By John Byrne
3:33 PM EST, November 15, 2013
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has made an opening contract offer to Chicago police, the union says it’s an insult and the two sides continue to head down a path that could end with arbitration.
The Fraternal Order of Police said the mayor offered a total of 5 percent in pay raises over three years starting in July 2013. The deal would not include raises retroactive to July 2012, when the prior FOP deal lapsed, the union said.
Union President Mike Shields said that’s a lowball offer given that rank-and-file cops got only 10 percent over five years in their last contract. This time, the union has countered with an offer of a 12 percent pay increase over two years.
“The city's wage proposal is too little too late,” Shields said in an email. “The offer ignores the fact that our members sacrificed the higher wage increases that the arbitrator found were warranted by the evidence during the last arbitration. The offer also ignores the still unresolved issue of the wage increase for 2012.”
Emanuel’s office did not respond to requests for comment Friday.
The city’s offer is the next step in protracted negotiations that have turned rancorous as the administration tries to take a hard line with police and other city unions and Shields argues his members are entitled to a better package of raises and benefits.
After the past two police contracts lapsed, the city and the police union traded competing proposals before eventually sending the dispute to an outside arbitrator who set the parameters of the next pact.
The mayor’s offer also calls for single officers to pay about 2 percent of their salaries toward health insurance coverage, up from 1.3 percent under the current deal, Shields said. Married officers would have to pay about 4 percent instead of around 2 percent, and the cost for family health insurance would rise from 2.4 percent to 4.9 percent, he said.
Shields also was displeased with Emanuel’s proposal that newly retired FOP members be required to pay 4 percent toward health care that’s currently free. “That’s a big part of this,” he said.
The negotiations with rank-and-file officers come after Emanuel saw his proposed contract with Chicago police sergeants roundly rejected by members of that union this year. Emanuel had hoped to used that deal as a road map to pension reform with other city unions. Shields worked to defeat the sergeants union contract offer, saying it was unconstitutional because it would have diminished the sergeants’ retirement plan.
Shields said he thinks the Emanuel administration holds the failure of the sergeants contract against him and that’s affecting the way City Hall is negotiating with the FOP.
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