouldn’t expect a sweeter deal: “We are not deviating from it. Period.”

The contract comes at a time of improved rapport between police unions and City Hall, which reached a nadir in December. Mullins and de Blasio clashed after a Staten Island grand jury declined to indict a police officer in the death of Eric Garner, anti-police-brutality protesters took to the streets and two NYPD cops were slain by a cop-hating gunman.

“Him and I still have different beliefs, in different areas,” Mullins said, refusing to elaborate. “We have common beliefs in other areas. And until you sit at a table and have an opportunity to have an uninterrupted conversation, you don’t get the ability to agree to disagree.”

De Blasio, who took heat last year from union bosses when he recounted coaching his biracial son to be cautious around cops, said: “I don’t regret anything.”

Asked about the “nincompoop” comment, de Blasio said: “I’ve been called a lot worse.”