Lieutenants contract ratified, will rank-and-file be next?

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Chicago Police lieutenants would get an 8 percent pay raise over four years, but contribute 2 percent toward retiree health care that’s now free, under a contract ratified Tuesday that, City Hall hopes, will be duplicated for rank-and-file police officers.

The agreement advanced by the City Council’s Committee on Workforce Development mimics the terms that an independent arbitrator dictated to sergeants in late September after the rank-and-file rejected a negotiated agreement billed as a roadmap to solve the city’s pension crisis.

Roughly 170 lieutenants will receive a pair of 2 percent pay raises effective July 1, 2012 and Jan. 1, 2013. One percent raises will kick in on Jan. 1, 2015 and Jan. 1, 2016. The contract expires on June 30, 2016.

The 8 percent pay raise is only a “floor.” If the Illinois General Assembly mandates a pension contribution higher than the current, 9 percent, lieutenants can negotiate a higher pay raise.

Like the sergeants, lieutenants who retire at age 55 will continue to be eligible for health care. But future retirees between the ages of 55 and 60 will be forced to make a 2 percent contribution to retiree health care that’s now free.

On the discliplinary front, the contract includes provisions to more swiftly resolve investigations of lieutenants handled by the Internal Affairs Division or the Independent Police Review Authority.

“The agreement also introduces a streamlined process for the resolution of suspension grievances through the submission of suspensions of 10 days or fewer to a binding summary opinion process and the implementation of expedited arbitration for suspensions of 11 days or more,” said Joseph Martinico, the city’s chief labor negotiator.

Now that sergeants and lieutenants have signed on and captains are on the verge of agreeing to the same terms, pressure is building on rank-and-file officers to fall in line, said Ald. Pat O’Connor (40th), the mayor’s City Council floor leader.

“It’s a framework for everybody else in the department. So, we would like to think we’re laying the groundwork to make sense to the membership of FOP — and, if not to them, then to an arbitrator,” said O’Connor, chairman of the Committee on Workforce Development.

O’Connor noted that City Hall is awaiting the outcome of a run-off election for president of the Fraternal Order of Police to replace ousted union president Mike Shields, who was a constant thorn in Emanuel’s side.

“If they were to go along with it, it would not be because of the problems they’ve had. It would be because the new leadership sees the rest of the department’s personnel have done this,” O’Connor said.

“If it’s acceptable to them and all of these individuals were at one time patrolmen, maybe these are fair agreements. But they need to put their leadership in place before they can make that decision. And we’re looking forward to having a partner at the bargaining table again.”

Last year, Shields apologized to his members for paperwork mistakes that denied rank-and-file Chicago Police officers their automatic right to a retroactive pay raise.

In December, he was suspended and removed as president of FOP Lodge 7 after making the explosive complaint to the city’s inspector general that the last two police contracts dictated by an independent arbitrator were “fixed” in the city’s favor and that the recent sergeants contract arbitration may also have been rigged.

Shields’ oversight was in failing to notify the city between Feb. 1 and March 1 of 2012 that he intended to terminate the police contract and commence negotiations on a new agreement. If that notice is not given within the one-month window, the contract automatically rolls over for another year.

The mistake gave Emanuel an opening to declare that, if the FOP wants a pay raise retroactive to June 30, 2012, they’ll have to give up something to get it. It will no longer be automatic.

The move was widely viewed as the mayor’s attempt to get even with Shields for working to torpedo a four-year contract with police sergeants — tied to pension and retiree health-care reform — that Emanuel had hoped to use a road map to solve the city’s pension crisis.

The mistake threatens to cost the average police officer anywhere from $1,400 if the retroactive pay raise was 2 percent to $2,100 if it’s 3 percent.

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