After a year of bargaining and contract negotiations, the Yale Police Department union is still a long way from signing a new contract.
Although negotiations began in February 2010, the Yale Police Benevolent Association — the YPD union — still has at least five major issues to iron out with the University before a new contract could be signed, YPBA President Rich Simons said. The union’s old contract expired seven months ago and now, after more than 60 meetings and several snow storms that pushed back negotiations even further, the union and Yale are continuing discussions of pension, insurance and paid time off.
“Hopefully the University will recognize the vital services that are provided by its police officers and compensate them accordingly,” Simons said.
This compensation may come later than ever before. Simons said that there have been more negotiation sessions for this contract than he has ever previously encountered as union president. In the past, he said, a contract would only require 50 meetings at most.
Despite fewer meetings, the last YPBA negotiations in 2002 took one-and-a-half years to resolve.
The YPD rank and file contract expired in July 2010, but month-to-month extensions have been the norm since then, University Spokesman Tom Conroy said.
The only areas where the union stands to lose are paid time off for new employees, Conroy said, though he acknowledged that negotiations still have a number of issues to work out.
These changes to lessen the amount of vacation time for new officers are not intended to hurt new members of the YPD, he said, but are consistent with the other union agreements the University has brokered.
“The Yale Police Department is a part of the University and it is not immune to the financial pressures facing the rest of Yale,” Conroy said. “The University is seeking adjustments to paid time off for new employees only, similar to the paid time off changes for new employees in the Local 34 workforce.”
But Simons said that these concessions would created a two-tiered dynamic between the “haves” and the “have-nots,” and that the union is opposed to creating such a system.
The YPBA has been represented at negotiations by five members of the executive board and a negotiator (all of whom are YPD police officers) and two private attorneys, Conroy said. The University bargaining team comprises two representatives from Labor Relations and two representatives from the YPD command staff.
In October, nearly 50 YPD officers handed out 1,000 paper leaflets during Parents’ Weekend to garner support for the contract negotiations. The pamphlets quoted 12 headlines from articles in the New Haven Register and the News that highlighted recent notable crimes such as this September’s “Gunfight breaks out on College Street” and last year’s “Human remains believed to be Annie Le found.”
According to the 2002 Local 34 agreement, any union member is limited to no more than 22 days of vacation in any University fiscal year.