The Arbitrator has issued his Award on our successor contract. As you all know our contract has been expired since 01 July 2016, this new contract will run to 30 June 2022.
It is important to have an understanding of the Arbitrator’s Award that it be viewed within the context of what we hoped to get out of the Interest Arbitration. An Interest Arbitration is not properly viewed as a complete win or loss. The Unions submitted proposals to add or enhance our benefits but also to keep the existing benefits from being removed.
This contract negotiation began with a different President, Mayor, Superintendent, State’s Attorney and Attorney General. The Union itself also saw changes with a new President and Contract Negotiation Committee members. These negotiations progressed through the McDonald shooting, the subsequent protests and anti-police demonstrations, the Consent Decree, a global pandemic, and ever-increasing anti-police sentiment which continues to this day. What didn’t change was the goal of protecting what we had.
The following is a summary of the changes.
The City wanted to basically gut all of our disciplinary protections. Removal of the affidavit requirement, not providing the complainants identity before questioning, accepting anonymous complaints, unlimited retention and use of past not sustained CL/CR’s. The Union fought to keep each and every one. Unfortunately the Arbitrator ruled anonymous complaints will be allowed to be investigated through an override process. We feel that he overstepped his authority on that and as soon as the Contract is ratified we will be going to court to have a Judge rule on it. The ruling by the Illinois Supreme Court made our file retention issue moot, as they ruled for indefinite retention. And our Contract will now read as FOP’s that they have 7 years to be able to use not sustained CL/CR’s. We kept the requirement for the sworn affidavit and that the complainant is identified before the interview / interrogation.
Retiree health care was an important issue first to keep and second to attempt to get more persons eligible. We fought to have those that were max’ed out (29 and a day) but not yet 55 years old to be eligible. We put on several good arguments but the Arbitrator could not get past the added drain it would create on the already extremely underfunded pension fund. The Unions attempted to hold the cost of Retiree Health Care at the current 2% for 55 to 59 year olds and 0% for 60 and over. The Arbitrator ruled an increase the same as the active Sergeants incurred, 1.5% additional. So for 55-59 year olds the cost will be 3.5% and those 60 but under 63 it will now be 1.5% for those that retire at 63 it will still be 0%. For those that are contemplating retiring there will be a window to go out under the old contract. For those that are 60 and older you have to have a retirement date less 90 days after ratification of the new contract. (can’t be 90 or more days after). For 55-59 year olds there are 2 time limits. You need to submit an approved retirement par within 21 days after ratification of the new contract with an effective retirement date 60 to 90 days after date of ratification.
Although the Arbitrator disliked the LMCC/Wellness plan he stated he did not have the authority to let us exit. This is also an item that will be looked at legally.
Furlough days will now actually be days and not hours.
8 hour tour will get 25 vacation days
8.5 hour tour will get 24 vacation days
10 hour tour will get 20 vacation days
I’ll cover a few other issues from the Award. We will now be able to sell back 300 hours. If you currently are receiving direct deposit you will need to sign up for green slips. The City successfully fought and won to change our pay dates. We will now be paid on the 7th and 22nd instead of the 1st and 16th. The City argued that all the other City Departments are on this pay cycle and that to be allowed to update their payroll software it was a needed change. The date of implantation has not been finalized yet. We will be receiving an additional $150 for Uniform Allowance, this will not be retroactive.
Previously if you were facing separation you had to make a choice fight it at the Police Board and being fired and losing all your comp time or resign and be allowed to keep the comp time. This was not something that we felt was correct. We successfully argued that the comp time you rightfully earned should be given to you no matter how you leave the job.
With today’s environment of vilification of the Police keeping the protections was paramount. With the exception of the investigation of anonymous complaints, which the City openly admitted to doing already it was pretty much status quo.
Thanks and have a great day,