Salt Lake City Police and city hall negotiators "shook hands" over a new contract Wednesday after weeks of sometimes bitter negotiations while another city employees union signed a final agreement with the mayor.
A third union, the local International Association of Firefighters, has not reached an agreement with the city, said Bob Adams, the city's chief negotiator.The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, which represents the city's clerical and labor workers, signed a final, one-year contract with Salt Lake Mayor Palmer DePaulis Wednesday afternoon.
Moments before the small signing ceremony, negotiators for the Salt Lake Police Association and the city finished an all-day bargaining session.
The Salt Lake Police Association and the city "shook hands on a tentative agreement; every issue has been addressed, every issue has been resolved," Adams said.
Negotiators haggled over a promise to police and all other city employees that the city would reopen the city budget on March 15, 1989, to see if surplus funds appear to fund pay increases.
DePaulis has refused to fund pay increases for city employees, a move that infected police with a case of the "blue flu" that kept nearly 100 percent of the force off the streets Friday.
The clause concerning the reopening had been the crux of the negotiations for the one-year contract, Adams said, recalling that other "reopener clauses" in past contracts weren't agreeable to some unions.
"So, what I've had to do is relive some old history," he said.
To develop a "level of trust," the city will join a committee of police employees to review city coffers next year to look for surplus revenue. Any extra revenue will be negotiated and given to all three employee unions, not just the police.
It is hoped that an increase in fourth-quarter revenues for the city from increased Christmas season sales will generate surplus money that could be found during the budget review, Adams said.
However, pay raises could be precluded by other priorities, like $500,000 taken from the capitol improvements budget to balance this year's budget.
Adams, weary from this year's contract negotiations which have drawn on for months, said that because negotiators would only agree on a one-year contract, the city must prepare for pay increases next year.
"I'm advising the city that they need to prepare in advance for sufficient finances for next year's salaries . . . The (employees) cannot go through a similar battle next year," he said.
Depaulis said he was pleased with the negotiation results but said he regretted there was not the revenue to support pay raises and other benefits for city employees.
Additionally, although the negotiation process generated some hostility and even caused embarrassing protests by police demonstrating at the U.S. Conference of Mayors last month, DePaulis expressed confidence in the collective bargaining agreement.
"I just want to be really emphatic: The problem is not collective bargaining. It's that we don't have adequate resources," he said, adding that Salt Lake City is the only city in the state with collective bargaining.
Police officers' salaries, like last year, range from $1,452 monthly for low-scale officers to $2,578 monthly for high-scale officers.