Police arbitration award may be issue in race

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Boston police patrolmen are expected to receive a major arbitration award in coming days that could thrust a high-profile labor dispute into a heated race for mayor.

Arriving just weeks before the Nov. 5 election, the award could plunge City Hall back into the kind of conflict it saw in 2010, when a fight over a Boston firefighters’ contract, with a 19.2 percent arbitrtion award, dominated for weeks.

Details of the patrolmen’s award remain confidential, because it has not been finalized, but two officials said they were told it is a six-year deal that would raise police pay by 23 percent or more.

The timing of the decision on the patrolmen’s contract will put a spotlight on Boston’s two finalists for mayor and how they might handle future contact negotiations with the city’s public safety unions.

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