Boston police patrolmen deserve 25.4 percent raise over six years, arbitrator rules

Menino rages; $80 million package still needs City Council approval

Boston Mayor Tom Menino talks to reporters as he arrives for the Boston College Chief Executives' Club of Boston luncheon in Boston, Massachusetts September 25, 2013, one day after the preliminary runoff to elect a new mayor to succeed Menino who said he would not seek an unprecedented sixth term in office. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)
Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino said of the award: “The only solution is for the City Council to vote this down and break this cycle.”

An arbitrator ruled Friday evening that Boston police patrolmen deserve a 25.4 percent raise over six years, an amount more than double the increase of other city unions, according to Mayor Thomas M. Menino's administration.

The award calls for 13.5 percent in raises and includes additional money for longevity benefits, bonuses for officers with college degrees, and other perks that bring that total increase to more than 25 percent. The package will cost taxpayers $80 million over six years. In an interview, Menino warned that the contract would set an unsustainable precedent and doom future contract talks.

“The award is too expensive,” Menino said. “It continues a pattern of awards that are too expensive. Public safety unions have no reason to negotiate us with us in good faith and settle contracts voluntarily because arbitrators have proven that they will always give them more.”

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The Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association did not return phone messages left with its attorney, Susan F. Horwitz, or the union’s president, Thomas J. Nee.

When both sides agreed to arbitration, they remained far apart, according to the Menino administration. The city’s offer at the start of arbitration was 15.2 percent over six years. The union wanted 21.5 percent over three years, according to the city.

Funding for the $80 million award must still be approved by the City Council. If the council rejects the award, both parties would return to the bargaining table.

“The only solution is for the City Council to vote this down and break this cycle,” Menino said. “Other cities and towns have said no and returned these awards back to the table. It’s the only way to protect the city from these awards and [break] this irresponsible pattern.”