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Minneapolis negotiators reject police union’s contract proposal

The proposal would have raised officer wages by 5.2% and added other financial incentives for hiring and retention


Lieutenant Anna Hedberg, vice president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, Sergeant Sherral Schmidt, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, and Jim Michaels, the federation attorney, left to right, listens to bargaining members from the City of Minneapolis during a public bargaining session between the federation and the city Wednesday, September 27, 2023, in the Public Service Building in Minneapolis.

Alex Kormann, Star Tribune

By Andy Mannix
Star Tribune

MINNEAPOLIS — Minneapolis negotiators rejected a proposal Friday from the police union that would have raised officer wages by 5.2% and added other financial incentives for hiring and retention through a one-year “bridge” contract designed to replenish the department’s depleted ranks.

In opening remarks of the third session of public negotiations, Rasheda Q. Deloney, principal labor relations representative for the city, said the union’s offer “isn’t fiscally responsible” and fails to account for how policing is changing in Minneapolis. Deloney said the contract proposed by the union, which added no police accountability measures, would cost the city $11 million in one year.

“That’s excessive,” said Deloney, noting the city is already over budget in 2023. “I can only assume that you know the city can’t pay that in one year.”

Deloney said a three-year contract would offer more flexibility for higher compensation, including hiring and retention bonuses for officers who meet certain requirements. The city proposed a counter offer that would include a higher overtime pay rate “under specific circumstances” and a new agreement on bidding for vacation and transfers.

Attorney Greg Wiley, negotiating on behalf of the city, warned that as negotiations continue, its previous offer of $15,000 to $18,000 in recruiting and retention bonuses for select officers “might go away,” as it’s tied to a one-time grant from the state.

The union’s negotiating team took a break to discuss the rejection and counter-proposal.

The city’s current police labor agreement was adopted in March 2022 during a split 8-5 City Council vote and expired Dec. 31. That contract included raises and $7,000 retention bonuses for officers, but lacked many of the disciplinary changes activists demanded to rein in misconduct on the force. As of this fall, the Minneapolis Police Department counted 585 sworn officers, just above that of the St. Paul police department, an agency that serves roughly 120,000 fewer residents.

At the last bargaining session in September, negotiators for the the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis contended that officers’ wages have failed to keep pace with many suburban law enforcement agencies, which are competing for the same pool of candidates.

“Basically, we’re losing two officers for every one we’re able to hire,” federation attorney Jim Michels said. He noted that Maplewood is the highest-paying department in the state.

“And no disrespect to the officers that serve the city of Maplewood, but I don’t think there’s any way that you can legitimately compare the job of a Maplewood cop to what a Minneapolis police officer does on a daily basis — both in terms of the level of social issues that they’re facing and [staffing],” he said.

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