City and Unions Still Negotiating Employee Contracts

Agreements are reached for 78% of employees covered by union contracts

The Walsh Administration continues to be in negotiations with 22 of its 41 bargaining units whose contracts expired in either 2016 or 2017.  The City has settled with 19 or 46% of its bargaining units. These unions represent 14,706 employees or 78% of all employees covered by union contracts.  All of the uniform police contracts have been settled.  However, the Firefighters, Local 718, whose contract expired on June 30, 2017, are at the bargaining table.  Local 718 is the largest union still in negotiations with over 1,500 members.  The total estimated cost of the 19 settled contracts is approximately $218M over the length of the contracts.  The average percentage salary increase of the sworn police union contracts over four years is 18% and the average percent increase of civilian contracts over four years is 11%.

The total number of city and school employees as of January 1, 2018 is 20,354 (not FTE), of which 18,138 or 89% are represented by unions. The bargaining units are split between City (20) and School (12).  The Public Health Commission works with nine bargaining units.

Compensation Creep
In general, the settled contracts are four-year contracts expiring in 2020 that provide a 2% salary increase for each of the four years.  However, these contracts have other provisions that provide additional compensation or benefits to the employees creating ‘compensation creep’ that increases the cost of the contracts. For example, all uniformed police officers receive hazardous duty pay which is 4.75% of the officers’ base pay.  In July of 2018, 2019 and 2020, the hazardous duty pay will increase by 1% over the prior year.  This pay is considered as a part of regular compensation for the purposes of overtime and it is pension eligible.   Officers will also receive increases in career awards for various lengths of service.  By July 2018, eligible police officers will receive 100% of Quinn Bill educational payments paid fully by the City.   Other contracts provide higher compensation beyond salary increases in other ways.  The two-year teachers’ contract provides a 3% salary increase in FY18.

Next Teachers’ Contract
The City and Boston Teachers Union settled a two-year contract that will expire on August 31, 2018.  The parties have begun negotiations on a new longer contract that is expected to address the challenging issues that they were unable to settle before the start of school and the city elections in 2017.  Student achievement and school improvement should be the primary focus of this upcoming contract.

Cost of Selected Contracts

$ in Millions Over 4 Years

Union # Memb. 1/1/18 Est. Cost
Police Patrolmen 1,511 $68.3
Police Detectives 279 $16.7
AFSCME Citywide 1,131 $15.7
SEIU Citywide 974 $12.4
SENA (Middle Managers) 672 $15.9
Total 4,567 $129.0

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