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Bloomberg OK With Municipal Unions, Collective Bargaining

Mayor Michael Bloomberg

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)

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ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — As Wisconsin’s governor is embroiled in a fight over fundamental guarantees for organized labor, the struggle between New York’s governor and the unions appears to feature more hype than bite so far.
   
Republican Gov. Scott Walker wants to end collective bargaining rights for Wisconsin’s public workers. He says taxpayers there can no longer afford the growth in wages and benefits.
   
In New York, Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has threatened layoffs and a freeze on public salaries, which grew 14 percent over the last years of recession.
   
But E.J. McMahon of the Manhattan Institute says Cuomo hasn’t mounted a real threat to the basic power of the unions.
   
And Robert Ward of the Rockefeller Institute notes that labor’s response to Cuomo has been less harsh than attacks on previous governors.

1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks with Mayor Michael Bloomberg who says unions are doing what they should do

Meanwhile, despite the situation in Wisconsin, Mayor Michael Bloomberg insists he has no problem with municipal unions or collective bargaining.

“They’re contentious, that’s what you should have, both sides want something and you wind up with something in the middle where neither side gets everything they want but you arrive at a compromise that’s acceptable to everybody,” Bloomberg said.

His honor added the city is “better off” because of municipal unions.

“I think it would be very difficult to manage the work force in this city of 300,000 people that does so many things that makes this city such a great place to live and to work. Without the unions it would be very difficult,” Bloomberg said.

WCBS 880 Reporter Rich Lamb talks with Mayor Bloomberg who says the city must work with the unions to reduce cost

The mayor did, however, add that in past bargaining, the government has agreed to some benefits, like pensions, that the city can no long afford.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)