Barring an unexpected acceleration in the progress of negotiations, the Yale Police Department will conclude a second academic year without settling contracts with the union representing its officers, union officials said.
Negotiators with the Yale Police Benevolent Association, which represents 55 police officers, will meet Wednesday with University negotiator James Juhas in the latest of several off-the-record conversations the two sides have held since January, chief YPBA negotiator John Grottole said. Officers have been renewing their contract on a monthly basis since it expired 21 months ago.
University Deputy Secretary Martha Highsmith declined to say which issues were holding up negotiations. Grottole said significant disagreement on pensions, disability, and discipline procedures exists between the two sides. The University and the YPBA have tentatively reached agreements on other issues, including allowances for police uniforms and procedures for obtaining personal records, he said.
There are three more scheduled off-the-record meetings between the sides, YPBA chief steward Christopher Morganti said. Grottole said there will likely be several more meetings in the coming weeks that have not yet been scheduled, but union organizers are anxious to end the off-the-record portion of negotiations.
“We’re somewhat satisfied with the progress but we also think the University could have done more quicker,” Grottole said.
Highsmith said University negotiators are willing to hold contract talks either on or off the record.
“It’s our hope that the women and men of the Yale Police Department can have a contract in place,” she said.
Since many of the suggestions made during the negotiations are tentative, union officials have not been able to discuss progress with union members, causing some officer frustration, Grottole said.
“You do run into occasional problems with the rank and file,” Grottole said. “They haven’t had a raise in three years.”
After the off-the-record talks finish, Grottole said he expects the University to give the unions a counterproposal that the YPBA can share with its members and respond to as a package.
Grottole said there has been some talk of handing out fliers at Commencement, as officers did during Parent’s Weekend, but the YPBA will not make any decisions about leafletting until Yale gives an official counteroffer. The unions will not hold protests during the summer, Morganti said.
“There would be no audience,” he said.
In past labor negotiations, officers have participated in job actions. A strike was barely averted during the 1998 contract negotiations. Such actions, however, would require the cancellation of the current contract and the University would have the option of denying officers retroactive pay when the contract is settled.
Morganti said the contract could settle before the summer if Yale accelerates negotiations, but recent talks have been slow and tedious.
“You may come back in September and we may still not be settled,” Morganti said.