Members of the Baltimore police union unanimously rejected last night a city contract proposal that would have given them a 2 1/4 percent pay raise and formally implemented a controversial "rotation policy," both bitter points of contention with union leaders.
At the urging of their union bosses, officers voted down the proposal by a resounding 1,477-38. The turnout was the union's largest ever for a contract vote, said Lt. Leander S. Nevin, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 3.
"This ought to send a message to the city -- we're tired of this garbage," Lieutenant Nevin said. "They have to make more of an effort than 2 1/4 percent. They gave our police commissioner 8 1/2 percent."
Lieutenant Nevin said the union will be going back to the bargaining table and will "begin a different type of public relations campaign."
Union officials wouldn't discuss the likelihood of a strike, which by law would be illegal.
The two-year contract proposed by the city would have given the officers a 2 1/4 -percent raise the first year and a 5 1/4 -percent raise the second year. Officers are paid a starting salary of $23,000 a year, topping off at about $34,000 a year.
Union officials have blamed salaries and lack of raises for an exodus of officers in the past year.
The proposed contract also would have eliminated five vacation days per year, another sore point.
The proposal also would have paved the way for Police Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier's rotation policy, which would require officers in a specialized unit to be transferred after four years.
Clinton R. Coleman, the mayor's spokesman, referred all questions about the contract proposal to the city's labor commissioner, Melvin Harris, who couldn't be reached.