Last Minute Offers Rejected by Police Union and Village
Caledonia Police union members have been operating under the terms of the 2011 contract all year. Police union and village negotiations have continued, but those efforts have now been exhausted.
Negotiators for the Village of Caledonia and Caledonia Police union made a last-ditch effort to cut a deal with one another, but those efforts have failed.
A state arbitrator will now come in to choose between one of two offers as the final contract. They plan to meet with arbitrator Sharon Imes on Oct. 4.
Once the two sides meet with Imes, they’ll lay out the evidence to support their respective positions, and then agree on a briefing schedule. Imes is expected to make her decision and choose between the two formal offers sometime in December or January.
The police union is currently operating under the 2011 contract, which was tentatively extended until the two parties could come to an agreement on their 2012 contract.
Village Administrator Mark Janiuk confirmed the two sides had not reached an agreement on the contract, but would not comment further on the negotiations.
“We are still in the arbitration process with the police contract,” said Mark Janiuk, the village administrator. “And, we still have to negotiate the fire and highway contract.”
Bob West, a contract advocate consultant to the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, said the arbitration would likely cost taxpayers up to $20,000.
Last-ditch efforts made by both sides
Members of the police union met yesterday to consider the Village’s off-the-record offer, but West was told that would likely be rejected, he said.
“That didn’t look like it was going to go anywhere,” West said, adding that he would not disclose the terms of the Village’s offer. “It was an off-the-record settlement and we agreed that it would only be publicized if it was agreeable to both sides. What I think is significant is that the Village at least made an effort to counter, but it wasn’t enough.”
The police union also made a counter offer, which included a three-year contract.
“I’m afraid this matter is not going to be settled (without an arbitrator),” West said. “It’s not complicated, but the Village feels the need to insist on the 5.9 percent retirement amount because the law required the others to pay it.”
Police reject 5.9 percent pension payment, but offer to phase it in
The budget repair bill that was signed into law last year exempted union-represented public safety employees from having to make the concessions that other public workers do.
But in November, the Village Board wanted the fire and police unions to pay 5.9 percent of their wages into their state pensions, and increase their portion that they pay for their insurance premium from 10 to 15 percent just as the non-union represented employees do.
Now, because the two off-the-record counter offers were rejected, Imes will need to choose between the initial offers put forth by the Village and Police Union.
Yet, the 5.9 percent provision doesn’t appear in the village's final offer or the police union’s submitted to the state.
Initial offers turned into the state
The village’s offer would extend the expired contract the union is currently working under. That offer doesn’t ask police union personnel to pay 5.9 percent into their pension. The insurance plan has a village-paid $1,000 health reimbursement account that kicks in after a $250 deductible. But police union employees also have a high deductible insurance plan that is higher than the non-represented employees have.
The one-year deal proposed by the village also does not include any raises.
In the tentative agreement that has now become the union’s final offer, the union is asking for a 2 percent salary raise in each of the next three years. In return, employees would pay just under 2 percent of their salaries into pensions for 2012, just under 4 percent in 2013, and 5.9 percent in 2014.
The offer would also increase the contribution to their health insurance from 10 to 11 percent 2013, and 12 percent 2014 for a lower deductible plan than employees have now.
At the end of the day, if Imes chooses the Village’s offer, the police union would be left with an expired 2012 contract and they would be headed back to the negotiating table in 2013.
“Ours is consistent with the tentative agreement they reached in March,” West said. “I think (the Village) kind of figured the data is against them and they’d rather have an arbitrator decide for them rather than make the decision on their own. So they’ve deeded over that responsibility to an arbitrator, but it’s not like it’s without cost.”