NEW YORK (AP) — The city will seek bids within days for its multibillion-dollar health insurance contracts, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday, invoking other cities' fiscal struggles as he deepened his stance in a standoff with unions.

Devoting a speech to economic issues, the mayor again drew the hard line he has taken on labor issues in recent years, outlined a challenge for whoever succeeds him in January and mentioned Detroit's recent bankruptcy to illustrate what he said were the potential consequences of not trimming government health care and pension costs.

"We may be a long way from Detroit," he said, touting New York's rebound from the 2008 financial crisis and recession, "but we are only a short ways from relapsing into decline if we allow health care and pension benefits to crowd out the investments that make New York City a place where people want to live, work, study and visit."

Teachers, jail officers and many other city employees have been working with expired contracts, some for several years. Many workers haven't gotten cost-of-living raises since the contracts lapsed, although some get pay boosts for longevity or acquiring new credentials.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.