Hamilton’s Largest Police Union Settles Contract Early;
Cooperative Effort Achieves Savings in Era of 2 Percent Cap
In government, it is rare for union negotiations to result in a settled contract before a bargaining unit’s current contract expires. But thanks to the cooperative effort between Hamilton Township and its largest police union, P.B.A. Local 66, this rare feat was recently achieved.
With both the Township administration and P.B.A. Local 66, which represents Hamilton’s uniformed police officers and detectives (but does not represent superior officers), recognizing the constraints of the 2 percent cap on all local governments, the union’s members overwhelmingly approved a three and a half year agreement that will freeze salaries for the next six month period and, over the course of the contract, will hold salary increases to an average of 2.2 percent per year.
However, thanks to both parties’ cooperative efforts, the agreement will also yield many significant savings for Hamilton taxpayers under the new contract.
By agreeing to a lower starting salary, an increase in the number years that officers must be employed to reach top pay, and making significant changes in both employee health benefits and several other areas, the taxpayers of Hamilton will see an estimated $1.4 million in savings over the life of the contract.
“Not only am I very proud of the outstanding work of our Hamilton Township police officers to protect and serve our community, but I also am very proud of their concern for our taxpayers, embodied by their recognition of the constraints our local government faces with the 2 percent cap law and by their commitment to bargaining in good faith to help achieve significant savings for our taxpayers,” says Hamilton Township Mayor Kelly A. Yaede.
“When reasonable people sit down together in a room and have an open honest discussion, contract negotiations do not have to be a long difficult process. As times change, the attitudes of both Unions and management must change as well because no one wins when negotiations become negative and hostile,” said Steven Gould, President of PBA Local 66. “We are lucky to have the excellent working relationship that we have with the Township administration and we feel that with the difficult economic times that we are in, this contract and the concessions that we have made are more than fair to both us and the taxpayers of Hamilton.”