The contract agreement reached between Salt Lake City and police officers faces a 50 percent chance of passage among rank and file officers and "not a favorable" rating, the union's boss said Monday.
Forecasting passage of the agreement reached last Wednesday is difficult before the Salt Lake Police Association meets July 14, but union head Elden Tanner said rumors about the contract abound and "I won't say they're favorable."Police and city officials reached the agreement last week after months of sometimes bitter negotiations. City police argued for pay and merit increases and more manpower but Salt Lake Mayor Palmer DePaulis stood firm in denying their requests, citing a lack of revenues in an austere budget.
Tanner said he was generally pleased with the agreement, which calls for reopening the budget if new funds are found next year, but said the tentative contract falls short in economic concerns.
Pointing to the mayor's refusal to grant pay raises and a freeze in merit increases, Tanner said, "no one has convinced me that the city is in that dire of straits that they can do away with those."
The reopener clause in the agreement, which will allow police and city officials to examine city coffers in March 1989 for surplus funds, was negotiated in "bad faith," Tanner said.
The clause was negotiated to be included only in the police union's contract but was offered to two other city employee unions, Tanner said.
"What I'm saying is that if we're in there beating our heads to get these benefits (from the reopener) and they're just going to give it to the other unions, then no, I don't think that's fair," Tanner said.
The union meets Thursday to consider the agreement and may open a several-day secret ballot, Tanner said.