The Waltham Police officers’ unions are at odds with the city over a contract dispute that has left the officers without a raise for the past four and a half years, according to city and union officials.
As a result, the city and the two unions are scheduled for mediation soon to settle the dispute.
The unions’ main complaint is working without a contract since July 2010 and not receiving a raise since 2009, according to Attorney Alan Shapiro. Shapiro, and his law firm, Sandulli Grace, represent the Waltham Police Patrolman’s Union and the Waltham Police Superior Officers. The two unions total 150 officers, Shapiro said.
"We just want to get decent, fair, wage increases,” Shapiro told Waltham Patch. "The police officers are frustrated.”
Publicity surrounding the dispute comes after a large group of officers picketed City Hall on Nov. 29 to call attention to the matter.
The officers are seeking a new three-year agreement that would include retroactive wage increases, Shapiro said. While he did not specify the exact raise percentage the unions were seeking, he said it would be “similar” to the 6.75 percent over three years Waltham firefighters recently received.
After the wage issue is settled, the unions plan to negotiate a three-year new labor agreement to run from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2016, Shapiro said. Shapiro said that could include wage increases as well as address other issues. He would not specify the nature of the other issues.
The two sides are scheduled to attend a mediation session on Dec. 10 in Waltham, according to Shapiro. A Joint Labor Management Committee mediator is scheduled to run the sessions, Shapiro said. The unions filed a complaint with the JLMC after failing to negotiate a new agreement, he said.
Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy said the city is awaiting a response from the superior officers union about the city’s proposed contract. McCarthy said she could not say much on the issue. She did, however, say there were “management issues” to be settled.
PREVIOUS CONTRACT EFFORTS
According to Shapiro, the unions’ last contract expired in June 2010 and since then, police officers have worked under the same contract, but without a raise. Shapiro said the two unions have tried to negotiate a new contract with the city, but have not had any success. Shapiro said negotiation meetings had been scheduled in the past, but he has never been told why they had been cancelled.