City reaches contract agreement with one of two police unions

Today Mayor Tim Burgess and Council member Lorena Gonzalez announced that the city had reached agreement on a labor contract with SPMA, the union for SPD’s lieutenants and captains, and SPMA’s members had ratified it.

SPMA and the city have been without a contract since the last one expired in 2014. The new one, if approved by the City Council, will become effective retroactively to the expiration date of the old one and will be binding until the end of 2019. The effect of making it retroactive is to back-date annual pay increases over the intervening years.

Here’s a pointer to the marked up version of the new contract, so you can see what’s changed from the previous one. Apart from several minor updates, here are some salient changes:

  • Wages will be adjusted 2.75 percent for 2014, 2.25 percent for 2015, 2.25 percent for 2016, 2.75 percent for 2017, and 3 percent in 2018. In 2019, wages will be adjusted according to the local CPI rate, but no lower than 1.5% and no higher than 4%.
  • Lieutenants will be paid 10% of their normal wage when “on call” during their off-duty hours, and 50% when on-call during riots or other major disturbances.
  • Employees who participate in the city’s deferred compensation program (a method for pushing part of your pay out to future years when it will be taxed at a lower rate) will get a partial matching contribution from the city.
  • The city will indemnify and defend lieutenants and captains as per Seattle Municipal Code.
  • The investigation and disciplinary processes laid out in the recently-passed police accountability legislation are incorporated into the agreement, including changes to OPA’s investigation procedures and mediation for grievances raised by members of the public.
  • The union acknowledges that the city has the right to civilianize the staff of the OPA, as per the police accountability legislation (though the city agrees that it won’t eliminate sworn positions from the police force as a result — it will just incorporate those positions into other parts of the organization).
  • The union acknowledges the intent of the city to require all uniformed officers to wear body-worn cameras. There will be a 60-day pilot program for uniformed lieutenants and captains (excluding plain-clothes officers), and after the pilot if the city chooses to move forward both sides will return to the bargaining table to negotiate terms.
  • Executive leave and flex time are left to future negotiations.
  • After the¬†Interdepartmental Taskforce on the City Management of All SPD Secondary Employment delivers its recommendations, the city and the union will negotiate implementation of those recommendations. The union acknowledges, though, that the city has the right to manage all secondary employment through an internal office if it so chooses.
  • The union agrees to withdraw the unfair labor practice complaint it filed with the Public Employment Relations Commission after former Mayor Ed Murray issued an executive order implementing body-worn cameras.

The contract was ratified by the union members today, and now it has been submitted to the City Council for approval. That process will take it through Gonzalez’s Gender Equity, Safe Communities, and New Americans Committee for deliberations before the Full Council votes on it.

In the meantime, SPOG, the union that represents SPD sworn officers and sergeants, has been making noise on Twitter because it, too, has been without a contract since 2014. Last year SPOG and the City negotiated a new contract, but SPOG’s members voted it down. Negotiations have stalled since then.

Final approval and full implementation of the police accountability legislation has been held up by the judge presiding over the city’s consent decree until collective bargaining with the two unions is completed. With the SPMA contract in place and consistent with the legislation as written, the only remaining obstacle is SPOG.

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