Police Union Contract Includes No Pension Concessions

Approved labor agreement includes no pension contribution requirements for existing employees, reduced salary increases and a marginal increase in health insurance premium contributions.

Whitefish Bay police officers will receive smaller salary increases, make no additional pension contributions and also make a slightly higher health insurance contribution under a labor contract approved by the Village Board Tuesday night.

Under Gov. Scott Walker's budget repair bill, all public employees except fire and police personnel were restricted from bargaining anything other than salary, and that was capped by the consumer price index. Those public employees were also required to contribute 5.8 percent of their salary to their pension plan and 12.6 percent of their health care premiums.

Under the new two-year agreement approved by trustees, all police officers and detectives will receive a 1 percent salary increase effective Jan. 1, 2011 and a 1.5 percent increase effective Jan. 1, 2012. Officers received an average 1.5 percent increase every six months under the old 2008-11 agreement. The contract does not apply to sergeants, lieutenants and the police chief.

While non-police and non-fire personnel were required to contribute 5.8 percent of their paychecks toward their pension plans, Whitefish Bay police employed before July 1 do not have to contribute anything to their pensions. As required by the budget repair bill, employees hired after July 1 are required to contribute 7.5 percent of their salaries to the overall 14.9 percent pension contribution.

The labor contract also calls for police officers to contribute slightly more toward their health insurance premium, which increased from 8.5 percent to 9 percent of the lowest-costing health insurance plan offered by the state.

The contract and the salary increases within it were made retroactive to take effect Jan. 2011, but the health insurance plan contributions do not take effect until Jan. 2012. Village Manager Patrick DeGrave said the effective date of health insurance contribution was "the best we could do."

"They are exempt from health insurance requirements, and they made it well known to us when we sat down at the table that they were not going to pursue any of those things that they were exempt from having to deal with," he said.

The contract also grants an additional $100 in clothing allowances to officers that have been with the department for three years. The allowance increased from $400 to $500.

Walker's budget repair bill did prohibit the village from bargaining over the design and selection of health care plans. The police union's grievance procedure was also altered to comply with Walker's budget repair bill.

The starting annual salary of a police patrolman, effective January 2011, increased $1,227 to $50,009. The starting annual salary of a police detective or juvenile officer increased $1,679 to $68,473.


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