It took 28 months and 74 bargaining sessions, but Yale’s police union has reached a tentative agreement on a new contract.
If the rank and file vote approval, the agreement will run seven years.
Well, closer to five more years in actuality — the seven years would include in retrospect the two years since the last contract expired.
Members of the union, the Yale Police Benevolent Association (YPBA), are scheduled to vote on Oct. 30 whether to ratify the contract, which would run from July 1, 2016, through June 30, 2023.
Union leaders are urging a yes vote.
The union represents the 71 non-supervisory patrol officers and detectives in Yale’s 93-person police department.
“Our new contract represents a good, practical settlement that provides many enhancements in significant areas,” union leaders wrote in a press statement. The statement said the contract offers 3 percent annual pay increases. “additional job security protections; enhanced union administrative capabilities; grievance procedure enhancements, including increased cost sharing by the University for arbitrator fees, as well as improved due process and procedural rights protections.”
The leadership also reported that it succeeded in resisting a Yale demand that, like members of Yale’s UNITE HERE unions, the cops participate in a Health Expectations Program (HEP) that requires mandatory medical tests as well as coaching for those with chronic conditions. In return, the union agreed to “small premium co-shares for two-person and family coverage under the Yale Health Plan, which is currently premium-free.”
The university also withdrew two controversial health insurance proposals, according to the union: To require members to keep paying premium co-shares in retirement; to eliminate reimbursement of Medicare Part B premiums; and to reinstate a $800 maximum out-of-pocket expense cap under the Medicare Rx Plan.
Update: On Thursday afternoon Yale issued a statement about the deal. It said in part:
An important issue addressed by the new agreement is overall income and job security, including opportunities for overtime, which can be more constrained in university environments than for comparable police officers in the public sector. At the end of this contract, Yale’s police officers will be among the highest paid officers in the state. ... The agreement continues Yale’s investment in highly competitive salaries, benefits, and working conditions for the officers, ensuring that Yale continues to attract and retain outstanding women and men to serve in the Yale Police Department.
Health insurance was another major topic of discussion throughout bargaining. The university had offered a program modeled after the State of Connecticut’s, as well as Yale’s agreements with Local 34 and Local 35 of UNITE HERE, which exchanged lower premiums and fees for greater ownership of nationally recommended preventive health actions. The police officers preferred a more traditional premium structure, captured in the new agreement. In addition, the agreement continues current retiree health benefits, even as these benefits are rapidly changing in the municipal sector.
The new agreement includes features designed to continue to improve the daily working relationship between the union and the police department, opportunities for police union input and problem-solving over new policies, and a committee on health insurance benefits.