Contract Arbitration Concluded for Nutley, NJ Police
Thursday, January, 12, 2012
Contract arbitration proceedings between the New Jersey township of Nutley and the local police union have ended and the arbitration attorney has decided on the nature of their new contracts. However, due to the lengthy 3 year process of this case and that the contracts are valid until December 2012, a new contract negotiation will soon be underway for the upcoming contracts. The Public Safety Commissioner Al Petracco was satisfied with the process, but the Police Benevolence Association (Local 33) President Mike O'Halloran was not. He believed that the township was negotiating in good faith, and that the whole arbitration was a “waste of money for both sides.”
Why Arbitration Was Necessary
According to O'Halloran, the police departments were offered an inferior contract to what the firefighters got. He claims that if the police union had received the same contract as other municipal employees, they would have taken the offer. The Public Safety Commission's argument was that the original contract offer was made in context of the township's budget difficulties. Petracco explained that the township's revenue has essentially been static, while its expenses have been steadily increasing.
The Arbitration Attorney's Decision
In the end, the decision to make the police contracts identical to the rest of the municipal workers' contracts was satisfactory to both sides. The police union was awarded a 9 percent base pay increase that applied retroactively to 2009. Unused sick days are to be capped at $15,000, and new employees will encounter a new longevity schedule with a longevity freeze. Petracco believes the cap on unused sick days is a progressive step to save money for the township, and that the pay increase for 2009 was “huge.” O'Halloran, while satisfied with the outcome, felt that the arbitration was unnecessary in order to match other municipal employees.