City to Present Police Union Contract to Council
After months of negotiations, the City of Sioux Falls and the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), Lodge #1, have reached impasse in labor negotiations. The administration will ask the City Council to approve its last best offer at the December 18, 2018, meeting.
“The City’s goal in labor negotiations is to provide equity to the greatest number of FOP members with wage increases and benefit packages that are competitive and generous,” said Bill O’Toole, Director of Human Resources for the City.
The City’s last best offer included cost-of-living adjustments (COLA) of 2.5 percent for 2019, and 3 percent for 2020. The Sioux Falls Firefighters Association Union and American Federation of State and County Municipal Employees (AFSCME) overwhelmingly passed similar economic packages and the City Council recently approved those contracts. Additionally, each member of the Police Department’s Detective Bureau would receive a $500 incentive payment annually upon conclusion of one-year of service in that bureau in 2019 and 2020.
“Public safety is of the greatest importance to the people of Sioux Falls,” said Mayor Paul TenHaken. “Our officers and sergeants work hard each and every day to serve and protect our community. The City’s proposal clearly provided the most value to the entirety of the FOP membership. I believe this contract provides the greatest benefits, equity and reasonableness to the full FOP body.”
The City and Union fundamentally disagree over matters of compensation for officers and sergeants.
The FOP proposed receiving less than the City’s last best offer in base wages for all members so that a limited group of members with longer tenure and specialty assignments would receive more pay. Under the FOP’s proposal, a least senior officer without longevity or specialty assignments would only receive COLAs of 2 percent in 2019 and 2.5 percent in 2020.
As an example of the FOP’s economic proposal, a FOP member with 25 or more years of service that was enrolled in two specialty assignments would receive as much as a 12.5 percent pay increase (2 percent COLA, 6 percent Speciality, 4.5 percent Longevity) over 2018 wage levels.
The FOP’s proposed reduction in the overall COLA to all members would not offset the total additional cost required to pay for the FOP’s desired longevity and specialty pay proposals. Additionally, the City was concerned the FOP proposals would create disincentives for Sergeants to promote to the management rank of Lieutenant due to pay compression issues and increase pension liabilities.
South Dakota Codified Law states that a public employer may unilaterally impose terms of its last best offer where a legitimate impasse exists. Given the impasse between the parties over the economic packages, the City is moving forward in a manner allowable under state law and will ask the City Council to approve implementing the terms of the City’s last best offer which was bargained for in good faith at the bargaining table. If approved by the City Council, the economic terms will go into effect by January 14, 2019, (first pay period of 2019) which is the same time as the other respective labor contracts.
FOP Lodge #1, represents 220 union members including police officers and sergeants. The City’s last best offer as presented by the FOP leadership was voted down by the membership 209-10.