After months of contract negotiations, Midland police officers will be receiving a three per cent pay hike.
After talks stalled and the two sides were forced to go before a conciliator, the Midland Police Services Board and the Midland Police Association came to an agreement and finalized a new contract on March 24.
Board chair Rob McKenzie said the only change in the new contract was a three per cent wage increase for the three-year contract – which is retroactive to 2008 and extends to the end of 2010.
“Other than that, there were no dollar increases in any other areas,” he said, adding there were also some language changes that don’t affect the contract, as well as some small changes for clarification.
The holdup, he acknowledged, was a proposed change in vacation time.
Midland police officers work 12-hour shifts for four days, and had wanted to keep the vacation program currently in place, which is tied to that 48-hour workweek. The board had been trying to change it to a 40-hour week.
“(The Midland Police Service has) a different vacation schedule than most other services in the province. We were trying to bring us in line with that,” McKenzie said, adding the board had offered an extensive package of fringe benefits, but they were ultimately withdrawn.
“We felt it came out OK as far as the community is concerned. In light of the economic situation, the average is around three per cent increase for police services,” he said. “We have a great police service in town and a very dedicated personnel, and the leadership is excellent.”
McKenzie said the board and the rank-and-file officers are satisfied by the deal: “I have no reason to feel anyone was disgruntled about it.”
Calls to police association president Sgt. Mike Burrows were not returned.