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Salt Lake City Police agree to 1 percent pay raise in deal with City Hall

Published June 14, 2017 10:41 am
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Salt Lake City reached an eleventh-hour agreement to end an impasse with the city's police union Tuesday, the same day that its City Council adopted a 2017-18 budget.

As a result of the agreement, represented police officers will still receive the 1 percent wage increase proposed by Mayor Jackie Biskupski — rather than the 4.5 percent they sought — but with assurances that the city will begin negotiations earlier next year.

Salt Lake Police Association President Steve Hartney said the union had planned to sue for unfair negotiations when the city didn't budge after being presented by the union with new information.

"I'm extremely hopeful for next year," Hartney said. "I do believe that we are further than we have ever been in terms of, we have a plan for next year."

Hartney said in past years, negotiations have begun in January or February, "and so when they give us their numbers, they're already done and completed."

"Budgets are about priorities," Hartney said. "It's not that they don't have it, it's just that it's already been spent."

Hartney said the union will meet with city negotiators monthly, beginning in August, where they will also discuss other issues, including longevity pay.

Dozens of active police officers attended a June 6 City Council meeting to argue that 1 percent wasn't enough, given the dangerous, traumatizing nature of their jobs and purported difficulty recruiting officers from other agencies.

The mayor's office and the union had disagreed about the competitiveness of Salt Lake City's officer pay.

Two recent surveys pegged Salt Lake City's median ($66,000) and average ($61,000) salaries at 127 percent and 134 percent of local market value, respectively.

But the union had pointed to a 2016 comparison of U.S. cities that found Salt Lake City's officer pay was at 88 percent of average.

Salt Lake City's $38,000 minimum salary is also at the low end of the local market, the union argued, and its favorable comparison to younger local police agencies is due in part to its greater proportion of longtime officers.

If the earlier negotiations don't result in a better outcome, "for sure there will be a lawsuit next year," Hartney said.

Negotiations with the fire union and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees continued into Tuesday, said Biskupski Chief of Staff Patrick Leary.







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